Amy Trask’s recent resignation is another vivid example that Raiders owner Mark Davis is working hard to put his ownership stamp on the franchise.
[RELATED: Raiders CEO Amy Trask resigns]
Trask’s long-time loyalty and body of work on behalf of Al Davis is well documented. Trask was the glue that held the business operations side together for many years. She worked closely with NFL personnel in what was sometimes a demilitarized zone between Al’s team and NFL executives. Most of the interchange with city and county officials along with stadium conversations with the 49ers came from her office.
Now, Mark Davis is struggling to create, define and implement his plan on returning the “Silver and Black” to prominence both on the field and in the stands.
What makes his task so challenging is that during every step of the way his franchise is being compared to the greatness that was the Raiders in days gone by and by the amazing strides the 49ers have taken in the past two years.
If you look at the current positions of the two franchises you find some huge hills to climb for the Raiders:
|RAIDERS||TALE OF THE TAPE||49ERS|
|Jury still out||COACH||Harbaugh era is already in place|
|Jury hasn’t been selected||QB||Colin is the man|
|O.co -- what's next?||STADIUM||$1.2 billion dollar stadium opens in 2014|
|Mark Davis making changes||CEO||Jed York has his management team in place|
|Not so much||DRAFT SUCCESS||Quality and quantity|
|25,000 est.||SEASON TICKET BASE||60,000 plus|
|Oakland working on a plan||CITY SUPPORT||Santa Clara smiling proudly|
|Not without a new stadium||SUPER BOWL||2016 a certainty|
|Jan. 26, 2003||LAST SUPER BOWL||Feb. 3, 2013|
|Spotty||SPONSOR SUPPORT||Companies lining up|
|O.co -- a few million||NAMING RIGHTS||Levi's -- $225 million|
As you can see, Mark Davis is in a tough spot.
First, how do you possibly follow the legend that was his father? There are no genies to call on, no magic lamps to be rubbed, “no Ghosts to the post” to pull off a quick miracle. The tedious makeover on the football side of the organization could take years.
Job No. 1 in any professional sports organization is to win games or show your fanbase and the media that you have a logical and believable plan to produce those wins in the not too distant future.
Reggie McKenzie has been given clear authority to do everything in his power to produce those wins and write that plan with Davis and his football staff. Dennis Allen is under the proverbial ant’s magnifying glass and if next season doesn’t show marked improvement, the son’s rays will be clearly focused on the coach.
In today’s world of professional sports ownership, the pyramid management structure is usually the one that pays off. At the top is the owner. One side of the base is the head of team operations and the other side is the head of business operations. When all three are working well, you have success. If Mark Davis chooses to promote from within or ventures out to the open market, he will need an individual who has the following traits to run a competitive and professional business operations organization:
What are the Raiders looking for?
1) Seasoned sports or business executive who can build a multi-faceted business management team.
2) Sales professional who can lead a ticket sales force to increase season tickets from one of the lowest levels in the NFL and heavy up the premium ticket side.
3) Negotiate a deal with the 49ers to share their new stadium, try to define just what Oakland and Alameda County are capable of in retrofitting the O.co, or try to build a new stadium. The NFL wants both Bay Area teams to play in the same stadium. This is a thorny issue for the Raiders, specifically Trask's eventual replacement.
4) Media savvy pro capable of dealing with the tough PR position the team finds itself in.
5) A track record of previous success in turning around a struggling franchises.
6) Team requires a marketing makeover; and this task won’t be easy.
7) Ability to negotiate with the Oakland A’s on the future. O.co is the last NFL/MLB shared stadium in sports.
8) Patience. He or she will need it.
9) Financial ability to maximize resources.
10) Full accountability and responsibility from Davis to get the job done.
The good news is that we have seen the recent gloom and doom of the 49ers and the Warriors turn into incredible success stories in a relative blink of an eye. It might be time to take off the eyepatch because a laser like focus from both eyes is going to be needed to get the job done.