Leading Off

Leading Off: Raiders need to let Gruden take control

Through 4-12 seasons with Bill Callahan to 2-14 debacles with Art Shell, Raiders fans have stood by their team year after year, fired coach after fired coach.

Outside of the Bleacher Bums in Chicago, where they annually hope for the best from their Cubs but expect – and realize – the worst, Raiders fans have to be the most loyal bunch in professional sports.

And they deserve better than what they’ve been given for the past 12 futile seasons.

Firing Dennis Allen was a good start by owner Mark Davis, who experts say likely will relieve Reggie McKenzie from his duties as general manager after the season.

Despite his first failed attempt to restore the glory days to the family business, Davis will have another chance to make things right by bringing back the only man who can almost single-handedly pull this franchise from brink.

Davis needs to bring Jon Gruden back to Oakland.

Gruden is making a comfortable living talking about football as an NFL commentator, and it would take a big carrot for Chucky to want to return to the daily grind of a head coach.

Davis would have to turn the franchise over to Gruden, making him the league’s highest-paid coach – and perhaps a part-owner. Davis would need to let him pick his own general manager or personnel director and make all decisions on football matters.

Basically, Davis needs to give Gruden the keys to the car, get in the back seat and hold on.

– Victor Contreras


What to watch

N.L. wild card, Giants at Pirates, 5:07 p.m., ESPN: The Giants haven’t lost an elimination game since J.T. Snow was thrown out at the plate in 2003 against the Florida Marlins.

Today’s poll

Tuesday’s results

Which Bay Area team will win its wild-card game?

• A’s: 18%

• Giants: 35%

• Both: 29%

• Neither: 18%

Total votes: 240