Ten years ago, Al Davis dispatched personnel executive Rich Snead and scouting director Jon Kingdon to represent the Raiders in a coin toss with the Atlanta Falcons. At stake was the third pick in the 2008 NFL draft.
Davis’ parting words may as well have been, “Just Lose, Baby!”
That’s right, the man who always wanted to win, at any cost, wanted the Raiders to lose the coin toss that day.
The reason was simple, Kingdon told RaidersSnakePit.com in advance of the Raiders and 49ers participating in a coin toss today to determine which team gets the No. 9 pick in this year’s NFL draft.
“The difference in cost between the picks was still substantial,” Kingdon said, alluding to the old system in which high first-round draft picks commanded, and received, massive contracts. That changed in 2012, when the NFL implemented a rookie salary cap that reduced the amount that first-round picks received.
Another reason was, Davis had his mind set upon Arkansas running back Darren McFadden, regardless where the Raiders picked.
When the big day arrived, Kingdon, Snead, a Falcons representative and a league official convened at the Colts stadium in Indianapolis for the coin toss.
“It was very casual, done in a hallway, with a lot going on,” Kingdon said. “But no one knew what we were doing.”
When Kingdon relayed the outcome to Davis?
“Al was actually glad that we lost,” Kingdon said.
Davis wasn’t sure who the Falcons were going to pick, if the Falcons had their choice, but he hoped it wasn’t McFadden.
“Prior to Atlanta making their pick (the day of the draft), Al called Falcons general manager Thom Dimitroff and asked him who he was going to take,” Kingdon said. “And, though Thom hesitated, he told Al they were taking quarterback Matt Ryan, to Al’s relief.”
Sure enough, the Falcons selected Ryan and the Raiders picked McFadden.
Today’s coin toss will receive much more fanfare, as does everything at the combine these days, and you can bet Mark Davis won’t be phoning 49ers general manager John Lynch to see who they intend to take if they have the ninth selection and that he won’t be glad if the Raiders lose.