ALAMEDA –- After a seven-hour interview with Jack Del Rio on Tuesday evening, owner Mark Davis and general manager Reggie McKenzie found some privacy to discuss the Raiders’ next head coach.
They said they’d be gone for five minutes. They were out for an hour.
They emerged with a decision made. That Jack Del Rio was their man.
Both men hammered home the fact that they were unified in their decision to make Del Rio the head coach.
This stance comes after Tuesday reports that Davis preferred Del Rio and interim head coach Tony Sparano was McKenzie’s choice. Sources indicated that there was a difference of opinion, but it wasn’t a schism that couldn’t be mended. They emerged from their hour-long pow-wow as a unified front.
“I knew that Jack Del Rio was the one that I wanted to lead this franchise into the future,” Davis said. “Reggie and I, during that discussion and all, took off for an hour-long, five-minute talk and we both came to the conclusion that it was best for this organization. So Jack Del Rio is our coach and that was important to me and it was important to Reggie. That’s how we came to the decision and that’s when I knew that we would hire him.”
Davis and McKenzie continued to hammer that point home throughout Friday’s press conference, that they were unified in this decision.
In 2012, when the Raiders hired Dennis Allen, it was only Reggie McKenzie’s decision. While Davis did not provide input on the last hire, he was heavily involved in this search. He was in on nearly every interview, including the first chat with Del Rio that didn’t include McKenzie.
He was sold on Del Rio early, and grew to like him more and more has the coaching search progressed.
“We cast a wide net,” Davis said. “We interviewed seven people. Reggie spoke to five or six. In order to do all that in a short amount of time, we had to split up. When it came down to it, there was one person I felt should be the head coach of the Oakland Raiders. Reggie had someone he wanted to talk to a second time, and that was Coach (Tony) Sparano. Nobody else got to the stage of a second interview.
“After we had the interview with Jack for a second time, Reggie and I went back and talked. We said we’d be back in five minutes, and we were gone for an hour. We fully agreed on it. It was pretty simple.”
Allen did not have a relationship with Davis, but Sparano did and Del Rio insisted on it as well. Davis said that McKenzie and Del Rio will work together on personnel matters, including free agency and the draft.
The Raiders wanted to remain unified at the top of their power structure, and that’s something that appealed to Del Rio as he examined this job opportunity. Even on a day where the focus was on him, he wanted to focus on the organization as a whole.
“I’d like to look at this moment as not really about me, even though I’m being introduced as the new head coach,” Del Rio said. “I think it’s more about ‘we.’ I’d like to look at this as a unifying moment in the history of the Raider Nation and this football team, this organization, this family. Reggie and I are unified in building this roster strong, unified in assembling a very strong coaching staff and unified in doing everything in our power to make everybody that’s a part of this organization proud."