A lot of people, myself included, wondered what Lane Kiffin was thinking when he took the Raiders job. Nobody lasted there longer than like two years, and nobody had a positive experience working for Al Davis. It was a miserable gig where one was guaranteed to fail, so as a result, nobody was willing to take it. But after getting rejected by several candidates, the Raiders came across Lane Kiffin who was eager to accept the gig. Knowing he was doomed for failure and a miserable experience, why would Kiffin take the job? Now we know why.
Lane Kiffin only had to put up with Al Davis for a year and a half, getting compensated handsomely in the process, before moving on. He got to skip a couple steps in the coaching tree to get to the top level — NFL head coach — and raise his profile in the meantime. It’s unlikely that he would have drawn serious consideration for the Tennessee job had he remained at USC as their offensive coordinator. Usually top coordinators at top schools are offered head coaching gigs at second level schools, not top notch schools such as the Michigans, Tennessees, and Alabamas. Those schools are looking for guys with head coaching experience. But having been in the NFL working for the Raiders, Kiffin got to pad his resume and make himself qualified for any job out there. If he could make a dysfunctional team like the Raiders competitive, he surely could compete with any college program.
I wondered what Lane Kiffin was doing when he took that Raiders job, but now I know. And when someone else accepts the gig in the near future, I’ll understand that they have a reason for doing it, too.