Art Shell's return as Raiders coach lasted only one season — one of the franchise's worst seasons during its 47-year history.
After Shell (right) met with Raiders managing general partner Al Davis on Jan. 4, the team announced that Shell would not return as head coach for the final year of his contract. Shell, 60, reportedly was scheduled to earn $2 million in salary next season
"Al Davis and Art Shell met today and discussed the 2006 football season,” the Raiders said in a news release. “While Art will no longer serve as head coach, he and Mr. Davis have discussed and will continue to discuss opportunities for Art to remain a valued member of the Raider organization."
Under Shell, the Raiders had a 2-14 season that set franchise records for most losses and scoring futility (168 points).
During his 2006 season-ending news conference on Jan. 1, Shell told reporters: "I expect to be here and I want to do this. I want to try to see this thing to fruition."
Shell spent his entire 15-season NFL playing career with the Raiders as an offensive tackle. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989.
Shell is the third head coach dismissed by Davis since Jon Gruden left the team after the 2001 season. The other disposed coaches are Bill Callahan (2003) and Norv Turner (2005). Both Callahan and Turner coached the Raiders for two seasons.
The NFL Network reported on Dec. 21 that Shell would be fired after the 2006 season. The Raiders denied the firing allegation.
Since playing in Super Bowl XXXVII in January 2003, the Raiders have gone 15-49, the worst record in the NFL over that period.
During his first tour of duty as Raiders coach from 1989 to 1994, Shell had a 56-41 record (including 2-3 playoffs). Since Shell's dismissal after a 9-7 record in 1994, the Raiders have had only three winning seasons.
Among the reported candidates to replace Shell are Raiders defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, Dennis Green and Jim Fassell. Green was fired by the Arizona Cardinals on Jan. 1 and Fassel was dismissed as the Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator during the 2006 season.
Before hiring Shell on Feb. 11, Davis reportedly conducted interviews with Al Saunders, Ken Whisenhunt, Mike Martz, James Lofton, Rod Marinelli and Bobby Petrino, among others. The University’s of Louisville’s Petrino reportedly was offered the Raiders job before Shell was hired. The Raiders were the last of 10 teams with coaching vacancies to fill their position.
Since the Raiders returned to Oakland in 1995, Davis has gone through six head coaches — Mike White (1995-96), Joe Bugel (1997), Gruden (1998-2001), Callahan (2002-03), Turner (2004-05) and Shell (2006). Shell joins Bugel (who had a 4-12 record in 1997) as the only coaches fired by Davis after one season.
The popular Gruden is the only one of the six former Raiders coaches since 1995 to avoid being fired by Davis. The Raiders reportedly traded Gruden's contract rights to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in February of 2002 for four draft choices and $8 million.