Tony Sparano Not Retained by Raiders as HC: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

Tony Sparano helped the Oakland Raiders avoid becoming the second 0-16 team in NFL history this season, but multiple wins in his interim tenure weren't enough to keep him at the helm permanently.       

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Wednesday that the Raiders have elected not to retain Sparano as their head coach, instead opting to hire former Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio:

Sparano's only prior NFL experience leading a team was with the Miami Dolphins, where he served as coach from 2008 through most of 2011 and compiled a 29-32 record. Thus, it's no surprise the Raiders, in dire need of a big turnaround, have decided to go in another direction.   

Prior to Week 16's win over Buffalo, potential franchise quarterback Derek Carr offered Sparano a ringing endorsement, per Bay Area News Group's Steve Corkran (h/t's Marc Sessler):

Yeah, we love him. He's our leader. Absolutely. We love him. Obviously, those decisions are going to happen, and we have no control in that. Those decisions will be made, and whoever is here is who we'll play for. But right now, coach Sparano is my leader. I love him 100 percent. He genuinely cares about me. He's pulled me into his office just to ask how I'm doing. ... Those kind of things from a head coach mean so much.

The organization certainly has its work cut out to rebuild the roster after a lot of free-agent moves didn't quite pan out in 2014. 

At least the Raiders have two inspiring potential cornerstones to build around. Linebacker Khalil Mack and Carr seem to be direct hits that the front office can build the team around and use to position its eventual coach to succeed.

The AFC West is a tough division, as Denver, Kansas City and San Diego are all contenders. Meanwhile, Oakland has languished in the cellar, with little hope.

Getting the right coac...

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