Here's a twist on an old maxim that Al Davis' Raiders and Jed York's 49ers have to understand and accept:
All successful NFL franchises are different, but every consistently failing team eventually fails in almost exactly the same way.
Trite? Not if you stare at the past six seasons of combined 49ers-Raiders blundering and defeat, firing and high draft choices.
Check the recent history and the stadium efforts. Look at the rosters and messy front-office politics. The 49ers and Raiders are more than just the most similar bad teams in the league; they're two of the saddest similar teams in all of sports over the past six years.
Now we're a day away from the NFL draft, with the Raiders holding the seventh overall pick and the 49ers the 10th selection.
The Raiders' draft needs: tackle, pass rusher, play-making wide receiver, big-bodied defensive tackle.
The 49ers' realistic draft needs (excluding quarterback): tackle, pass rusher, play-making wide receiver, big-bodied defensive tackle.
Basically, the wish list for both teams: Jeremy Maclin, Michael Crabtree, Andre Smith, B.J. Raji or Brian Orakpo. Any of those guys are possibilities for both teams.
Not surprisingly, this is the third time in the past four years that both teams hold picks in the top 11. It would be 5 for 5 if the Raiders hadn't traded their top pick in 2005 (for Randy Moss) and the 49ers hadn't traded theirs in 2008 (for Joe Staley).
The last winning season and playoff berth for both the 49ers and Raiders came during the 2002 regular season/2003 playoffs.
The 49ers have averaged 5.3 victories per season since; the Raiders have averaged four victories.
The 49ers have averaged 18.1 points per game in the span, the Raiders have averaged 16.6.
The Raiders' Tom Cable and the 49ers' Mike Singletary had never been NFL coordinators before they were promoted to interim head coach during last season and then given the full job after emotional late runs.
NFL interims usually have a tough time landing the full-time gig because the team can do better once it conducts a thorough search. Not so with our two franchises. Neither is expected to out-scheme opponents — both men have the mandate to get more out of the inherited talent, if there is more to get.
Alex Smith was the No. 1 overall pick in 2005; JaMarcus Russell went No. 1 overall two years later. Neither has made a Pro Bowl, though Russell has only just begun his career as a starter.
The Smith selection, and resulting disappointment, set the 49ers back two or three years — and they still don't have a proven quarterback.
Russell is moving toward the bust/no-bust threshold, and if he can't win games for the Raiders, it might be 2012 before they have a chance to break .500 again.
The rest of the roster
Both teams have"...
The Raiders' Nnamdi Asomugha and the 49ers' Nate Clements are two of the highest-paid cornerbacks in football, and Tommy Kelly and Justin Smith are two of the highest-paid defensive linemen.
The details have been discussed for years: Al Davis is aging, and so is the Coliseum; Jed York is young, and his family has staked its ownership future on building a new stadium, somewhere.
They are very different owners. But they're both on the edge here — how much longer can they afford to fail?