He saw a reporter and said, ``See you later...maybe,'' before ducking behind a red curtain. The he poked his head back out and added with a playful grin, `` If I don't, it's been good.''
It was good Sunday, anyway. A physically dominant 23-8 win at Arrowhead Stadium is a good day no matter how bad the Kansas City Chiefs are.
Rushing for 300 yards on 47 carries in an NFL game will turn heads, regardless of the opposition. Holding Larry Johnson to 22 yards on 12 carries, sacking the quarterback five times, intercepting two passes, breaking up 12 and allowing
If you're Kiffin and about to be told you're out of a job, there are worse ways to go out.
It was only six days but light years away from the 41-14 season-opening embarrassment against Denver. More to the point, to Kiffin's way of thinking, it was a validation of his philosophy improving his team by running the ball and beating the opponent to the punch.
The Chiefs came in having lost 10 straight dating back to last year. They were waiting to be manhandled. Kiffin's plan since he arrived is to change a losing culture with a no-frills, no excuse, punch 'em in the mouth approach.
The Raiders were able to
Maybe that's why Kiffin looked nothing like a man who has all but been given a cigarette and a blindfold, waiting his fate as the eighth coach to walk the plank by order of Al Davis since the Raiders returned to Oakland in 1995.
The first thing he said when he got to the podium was, ``Did Buffalo win?.'' He was told the Bills, who the Raiders face on the road next week, were 20-16 winners over Jacksonville.
There are no guarantees Kiffin will be there to see it, although the thought of Chiefs G.M. Carl Peterson being forced to swallow a 15-point loss to the Raiders may lessen Davis' irritation level somewhat with the kid coach.
``That's not my decision,'' Kiffin said. "I'm excited by the way our staff and our players prepared this week. If I'm here, we'll do the same next week.''
Even by Raiders standards, it was a bizarre week. When asked about the lack of defensive pressure Wednesday, Kiffin said defensive philosophy was mainly shaped by defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and Davis each week, as if it were a matter beyond his control.
The club countered by sending Ryan out the next day to refute Kiffin. This never happens anywhere else _ the team setting up a press briefing to counter comments made by the the head coach.
Lo and behold, the Raiders team that dominated the Chiefs Sunday blitzed early and often, with the likes of Thomas Howard and Gibril Wilson taking turns storming the backfield.
``I thought we set the tempo from the beginning of the game, guys coming in and rattling the quarterback,'' Kiffin said. ``I'm real excited about Rob's game plan this week.''
Whether through accident or manipulation, Kiffin got what he wanted, and hasn't let so much as a bead of sweat form on his brow over what still may be to come.
Call it confidence, as his supporters do. Call it arrogance, as many in the building do. Whatever you call it, the consistent thing about Kiffin is that on many levels he doesn't care what his critics think, whether inside the building, in the media or in the vast Raider Nation.
He will listen to what they have to say, answer politely, then continue with his own sometimes curious methods.
Kiffin will run the ball as often as possible to keep the game out of the hands of JaMarcus Russell until the quarterback has enough experience and good receivers take over. He doesn't care if you think it is stunting Russell's growth.
He won't adhere to the party line or bask in the Raiders tradition, not when the team was a mess when he arrived and is 5-13 since he got here. He doesn't care if you think he should be more reverential to the great Raiders teams of the great Raiders teams from the 1960s through the early 1980s.
Of late, he won't even call Davis by name, usually referring to him simply as ``the owner.'' He doesn't care if you think that is a sign of disrespect.
Kiffin refuses to say things are great when they're not and won't pretend there isn't a problem with the operation if he thinks one exists. He doesn't care if the public relations department wishes he would just put a cork in it and play the diplomat.
He will keep doing it his way until he is told otherwise by Al Davis. Being a maverick in Oakland is a great thing if you're a player, but it it's risky business for a head coach.
Kiffin doesn't care about that, either.
Staff writer Jerry McDonald can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com