The Silver and Black Suffer the Ultimate Loss
Coach, owner, renegade, rebel, scout, Hall of Famer, commissioner, general manager; how many hats can one man wear? Which of these titles were the most important to him? With the passing of Al Davis at the age of 82, we may never know. We do know that he gave every day of his life, all he had to give to the sport that he so dearly loved. He was one of the most important figures in the history of the National Football League. His contributions to the world of football are simply amazing when you sit down and really think about it.
His rebellious spirit ignited many controversies. He did not avoid them but met them head on, marching to the beat of his own tune. He did business as he saw fit never deterred by public opinion. Love him or hate him; his contributions will go down in sports history and can never be denied. He was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992. Bucking the system, he hired the first black head coach in the modern era in the person of Art Shell. He was an equal opportunity kind of guy also hiring the first Latino head coach, Tom Flores and the first female CEO Amy Trask.
Davis was the last AFL commissioner in 1966 and forged the unification that turned the NFL into the colossus that it still remains today. He saw 3 Super Bowls titles in 1976, 1980 and 1983. He coined the phrase “Commitment to Excellence” naming his team the “Team of the Decades”. He was fiercely loyal to his family and friends and especially to former and current players. Once a Raider, always a Raider he would say.
He was always on hand keeping a close eye on his team over the years. Despite declining health for quite a few years he was always in attendance at games although this had to be very difficult for him. His love for the game and his team was apparent. “Disease is the one thing, it’s tough to lick,” he had said a few years ago. He watched as many of his friends and former players passed on and this was especially tough for him. He was so used to conquering and controlling whatever came his way. Death was the one thing that deemed him helpless as he succumbed to the inevitable Saturday morning.
Raiderdrive and Bay
Area Sports send condolences to Al’s family, friends, the Oakland Raiders
and the Raider Nation.
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