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Al Davis Dead at 82
[pic - click to view]
Al Davis, the Oakland Raiders owner who was one of the towering figures of professional football over the last half century, has died.
The Raidersí web site has confirmed that Davis passed away this morning. He was 82.
In 1963, the Raiders, at the time a struggling franchise in the upstart American Football League, hired the 33-year-old Davis to be their head coach and general manager. He instantly reversed the teamís fortunes and was named the AFLís Coach of the Year in their first season.
After three seasons as the teamís head coach, Davis briefly left to become commissioner of the AFL, and his aggressive approach in competing head to head with the NFL was one of the reasons that the NFLís owners agreed to merge with their rival league. With that mission accomplished, Davis settled into a new role as managing general partner of the Raiders, a role he would stay in for the rest of his life.
On Davisís watch, the Raiders won Super Bowls XI, XV and XVIII. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992 and is the only person to serve as a personnel a.ssistant, scout, a.ssistant coach, head coach, general manager, commissioner and team owner.
Davis will be remembered as one of the greatest contributors to the game of football that the sport has ever seen.
[pic - click to view] Oakland Raiders
The first time I met Al Davis was the early 1990s. I had just started covering the NFL and asked for an interview. He had refused for months and then granted a brief one. Some of the first words out of his mouth were these: "Don't believe every lie the league office says about me."
For much of his brilliant, chaotic and unreal life, Al Davis was at war. He fought commissioners. He fought other owners. He fought cities. He tussled with mayors and politicians and his own players. He earned a reputation as a crazy man.
But for those of you who don't know, do not let that deter from what Davis did. The NFL you see today? The multi-billion dollar league? The great league? The biggest, the baddest? Al Davis helped to build it. In many ways, it can be argued, few were bigger at making the sport what it is now.
He modernized the passing game. He made marketing a part of being an owner. He hired minorities to be coaches when other owners refused.
Al Davis was, in short, a brilliant man.
Never forget that. Never, ever forget that.
RIP to a sports legend
Last edited by finishim; 10-08-2011 at 09:05 AM..