DBN here. As I write this piece on Sunday October 9, 2011, I going to take time to remember a NFL iconic figure. Al Davis, owner of the Oakland Raiders passed away at the age of 82 years old. He was an owner whose mavervick ways irritated fans, former players, coaches, and included former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle. But whether you liked him or hated him, there’s one thing you can’t deny, he was a winner.
In 1963 he was hired as head coach of the Raiders. Before he took the helm, the Raiders were lousy. What Al Davis did was turn the Raiders in one of the most dominant football teams in the then American Football League (AFL). The dominance countinued when the AFL merged with the National Football League (NFL) in 1970. Under his watchful eye, the Raiders won three Super Bowl Titles.
Amazingly, he had the habit of taking castaways from other teams and giving them a second life with the Raiders.
George Blanda, the ageless wonder. He was performing miracles well into his forties.
Jim Plunkett, he was washed up with the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers. He came to the Raiders as a backup quarterback and led them to two Super Bowl wins. The second one was against the Washington Redskins. I’m still bummed by that one.
I’m hoping for the same success for Jason Campbell. He’s currently the starting quarterback for the Raiders after being with the Waskington Redskins.
I must admit, I not a fan of Al Davis. The reason; he moved the Raiders out of Oakland in favor of Los Angeles in 1982 after legal battles. A lot of Raiders fans weren’t happy about that. He wanted a new stadium. That was a wasted effort when he couldn’t get a stadium deal finalized in Irwindale (suburb of L.A.), he moved the team back to Oakland. Shouldn’t have left in the first place.
But despite his legal battles with the NFL and his outspoken way of doing things, there is one thing he deserves great praise for. He was the first owner to ever hire an African American Head Coach in Art Shell in the modern NFL era. Al Davis paved the way for guys like Lovie Smith (Chicago Bears), Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati Bengals), Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers), and a few others. Currently, the Raiders have Hue Jackson as their head coached just hired in January of this year, also an African American.
Love him or hate him, he was unique. As we watch football this Sunday afternoon, one seat will be empty. I believe the Raiders will use this a rallying point to propel themselves into the playoffs.
Al Davis’ motto - Just Win Baby.
Al Davis — 1929-2011
DBN HAS SPOKEN
Raiders managed to beat the Houston Texans 25-20. Al Davis is smiling.