Just WIN Baby!

Posted on October 9, 2011


Al Davis, the Oakland Raiders owner and NFL game-changer died
Saturday morning in his Piedmont home. Davis was known for many things but
being nice wasn’t one of them. I recall the 1st time I actually put a face to the
name “Al Davis”. I was about 8 years old, watching football on
television one Sunday afternoon with my dad, when the cameras zeroed in on this guy that looked like a villain. The announcers were making some pretty brutal statements about him so I asked my dad why everybody hated him so much. My dad replied in all his country glory, “Al Davis is the damned devil! Hell I think he made a deal with Satan and he aint gon’ nevah die. I tell you what though he did a lot for this game and the black folks in it.” I never forgot
that….I’m now thirty years old and while I didn’t quite understand what my dad
was saying at the time (besides that Al Davis was evil) I later realized that
he revolutionized the National Football League.

Davis has a long list of accomplishments and a resume that’s
impressive, to say the least. He began his football career as an assistant
coach of the Chargers; by age 33 he was hired as coach and general manager of
the AFL’s Oakland Raiders and became the youngest person to hold both
positions. In 1966 Davis was named American Football League (AFL) Commissioner, and just 8 weeks later a deal was reached between the NFL and AFL that would change the game forever. Davis was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the AFC and NFC and ultimately what we now know as the Super Bowl. As an owner he’s had more Hall of Fame inductees than any other organization, he gave minorities, young coaches and women a chance to shine when the odds were against them and he tormented Los Angeles and Oakland fans as he moved their team back and forth between the Bay Area and Southern California.

Al Davis was the man that we loved to hate! He wanted to WIN and for years he did. He played the villain role well and I think he embraced it, it was his thing, he did it his way and it worked for him. Davis was the face
of the Oakland Raiders organization. His team, front office staff and fans took on the attitude that he carried as the “baddest team in the land.” Al Davis bled silver and black….they weren’t just colors…they were his brand and apart of his lifestyle.

There is a side to Davis that fans didn’t know about. He’s been described by colleagues as persistent, innovative, and loyal. His style and at times lack of grace was well-respected throughout the National Football League.

For years I thought that maybe my dad was right, Al Davis was immortal. Saturday, at age 82, he proved my theory wrong.

Mr. Davis will be remembered forever. His passion to win, commitment to excellence and love of the game will NEVER die. I believe his legacy is eternal.

I think 49ers Head Coach, Jim Harbaugh summed it up best when he quoted an ESPN Films narrative. “The Autumn wind will forever be a Raidah”


Posted in: Football, NFL, Sports