The NFL has lost one of its most influential and colorful figures.Al had both friends and enemies in the Los Angeles area. A great many taxpayer dollars were wasted on projects that would supposedly bring the Raiders to a new stadium in Irwindale, and of course, after playing in Los Angeles for three years the Raiders headed back to Oakland.
Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis has died at the age of 82. The news was announced Saturday morning on the team’s web site. No other details were immediately available.
Davis’ career in football dates to 1950. He served as a coach, general manager and even commissioner (in the American Football League that merged with the NFL in 1970) before becoming the Raiders’ principal owner in 1972.
Under his ownership tenure, Oakland won three Super Bowl titles. Davis also holds the record for most Hall of Fame induction speeches given with nine for players and coaches who worked under him, including John Madden and the late Gene Upshaw.
Davis helped revolutionized offense in the early 1960s by implementing an aggressive passing game he referred to as the “vertical game.” Davis’ other fabled mantra was “Just win, baby!” The Raiders did that for most of Davis’ tenure, posting 34 seasons of .500 or better in his 48 years with the franchise.
I remember driving by the Oakland Coliseum one Sunday morning when the Raiders were scheduled to play a home game that afternoon and the parking lot was already jammed with Raider Nation folks in all their regalia. Looked like a Pirate convention.