Al Davis WAS the Oakland Raiders. Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon SM
This post is just me remembering Al Davis and what he meant to the Oakland Raiders and to the NFL. 2012 will be the first full season without Al Davis who died early in the 2011 season.
Sadly many current NFL fans may only know Al Davis as the grumpy old man who always wore black and drafted fast wide receivers. There is some truth to that statement as Davis became a parody of himself in recent years.
But in his day Al Davis was a football genius who built a dynasty with the Oakland Raiders.Davis put together a band of misfits that other teams didn’t want or couldn’t control and let John Madden and later Tom Flores mold them into champions.
Al Davis had a very sound football mind and a background in scouting and coaching when he was named head coach and general manager of the Raiders in 1962.Davis loved the long ball and used an offense similar to the Chargers offense under Sid Gilman .Davis was the American Football League (AFL) Commissioner but quit rather than be in charge during the merger with the NFL.
Al Davis by hook or by crook managed to take control of the Raiders as owner during the early 1970’s and hired John Madden to be the coach. The Raiders had success with Madden and later Tom Flores and won three Super Bowls.
Al Davis had an eye for talent in his early years with the Raiders and “Just Win Baby” became the motto in Oakland. As long as you played well the team and owner didn’t care what you did. That fit in well with the hard partying Oakland Raiders of the Kenny Stabler era.
Davis became to show the world he lost his marbles when he benched Marcus Allen and feuded with the Raider star. Later moves such as losing Jon Gruden and drafting JaMarcus Russell made Al Davis a joke among many NFL fans.
But at 42 years old I can remember when Al Davis and the Raiders were always contenders and almost always won Monday Night Football matchups. The AFC West, Oakland Raiders or the NFL will never see an owner like Al Davis again. Maybe some fans and other NFL owners will be happy about that but I can’t help but miss Al Davis and hope he rests in peace. Please leave a comment below if you want to talk about Al Davis.