In the end, it took death itself to force Al Davis to miss watching his beloved Oakland Raiders play in Houston this weekend. Davis died this morning after spending 48 years of his life as part of the NFL. It is believed the former coach and owner only missed three Raider’s games total since 1963.
Davis played an important role in forming what we know as the NFL today. It started in 1963 when a 33 year old Davis took over as Head Coach and General manager of the Raiders. After leading them to a 10-4 record, Davis was named Pro Football Coach of the Year. As the Commissioner of the AFL in 1966, he was seen as the driving force behind the merging of both leagues (NFL, AFL). Davis also play a huge part in the forming of the NFC and AFC in 1970. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992.
Here’s Dallas Cowboys Owner and GM Jerry Jones reaction to Davis death:
“In my eyes, so much of his legacy will be defined by the loyalty he had for the men who played for the Raiders and the love that they had for him. That was a bond that extended beyond the playing years and lasted lifetimes. His contributions and expertise were inspiring at every level—coach, general manager, owner and commissioner. There was no element of the game of professional football for which Al did not enjoy a thorough and complete level of knowledge and passion. He welcomed me and my family to the NFL 23 years ago and was a trusted friend for all of our time in professional football. We will miss him deeply and we are thinking of Mark and Carol at this difficult time.”
Al Davis was a true legend in the sport of Football. Despite the reputation the Raider’s often carry with them, it was a comfort to know that a founding father of the league was at their core. Today’s loss should be felt by all fans of Football regardless of team affiliation. Mr. Davis, you will be missed. Oh and one last thing….just win baby.