Blog Entry

Raiders owner Al Davis dies at 82

Posted on: October 8, 2011 10:47 am
Edited on: October 8, 2011 2:36 pm
Posted by Will Brinson

Raiders owner Al Davis died on Saturday at the age of 82, the team announced on its website.

Davis was one of the most legendary NFL owners in the sport's history, winning three Super Bowls and five AFC Championships during his more than 40 years as part or principle owner of the Raiders franchise.

Known for his signature phrase -- "Just win, baby!" -- Davis helped user in a new era of NFL football and, as's Mike Freeman wrote, helped make the league great.

"Al Davis's passion for football and his influence on the game were extraordinary," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "He defined the Raiders and contributed to pro football at every level. The respect he commanded was evident in the way that people listened carefully every time he spoke.

"He is a true legend of the game whose impact and legacy will forever be part of the NFL."

Born in Brockton, Mass. on July 4, 1929, Davis later graduated from Syracuse University and joined the Baltimore Colts as an assistant coach at the age of 24.

Davis joined the Raiders in 1963 as head coach and general manager, and he never left, save for a brief stint as AFL Commissioner in 1966. He coached the Raiders to a 26-13-3 record. Following his stint as coach, Davis purchased part of the franchise.

Remembering Al Davis

In 1976, Davis took over as managing partner of the Raiders, a position he wouldn't leave until his death on Saturday.

"The Oakland Raiders are deeply saddened by the passing of Al Davis. Al Davis was unique – a maverick, a giant among Giants, a true legend among legends, the brightest star among stars, a hero, a mentor, a friend," the team said in a statement. "Al Davis was the only person in professional football history to have been a scout, assistant coach, head coach, general manager, commissioner and owner. He was an innovator, a pioneer with a deep love and passion for the game of football.  His contributions to the game are innumerable and his legacy will endure forever through generations of players, coaches, administrators and fans.

"Al Davis was a champion of diversity who maintained the courage of his convictions. His passion for the game we all love is best exemplified by his famous phrase, 'COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE.' The fire that burns brightest in the Raider organization, 'THE WILL TO WIN,' will continue to blaze through the legacy of the great Al Davis."

His son, Mark, will take over as managing partner in his stead.

Davis moved the team to Los Angeles in 1982, and back to Oakland in 1995, the first time ripping out Raiders' fans hearts through a protracted legal battle, and the second time further endearing himself to the Silver and Black family.

The Raiders currently have no General Manager, nor a Player-Personnel Director -- Davis served in both capacities until his death Saturday. The notion that one man could run an NFL team and serve in those roles into his 80's is lost in today's NFL, but precisely why he's considered such a "pioneer."

"Al Davis was one of the most innovative and dynamic pioneers in the history of the National Football League," Saints owner Tom Benson said Saturday. "He was passionate about his team and about the game of professional football and he personified the legacy of the Raiders. We share with his family and friends our heartfelt sympathy on the news of his passing."

Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver offered a similar sentiment, calling Davis "a pioneer who made tremendous contributions to the league."

"Al Davis was a wild card maverick,the NFL Brando!" Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted on Saturday.

Indeed he was -- Davis dressed and acted in a way that separated him from most "normal" NFL owners. His signature white-and-black jumpsuit with a Raiders logo is what he wears when most people conjure up an image of the fiery Raiders owner. And his slicked-back hair, an homage to a style that was popular many decades ago, never changed.

Perhaps most importantly, Davis hired the first African-American head coach in NFL history (Art Shell), the first Latino head coach in NFL history (Tom Flores) and the first female CEO in NFL history (Amy Trask).

And though Davis began to struggle with his health, he rarely missed a game (including Week 4 of the 2011 NFL season, six days before his death), even if it meant using a walker to travel to the stadium.

"Disease is the one thing - boy I tell you, it's tough to lick," he said in 2008, talking about the leg ailments that had restricted him to using a walker. "It's tough to lick those diseases. I don't know why they can't."

Davis inducted a record nine people into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, and was himself inducted on August 1, 1992.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: February 21, 2012 7:33 am

Raiders owner Al Davis dies at 82

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 15, 2012 9:06 pm

Raiders owner Al Davis dies at 82

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 31, 2011 8:00 pm

Raiders owner Al Davis dies at 82

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Raiders owner Al Davis dies at 82

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Posted on: December 4, 2011 1:55 pm

Raiders owner Al Davis dies at 82

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Since: Oct 9, 2011
Posted on: October 9, 2011 8:23 pm

Raiders owner Al Davis dies at 82

Stormy, I agree with you completely.  While I have always been taught to respect the dead, I've also always been taught not to be a hypocrite, and praising this guy like he was the 2nd coming of Paul Tagliabue is ridiculous.   Unless I missed it, no one asked Dan Rooney his thoughts...since within the last 2 years he was quoted as calling Davis "A lying creep", which is what he was....lied to the fans and city of Oakland when he snarfed them to LA, a la Robert Irsay (is it a coincidence that carpetbagging owners die slow, painful deaths?!) of the Colts, lied to the city of LA when he moved them back to Oakland, cheated when he had the Raiders grease their jerseys in the 1973 playoffs to "make up for the bad call" in the Immaculate Reception game, and generally went out of his way to be a thorn in the side of the NFL.  Now granted, the NFL is a monolithic tyrant in the business world, but it's popularity validates its decisions, and Davis was usually the "1" when decisions on league policy were passed "25 to 1" or 27 to 1".  Great that he had longevity, and kudos for being a pioneer of the AFL along with Lamar Hunt and Sid Gillman, but spare me the deification of a guy who was accurately personified by a true gentleman in the NFL, that being the current US Ambassador to Ireland.  Rest in peace, Mr. Davis, though peace is not what you wrought for most of your years in the NFL.

Since: Dec 3, 2007
Posted on: October 9, 2011 7:17 pm

Raiders owner Al Davis dies at 82

I am not stomping on his grave I am just telling the truth, the guy went through alot of coaches and did very little for the NFL except cause alot of problems for players, coaches,and other owners. I agree with the person that said anyone who acts like their sad this guy passed on is lying their butts off, because when was alive he was the laughing stock of the NFL but now he's dead you would think his name was Jesus Christ.

Since: Aug 4, 2008
Posted on: October 9, 2011 3:06 pm

Raiders owner Al Davis dies at 82

I admired Al Davis and the Raiders, there was no love and have never been by me for the man , I was not really a Raider fan before or after he moved the team to Los Angeles and then back to Oakland.

I will say this I thought he was a very innovating person and was a little ahead of the rest of the so called football minds.

He was instrumental in the way football is shaped today. He understood that the money war for talent between the two leagues could not last or be an asset  to either league.

He turned the Raiders into one of the best winning sport teams of all time. There are those that still look forward to the wining mantel of the Raiders.

He took the forefront of hiring minorities, when it was not popular to do so. It took the rest of the league a long time to catch up with the innovations that Al Davis initiated and put in place.    

The man was smart and should be applauded for many things that football is today.
 I was one of the ones that wet to see the Raiders when they were in Los Angeles.

The Raiders fans were something to behold and a far cry from the fans of the Rams, that were, at the time also in Los Angeles. He angered many fans in Los Angeles when he moved the Raiders back to Oakland and wanted to keep the rights of the Raiders in Los Angeles.

I do think he over stayed his time with the Raiders and should have gracefully stepped aside and yield to a much younger man to manage and coach the Raiders. Him stepping aside might have changed the plight of the Raiders.

It might also enhanced his legacy as most of the latter seasons with the Raiders were not exactly the mind blowing organization he put together in the early part of is career.

Whatever the case I did admire the man for the things he did bring to the game of football and being the man that put Oakland on the map for the organization he clearly left his mark on.

I must remember that Mr Davis was also a coach of the football team at My alma Mater for a couple of years. For his service at USC- “FIGHT ON”  


Since: May 18, 2008
Posted on: October 9, 2011 1:48 pm

Raiders owner Al Davis dies at 82

Stormtiger, I am a longtime Huskers fan and Raiders fan, and what you wrote is a disgrace to both organizations. The Huskers have gone through a few coaches themselves lately, and when The Flying Pelini Brothers get canned, that trend will continue.

Leave the dead alone, and learn to spell while you're at it -- especially when you call someone ELSE a moron.

On a better note, thanks for the classy posts I've read here from fans of the Raiders' many rivals: Broncos, Chiefs, etc. Love Al or hate him -- and over the years I have felt both -- he made lasting positive contributions to the game. Few others can say that.

Since: Aug 30, 2007
Posted on: October 9, 2011 11:30 am

Raiders owner Al Davis dies at 82

Judging by the past 2-3 times I had seen a photo of Al, I think he may have been dead for months and the staff had to pretend he was still alive "Weekend at Bernie's" style. It was always hard for Al to give up the appearance of complete control. 

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