I received sad news like everyone else that the man that loved football and brought his brand of it to the NFL has died. Allen “Al” Davis was born on July 4 1929 in Brockton Massachusetts. He died October 8 2011 in his favorite place in our Bay Area Oakland. I could write a novel about Al Davis. He was a owner of a team that was well represented and well liked, but a lot of people wanted to see him go. I heard a lot of people say that in his latter years he hindered the franchise from becoming a great franchise. But what is a great franchise? Some will say “the Pittsburgh Steelers are a great franchise because the have the most championships.” Some will say the Greenbay Packers are greater because they have the most.” Really when it comes down to it a great franchise does win championships but also represents the city it is in on and off he field. I feel that the Raiders do that well.
They have to thank Al Davis for that. Even though they went to Los Angeles they will always be the Oakland Raiders. Especially to Al Davis. He loved the city of Oakland. That’s why when he left to go to L.A. he made sure he kept a ace in his sleeve to come back to the east bay. But how do you sum up and guy like Al Davis? He’s been a Commissioner, an assistant coach, a head coach, an advocate for the AFL and eventually a owner in a league he once battled against. But no matter what anyone said at the end of the day it was his team, and he like Sinatra he did it his way. He’s been called a Maverick, a Tyrant, a in your face type owner. If you worked for Al Davis and he didn’t like what you were doing he would let you know right away. But you still had to respect Al Davis. Why? Because he was in charge of a major organization that had to succeed. History has shown that every great leader has had both friends and enemies. Mr. Davis was no exception to the rule. But whether they liked him or not Al Davis, and I say it again, like Frank Sinatra did things his way.
He left an enormous mark on this league that not many can match. What was also interesting about him was even though he was born in Brockton Massachusetts as a boy he ran down the streets of Flatbush Brooklyn. He attended Eramus High School. It would eventually be Oakland where he would make his home. He came to the Bay Area with his east coast accent calling Oakland “The Raiduhs.” With his Elvis style slick back hair and a passion for winning football games he would not stop until the unique team of Silver & Black became a champion. He was the one who coined the term “Just Win Baby!” I don’t even think the NFL knew what they were getting when they bargained with Al Davis. I could remember seeing a poster of him wearing a Levi’s jean suit. That suit he wore was the signature way he approached the game of football. Unique, outspoken, a rebel. But even he as much as he battled against the NFL, even he saw the benefit it could have if the AFL and the NFL merged. So in July 1966 the two leagues merged. That was also the same year the Al Davis resigned as AFL Commissioner.
But as an owner Al Davis made sure players, coaches and the NFL as a whole knew that at the end of each work day the Raiders belonged to him. He proved that when he moved the team to Los Angeles. They captured a championship that year. The city of Oakland realized it also. Al Davis is and will always be the essence and DNA of The Oakland Raiders. We thank him for the John Madden years, the Tom Flores years, the years the defense used stick em on the field. The years of the Snake, and we thank him for building what would become the Raider Nation. Goodbye and farewell to Allen “Al” Davis. I would love to get your comments on this article. Tell me what you think. Remember folks it’s ALLBAYAREASPORTS.COM. Bay Area Sports Magnified!