Al Davis, legendary NFL owner, AFL commissioner and head coach died at his residence in Oakland, California in the early morning hours of October 8. He was 82 years old. Davis, who is remembered as an enigmatic personality and one of the biggest names in the history of football management, garnered 3
Super Bowl rings in his tenure with the Oakland Raiders. Despite struggling for the better part of the past decade, under Davis’ influence, the Raiders were a successful team, earning a winning record in 34 of the past 52 seasons.
Davis was also a civil rights pioneer in the world of professional football. He hired Art Shell, the first African-American head coach in the NFL, and Tom Flores, the second ever Hispanic head coach in the NFL. Davis also refused to allow the Raiders to play in a preseason game in Mobile, Alabama to protest Alabama’s segregation laws, a bold step in a sport that was hampered by racial prejudices at the time.
Davis was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1992. His induction speech was given by John Madden, who Davis hired as a head coach in 1969. During his 52-year tenure as boss of the Raiders, Davis and his football philosophy can best be summed up by a phrase he loved to use: “Just win, Baby!”
– Serek Hahn, Staff Writer