As a Raiders fan, this is a hard one to write because I never wanted this day to come. At first, I didn't want to believe it, but I dedicate this article to the greatest owner of all time. No owner has come so far and achieved this much success and garnered this much respect from NFL teams everywhere.
His passion to win is unmatched. Davis once said, “We want to win. The Raider fans deserve it. The Raider players deserve it, even my organization deserves it. You have to win and you have to win with a vision for the Super Bowl. That's our passion here.”
The Raiders are finally on the right path and it is going to be hard to see the guy who paved it, leave what he started a little early.
I created this list because he deserves to have his legacy known to those who have forgotten. I wish you all the best Al. I wish all Raiders' fans everywhere my deepest condolences. May the greatest NFL icon rest in peace...well after we get you those two more Super Bowls that you wanted to win.
No owner has ever come so far in the history of the National Football League. Al started as a scout, then coach, to owner and finally the commissioner of the AFL. He knew football. He knew how to win. His humble beginnings truly made him an iconic figure.
John Madden was young, but Al Davis didn't care. When Davis hired Madden, he simply said, "“I'd like my next head coach to be winning oriented. We would consider anyone that we think is right.” Since then, John has been one of the greatest and most influential legends that football has ever seen, and it is because of his hiring by Al Davis. Davis and Madden were so close to each other that Madden asked Al Davis to induct him into the Hall of Fame in 2006. Davis garners the most respect by those who really knew him.
During his Hall of Fame speech for Madden, Davis said about John, “It's time John took his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He certainly brings an excellence to it that no one can deny. I saw greatness in him and he lived up to it.” What class.
No other owner has done for the diversity of football in the NFL than Al Davis. Al hired the first Hispanic and Black head coaches in the NFL. He is the single reason why there are as many rules about diversity in the NFL. Al once said,"The Raiders care more about bringing change to the game and we will win with anyone."
The Raiders were one of the most disappointing franchises in football before Al Davis took over. Since then he helped the Raiders go to five Super Bowls and won three. His iconic slogans, including "A commitment to excellence" and "Just win baby" were more than mottoes; they defined the man that defined the league.
When Al was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992, the Raiders were the winningest franchise in NFL history. Over the years the Oakland Raiders were defined by their toughness and not for their place in the NFL record books. Over the past decade, the Raiders have fallen to fourth overall, but are No. 1 in penalty yards and no other team is close to that record. The Raiders brutality under the realm of Davis has complied 28 winning seasons, (16 straight at one time).
Al Davis embraced his fans like no other. He has orchestrated the greatest fanbase in the history of the NFL. If you are not wearing Silver and Black to the games, then you better leave the stadium early. The fans win countless polls for being the most passionate fans in the league and it is because of Al. Al once said about Raider Nation, "I will do anything for our fans, and it looks they would do anything for this team."
You know that you have gained the respect of your players when nine of them ask you to induct them into the NFL Hall of Fame: Lance Alworth, Jim Otto, George Blanda, Willie Brown, Gene Upshaw, Fred Biletnikoff, Art Shell, Ted Hendricks and John Madden.
Davis has hired former players for a variety of positions, including player personnel and head coaches.
Al Davis was a fighter. He fought so much that he took it to the courts. For many reasons, he filed lawsuits for anti-trust suits as well as his decision to leave L.A. to go back to Oakland. Al wanted a new stadium and didn't care how he got it. He just wanted to win the case to get his fans a new home and the case ended in 2007 at the California Supreme Court.
The NFL had a strong hold on great players for the duration of the AFL. When Al was selected as commissioner, he immediately started to sign marquee players which ultimately lead to a merger between the leagues. Though Al was against the merger, if not for his tireless efforts and passion for competition, the AFL would not have been accepted into the league.
He will always be remembered for his strong will and forceful character that defines Raider fans everywhere. He is iconic and will live on forever as the single most important figure in NFL history.