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Al Davis: Did Al Davis Make the NFL What it Is Today?

22 Jan 1984: Los Angeles Raiders owner Al Davis looks on during Super Bowl XVIII against the Washington Redskins at Tampa Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Raiders won the game, 38-9.
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Cody MeadowsCorrespondent IOctober 8, 2011

Love him or hate him, Oakland Raiders long-time owner Al Davis had a huge impact on the National Football League.

Mr. Davis passed away today at the age of 82.

Known for his stubborn attitude and rough appearance, Al Davis was a brilliant football man.  In April 1966, he was named the American Football League Commissioner. Many people forget that he was a vital part of the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.  

This changed the game forever by bringing the pass-heavy AFL together with the hard-nosed physical NFL brand of play.

This brought together the best of both leagues, leading to a more exciting game for everyone to enjoy.

This undoubtedly increased the marketability of the game, leading to today's NFL.

Now more popular than ever, it is safe to say that without Al Davis the game as we know it would be non-existent.

Mr. Davis also won multiple Super Bowls as a GM, coach and owner of the Raiders.

Al Davis also paved the way for players, coaches and staff members who may not have had a chance if it weren't for him.  He hired Art Shell at a time when African American coaches weren't truly considered by just about every other organization.

Davis also hired Tom Flores, a Hispanic, to coach his team. He eventually led it to a Super Bowl. Amy Trask was also hired to run the franchise and is one of the most influential executives in the NFL.

Davis was the first executive to draft a black player in the first round, taking wide receiver Eldridge Dickey in the 1968 AFL draft.

While he has passed away, the impact he left on the NFL will last forever.

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