Following the death of Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, there was some concern about the team's future, especially among the team's diehard fans. Those worries appear to be unfounded based on a report from Vittorio Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Owner Al Davis died Saturday morning, but not before he helped map out a plan for the team's future. Though there has been speculation that his wife, Carol, and son, Mark, would sell the controlling interest in the team once he died, that is not the case.
'The team will remain in the Davis family,' chief executive Amy Trask said Saturday night. 'There is a succession plan in place in that regard.'
Not only is that good news for Raider fans but for the entire league as well. While it's unclear whether Mark Davis will have the same bravado that made his father famous, he'll probably remain a strong supporter of small-market teams' rights, a trait which helps keep the league competitive from top to bottom.
The younger Davis is more of a business man and will likely hire some new faces to run the day-to-day football side of things. He'll remain busy working on plans for a new stadium and finding ways to keep the franchise moving in the right direction financially.
That's not as easy of a task as it might sound because, according to the report, the Raiders are the second-least valuable franchise in the league. That will change if Oakland's positive momentum continues on the field, however.
Perhaps the best news for Davis is the team's strong fanbase. Raider fans are among the most loyal in football and will be supportive of their new owner during the transition. They might not have liked all of Al Davis' decisions during his tenure, but they fully understood his importance.
Relocation gossip pops up every time an owner dies or a team goes up for sale. So it was a good decision by the Raiders to quickly issue a statement about Al's succession plan to quiet any rumors that arose on Saturday.
Even though the Davis legacy will probably undertake a more behind-the-scenes role under Mark, it's nice to know the Raiders will remain in the family. It's a storied franchise, mostly thanks to Al's numerous contributions, and it wouldn't feel the same without a Davis family influence.
More importantly, it provides stability to the franchise. And in the ever-changing world of professional football during rough economic times, stability is key.
Mark Davis won't be a mirror image of his dad (he probably doesn't want that kind of pressure anyway), but his presence will help those who inhabit the Black Hole sleep a little easier moving forward.
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