Al Davis Rising From the Ashes

D.J. O'ConnorSenior Analyst IIIMay 30, 2010

Love him or hate him, you've certainly heard of him. 

Raiders owner/general managing partner Al Davis has been in the NFL since the AFL days, when he was an assistant coach on the Chargers.  In 1963, he became head coach and GM of the Oakland Raiders and nothing was ever the same again.  The Raiders went from 1-13 in 1962 to 10-4 in 1963, Al Davis’ first year with the team. 

Davis created the most dominant team of the era.  The Raiders had the highest winning percentage in the NFL from the 1970’s to the present and the Raiders went to five Super Bowls, winning three in 1976, 1980, and 1983.

But somewhere along the line, Al Davis lost control of his franchise.  In the 1990s, the Raiders made three playoff appearances in the whole decade. The 1990s were the only decade in which the Raiders have never made it to the a Super Bowl.

Davis seemed to get a grip when he hired Jon Gruden and signed Rich Gannon, who joined a team that had Tim Brown and Charles Woodson already on the roster.  The Raiders stopped the losing ways of the 1990s and won three straight AFC West titles from 2000-2002. 

After being sent home by “The Tuck Rule” game in 2001, Jon Gruden was released and his offensive coordinator, Bill Callahan, took the team to the Super Bowl in the 2002 season only to lose to the man the Raiders sent away. 

Then the losing ways returned.

 For the last seven years, the Raiders have compiled the worst record in the NFL since 2003. seven years in a row, the Raiders have lost at least 11 games.  The common denominator of these seven years: Al Davis.

Davis was not helping his case, although he didn’t need to because he was his own boss as the Raiders majority owner.  Davis traded for guys like Randy Moss and DeAngelo Hall, signed guys like Kwame Harris, Javon Walker and Aaron Brooks, and hired coaches like Lane Kiffin.  All of the previously listed men didn’t care at all about being Raiders as evidenced by their lack-luster performances. 

But it appears that Al Davis may have snapped back into it. 

The Raiders (Al Davis) released 2007’s No.1 overall draft pick, JaMarcus Russell. The Raiders (Al Davis) have drafted proven players out of college, as opposed to combine stars in the first round.  Drafting guys like Rolando McClain in round 1 instead of Bruce Campbell (who fell to round 4 where Davis got him). 

Remember when Al Davis came to Oakland back in 1963?  He took a 1-13 team and turned them into a 10-4 team.  Although Al Davis is a reason, not THE reason, but a reason, his team has become a doormat the last seven years, he may be the man to pull this team out of the shadows and back into the playoffs. 

The old Al Davis may be rising from the ashes, and the other 31 teams in the NFL should be afraid if this is the case.


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