Al Davis passes away at 82

Al Davis passes away at 82
October 8, 2011, 2:57 pm
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Raiders owner Al Davis, who led the team to three Super Bowl titles and is regarded as one of the icons on the American sports landscape, has died. He was 82.

The team reported his passing Saturday morning on its web site.

"Al Davis's passion for football and his influence on the game were extraordinary," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "He defined the Raiders and contributed to pro football at every level. The respect he commanded was evident in the way people listened carefully every time he spoke. He is a true legend of the game whose impact and legacy will forever be part of the NFL."

Under Davis' leadership, the Raiders established themselves as one of the most successful teams in all of professional sports. From 1967 to 1985 the team won 13 division titles, the 1967 AFL championship, and Super Bowls XI, XV and XVIII.

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The team is one of only two NFL franchises to play in the Super Bowl in four different decades.

Davis was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992 and has the distinction of presenting nine inductees into the hall, a figure unmatched by any other individual.

"Everybody realizes that sooner or later, you're going to die. You never expected that from him, because he was so tough," said former Raiders Hall of Famer cornerback Willie Brown. "The things he'd gone through over the years, of course. He's meant a lot to this organization, because he's the leader. It's hard to replace a great leader and a legend like Al Davis."

His signature phrase "Just win, baby" became synonymous with the Silver & Black and his precedent-setting style of leadership influenced the NFL in countless ways.

He hired Art Shell, making the former Raiders lineman the first African-American coach in NFL history. Before that he hired Tom Flores as head coach. Flores was the first Mexican-American to hold the position atop an NFL team.

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Davis also set a precedent with his hiring of Amy Trask as the team's CEO. She is the first woman to hold that position with an NFL team.

Davis was not afraid to challenge the status quo in other ways. That was most evident during the 1980s when he went to court and won for the right to move his team from Oakland to Los Angeles. Even after he moved the Raiders back to the Bay Area in 1995, he sued for 1.2 billion to establish that he still owned the rights to the L.A. market.
Coach Hue Jackson told the team of Davis' death at a meeting in Houston on Saturday morning. Fans dressed in Raiders jerseys, meanwhile, quickly made their way to team headquarters in Alameda, where a black flag with the team logo flew at half-staff and a makeshift memorial formed at the base of the flag pole."Definitely shocking news for us," quarterback Jason Campbell said. "We got here last night and then you wake up this morning and hear we lost our owner, the man who built this team for many, many years, it's tough to take in as a team. We understand what he meant to this organization. He loved his players, and that didn't matter if you were here now, or if you played for him 30 years ago. He still loved all his players."People carrying flowers, flags, silver and black pompoms and even a football-shaped balloon stopped by to pay tribute on a warm, crystal clear fall day in the Bay Area. A tiny candle burned as well."It's like losing a grandfather," said Rob Ybarra of Alameda, who left a bouquet of white flowers shortly after hearing the news of Davis' passing. "He's such an icon. The face of the Raiders. It's hard to put into words how much he meant to everyone."Davis is survived by his wife, Carolee, and son Mark, who Davis had said would run the team after his death.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.