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NFL remembers Al Davis

al-davis AP

From the very beginning, Al Davis’ relationship with the institution of the NFL was complicated.

Davis scared the hell out of NFL owners and establishment. He signed players from the NFL, and he talked trash about it.  He tried to grow the sport and hurt the NFL at the same time. He never let the AFL feel like the underdog.

That complicated relationship continued well after the merger of the two leagues. Davis wasn’t happy that Pete Rozelle was commissioner of the new league, a job that Davis wanted.  Ultimately the Raiders owner took on the NFL in a variety of ways over the years. He fit much better in the maverick role fighting the establishment than he ever would have as commish. And yet he always commanded enormous respect.

After Davis’ death, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released the first of what will be many statements about one of the towering figures in football’s history:

“Al Davis’s passion for football and his influence on the game were extraordinary. He defined the Raiders and contributed to pro football at every level. The respect he commanded was evident in the way that 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,” Goodell said.

Goodell is right. Long after everyone reading this is gone from this Earth, those that follow the NFL will still be talking about Al Davis.

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38 Responses to “NFL remembers Al Davis”
  1. phadedwun says: Oct 8, 2011 11:38 AM

    RIP Al Davis.

    You may have been a bit crazy, but I still loved you and you will be missed.

  2. radrntn says: Oct 8, 2011 11:41 AM

    RIP Al….we wil miss you, and cue all the haters.

  3. invaiduh says: Oct 8, 2011 11:46 AM

    Rest in peace baby….

    RAIDERNATION.

  4. j0esixpack says: Oct 8, 2011 11:47 AM

    Many in the NFL never liked Davis because he refused to sugar coat things

    That 1967 interview he gave to Lee Gosscup for SPORT magazine where he detailed the extent of spying, play call signal stealing and other forms of gamesmanship in the NFL going back to the 1950s under George Halas, Lamar Hunt, George Allen and others certainly never won him many friends back then – or now – at least not in the Commissioner’s office

  5. jdphx says: Oct 8, 2011 11:48 AM

    R.I.P. Mr. Davis

    The Raider family will never be the same.

  6. trbowman says: Oct 8, 2011 11:50 AM

    I’ll always remember his press conferences, the ones in recent years. Especially the one where he fired Kiffin.

  7. ciresq says: Oct 8, 2011 11:51 AM

    Every football fan owes him a debt of gratitude. You may not have liked him, but you will never forget him…

  8. philriverslovespenis says: Oct 8, 2011 12:00 PM

    RIP Mr.Davis.

    Sincerely,
    A Broncos fan that has hated you for a long time.

  9. godofwine330 says: Oct 8, 2011 12:03 PM

    Al Davis was one of the first owners, if not the first, to go out and get Black players and play as many of them as he thought could play. No quota. He also hired the first Black coach. You gotta respect that.

    The autumn wind is a Raider
    Pillaging just for fun
    He’ll knock you round and upside down
    And laugh when he’s conquered and won

    R.I.P. Al.

  10. humb0lt says: Oct 8, 2011 12:04 PM

    RIP Al Davis. Thank you for your contributions to the game we love. There will never be another one like you.

  11. crippled4life says: Oct 8, 2011 12:04 PM

    He made football what it is today. Goodbye Mr. Davis the Raider Nation will always love you.

  12. eaglesandravens says: Oct 8, 2011 12:10 PM

    RIP Al Davis. A true innovator of the game we now know as professional football

  13. melikefootball says: Oct 8, 2011 12:11 PM

    The last few years may not have been his best but he gave it all to the the NFL. I still remember the good old games between the Raiders & Steelers. May he rest in piece.

  14. Derty Ernie says: Oct 8, 2011 12:12 PM

    Rip AL. Football wish miss you.
    Even though I lived in Oakland in the early 70′s and hated the Raiders, I had a lot of respect for you and your football operation.

    You did it your way. Bravo!

  15. j0esixpack says: Oct 8, 2011 12:27 PM

    It’s far too easy to forget that Davis helped break the glass ceiling for non-white coaches in the NFL

    He didn’t do it because he was a bleeding heart liberal

    He did it for the best reason of all – because he wanted to win and wanted to hire the best, regardless of race

    That alone is worthy of everyone tipping their hats to him this Sunday – but it’s really just one of his many contributions to the game

  16. raider23mike says: Oct 8, 2011 12:27 PM

    The other Al (Al Michaels) said that we would only win the Superbowl when Al Died. Is this our year? We now have help from above.

  17. jebdamone says: Oct 8, 2011 12:29 PM

    no matter what one may think about the way he ran his team no one can deny that Al did it his way and loved football with %100 of his being. his contributions to and knowledge on the game of football are rarely paralleled. he is a personality that will be sorely missed and raider nation will never be the same.
    RIP Al Davis

  18. boondocksaint224 says: Oct 8, 2011 12:29 PM

    Hopefully, people will take this time to remember him for what he’s done for the game over the course of his first 40 years in the sport as a coach/GM/owner/commissioner than his last 10 or so years. He’s left an impression on the game that few, if any, will ever leave in the future.

    RIP

  19. 420fan says: Oct 8, 2011 12:29 PM

    Being a die hard raider fan since the 70′s, I feel like a part of my family has died.

    RIP Coach Davis. One of the BEST in the NFL.

  20. Deb says: Oct 8, 2011 12:30 PM

    Still having trouble wrapping my head around the idea of an NFL without Al Davis. Every corporate giant should have one–the maverick with the James Dean hair who won’t play by the rules, beats the lawyers on their own turf, and pisses off everyone by taking home the trophies, too. “Just win, baby!” Al knew winning–on his own terms–was the best revenge.

    As a Steelers fan, the Raiders were the team I loved to hate back in the day. But I respected them and still do. Never has a team so closely matched the personality of its owner. The Al Davis of a couple of decades ago would have been more than a match for Goodell and his rules, and I can’t help crying that he’s gone. The league needs its rebels now more than ever.

    Rest in Peace, Al. Thanks for the memories.

  21. Chairman Al says: Oct 8, 2011 12:31 PM

    Flying from DC to Oakland for the game next week. Better believe we’re going to celebrate Coach Davis!

  22. wtfpft says: Oct 8, 2011 12:33 PM

    You’ll never be forgotten Al, and will be truly missed. Never again will we see a football mind as sharp as his. RIP

  23. 3yrsnfl says: Oct 8, 2011 12:44 PM

    Always wanted to meet Al Davis.

  24. juicejuicer says: Oct 8, 2011 12:53 PM

    The Commitment to Excellence will continue!!!

    A debt of gratitude is owed to a man that helped shape the NFL into what it is.

    Al, may you forever be running up and down the sidelines of the eternal gridiron. Always doing things your way.

    R.I.P Al Davis
    JUST WIN BABY!!!

  25. majskinsfan says: Oct 8, 2011 1:02 PM

    RIP Al. Hope the Raiders fight hard this year to memorialize him. Hammer the AFC! For Al.

  26. ericrarey says: Oct 8, 2011 1:08 PM

    I wonder if he will be burried “vertical”

    RIP Al Davis

  27. etoharin78 says: Oct 8, 2011 1:16 PM

    I loved to hate this man as a rival, but I realize that my Broncos ( forlorn as they may be at the moment ) would not exist without his efforts. Much respect for this rebelliously influential man!

  28. rdrs68 says: Oct 8, 2011 1:37 PM

    They don’t make them like Al anymore he was a throwback to an era where lyalty meant something.

  29. arejay72 says: Oct 8, 2011 1:56 PM

    rest in peace Mr Davis. with all the snark that goes on with the internet its great to see fans and opposition alike give respect to one of the cornerstones of the AFL, as well as the NFL.

    Charger, Chief, Bronco, Steeler, Patriot, dolphin, Seahawk, and Oiler fans(as well as other football fans), thank you for putting aside differences to pay respects to our guy. Today, the NFL, not just Raider Nation loses a true pioneer.

    Thank you all, and again, RIP Mr. Davis.

    go Raiders!

  30. pooflingingmonkey says: Oct 8, 2011 2:07 PM

    Reminds me of the death of Paul Brown back in 1989. Neither of these men were particularly well liked, but both had incredible impacts on the game.

    Without Al Davis, the game simply wouldn’t be what it is today.

  31. miketomlinssteelers10 says: Oct 8, 2011 3:14 PM

    @ Deb,
    Deb says:Oct 8, 2011 12:30 PM

    Still having trouble wrapping my head around the idea of an NFL without Al Davis. Every corporate giant should have one–the maverick with the James Dean hair who won’t play by the rules, beats the lawyers on their own turf, and pisses off everyone by taking home the trophies, too. “Just win, baby!” Al knew winning–on his own terms–was the best revenge.

    As a Steelers fan, the Raiders were the team I loved to hate back in the day. But I respected them and still do. Never has a team so closely matched the personality of its owner. The Al Davis of a couple of decades ago would have been more than a match for Goodell and his rules, and I can’t help crying that he’s gone. The league needs its rebels now more than ever.

    Rest in Peace, Al. Thanks for the memories.

    I’m also a Steeler fan and a fan of the game.
    With that being said,Deb you hit the nail on the head,the NFL needs a new maverick to step up and shake up the NFL the way Al would always do. I hate Da Radah’s but respect the hell out of them.

    R.I.P. Mr. Davis

  32. Mr. Wright 212 says: Oct 8, 2011 3:18 PM

    RIP True Maverick. I wrote about his ways in a research paper as an undergrad, thank God I grew up watching them when they were good and had the NFL Films to watch them in the 70s.

  33. jaimelh02 says: Oct 8, 2011 3:40 PM

    Al Davis is the reason I became a Raider fan. I always stayed loyal to him till the end and will always stay loyal to his team until the day I die. RIP

  34. Dynasty says: Oct 8, 2011 4:45 PM

    Powerful Figure. RIP. Raiders will play with enormous passion the rest of the way!

  35. vahawker says: Oct 8, 2011 4:51 PM

    Grew up a Raider fan in the late sixties early seventies. Al was a giant. Love him or hate him, you can’t deny his influence on the game. Rest in peace,Al
    Why don’t all you thumbs down children go and play. That bright, giant yellow org in the sky is known as the S-U-N. Its OK don’t be afraid to step out of mommy’s basement.

  36. mulie63 says: Oct 8, 2011 4:57 PM

    Deb,
    Very well said. I couldn’t agree more.
    Rod

  37. denverdude7 says: Oct 9, 2011 8:08 AM

    3yrsnfl says:Oct 8, 2011 12:44 PM

    Always wanted to meet Al Davis.
    ———————————————————-

    I did, and I have Mr. Davis’ autograph on a Denver Broncos bumper sticker to prove it.

    The autograph was obtained at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony for Raider great Jim Otto.

    Mr. Davis could have walked away from an obvious fan of one of his teams most hated rivals. He didn’t. It was at that moment I gained respect for him.

    For making a good rivalry a great one. For his efforts in helping to make the NFL what it is today:

    JUST REST BABY !!!!!!!

  38. kellyo33 says: Oct 9, 2011 9:12 PM

    RIP Al Davis!
    To a man who made football what we know today! Just Win Baby! Football would have never been the same without you. May you rest in peace forever!

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