Al Davis, the Oakland Raiders owner who was one of the towering figures of professional football over the last half century, has died.
The Raiders’ web site has confirmed that Davis passed away this morning. He was 82.
In 1963, the Raiders, at the time a struggling franchise in the upstart American Football League, hired the 33-year-old Davis to be their head coach and general manager. He instantly reversed the team’s fortunes and was named the AFL’s Coach of the Year in their first season.
After three seasons as the team’s head coach, Davis briefly left to become commissioner of the AFL, and his aggressive approach in competing head to head with the NFL was one of the reasons that the NFL’s owners agreed to merge with their rival league. With that mission accomplished, Davis settled into a new role as managing general partner of the Raiders, a role he would stay in for the rest of his life.
On Davis’s watch, the Raiders won Super Bowls XI, XV and XVIII. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992 and is the only person to serve as a personnel assistant, scout, assistant coach, head coach, general manager, commissioner and team owner.
Davis will be remembered as one of the greatest contributors to the game of football that the sport has ever seen.