John Madden on Al Davis: “He was my best friend”

AP

With the passing of the man most closely identified with the Raiders, we all need to hear from the man who is perhaps the second most closely identified with the Raiders.

Former Raiders coach John Madden joined our friends Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith at XX 1090 in San Diego on Monday morning to reflect on the late Al Davis.

“It was one of those calls that you get in the middle of the night when you’re sleeping and it coulda been five or six o’clock,” Madden said, via SportsRadioInterviews.com.  “Amy Trask of the Raiders called and said ‘Al Davis passed away’ and I was in shock.  I had been with Al Davis since I left San Diego State as a matter of fact in the 1960s.  I had been with him directly or indirectly all those years, for six decades.  He was a bigger part of my life than any outsider outside of family.  He was my best friend.

“It’s Al Davis.  Al Davis doesn’t die.  Just the shock of it.  Even though you could see him and knew he was sick and he was failing, he is a fighter, he fights that, you know he was gonna beat it.  You always say that you knew he was failing and stuff, but it was still Al Davis.  You didn’t think it would happen to him.”

We continue to wish Coach Madden and the entire Raider family peace and comfort in this difficult time.

38 responses to “John Madden on Al Davis: “He was my best friend”

  1. This is a reminder that while most of us are thinking about losing an icon of the sport we love, many are grieving the loss of a husband, father, mentor, and friend. Deepest condolences to his family, friends, and the entire Raider Nation. God bless.

  2. “With the passing of the man most closely identified with the Raiders…”

    Phrases like this make no sense. He didn’t just “lead the team” and he wasn’t just the “head of the organization” for 49 years. Al Davis was the Raiders and the Raiders were Al Davis.

  3. “Al doesn’t die”, Madden said ominously, and sure enough when the coffin was opened for viewing, it was empty.

  4. Boom!

    “It was one of those calls that you get in the middle of the night when you’re sleeping and it coulda been five or six o’clock,”

    Boom!

  5. So let me get this straight. A week ago he was a senile old goat who had lost touch with reality. Today he is a visionary and rebel who will terribly missed.

  6. Would love to see Mark D. bring back Coach Madden in some form to help run the team… Next to Al, no other man is as ‘in tune’ with the history and legacy of the Silver & Black than Madden or shares a Davis-like passion for the Raiders…

    RIP Al!!

  7. lovesmesomeme says:

    So let me get this straight. A week ago he was a senile old goat who had lost touch with reality. Today he is a visionary and rebel who will terribly missed.

    The difference is that the latter was always true; just losers like you wheren’t aware.

  8. You guys are high if you think no one said these sorts of nice things about Al before he died. Madden’s famous quote is that “If I had one phone call, it would be to Al Davis.”

    Everyone showed respect except the secular media and youngsters like you that buy into everything they read on TMZ or see on “the Hills”.

  9. While faltered in his later years, he was once a GIANT. Did it all from asst coach to owner, and brought the old NFL to it’s knees – by raiding QB’s – both in the NFL and having teams like the Jets pay the then unheard of sum of $400,000 to snag Joe Willie Namath.

  10. For the past 15 years, the Raiders and their owner were the biggest joke in the NFL. Al Davis turned senile sometime around 1990 and was an embarrassment to the league. He gave Jamarcus Russell $56 million and pissed away a lot of other money on bad deals.

    Now, suddenly he’s a genius. Obituaries always gloss over the bad, highlight the good. Yeah, he helped broker the AFL-NFL merger and in the golden years coached some good teams. But no one was giving him any accolades in recent years and all these glowing comments are nothing but hypocrisy.

  11. raiderinpa says: Oct 10, 2011 4:01 PM

    Would love to see Mark D. bring back Coach Madden in some form to help run the team… Next to Al, no other man is as ‘in tune’ with the history and legacy of the Silver & Black than Madden or shares a Davis-like passion for the Raiders…

    ————————————————
    couldn’t agree more,Madden would make a great GM.

  12. nogoodell says:
    Oct 10, 2011 3:07 PM
    Where were all these nice comments when the man was alive???
    ———————————-

    sad, but oh so true……

  13. I grew up on those old Raiders! (cliff branch, gene upshaw, Dave Casper ect. Those were the days!!! RIP big Al!!! We’ll miss you….

  14. Amadeus – really? An embarrassment? JaMarcus Russell was consensus number one pick – so it’s Al’s fault he’s a lazy good for nothing?

    People still acknowledged his contribution whilst he was alive.

    Sure the team has played bad (really bad) for a long time but don’t think for a second Al is now thought of as a legend just because he’s dead. Al even admitted he made mistakes.

  15. Al Davis was the best friend of so many. I’m sure guys like Jim Otto would say that about him, too. So would many of his former players and coaches. Did you hear Hue Jackson after Sunday’s game? The out of touch media and those who are bitter about some of the old feuds are the only ones who ever talked crap about the man.

  16. Amadeus says: Oct 10, 2011 4:54 PM

    Now, suddenly he’s a genius. Obituaries always gloss over the bad, highlight the good. Yeah, he helped broker the AFL-NFL merger and in the golden years coached some good teams. But no one was giving him any accolades in recent years and all these glowing comments are nothing but hypocrisy.

    Not suddenly a genius. Bob Costa didn’t gloss over anything last night. And Davis didn’t just coach some good teams, he built them. He wasn’t always successful, but nobody wins all the time, and you can’t succeed if you never fail. People like to say the NFL is a passing league now, but Davis had that figured out a long time ago. There is no hypocrisy in all these glowing comments. Maybe some relief, because everyone can relax now that the man is dead and can’t come back to take a chunk out of anyone’s ass, but he didn’t care what someone like you thought about him when he was alive, and he sure as hell doesn’t care now.

  17. To me, in his own time, Al Davis is up there with Curly Lambeau and George Halas in his importance to the league and to the game.

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