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

John Madden, Al Davis 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.

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38 Responses to “John Madden on Al Davis: “He was my best friend””
  1. godofwine330 says: Oct 10, 2011 2:40 PM

    Al was as tough as they come. There will never, ever be another like him

    R.I.P.

  2. Deb says: Oct 10, 2011 2:47 PM

    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.

  3. bombayjon says: Oct 10, 2011 2:49 PM

    If only he could have seen one last winning season. Rest in peace, Al Davis.

  4. fivefivenine says: Oct 10, 2011 2:50 PM

    “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.

  5. citizenstrange says: Oct 10, 2011 2:50 PM

    My wife is my best friend.

  6. citizenstrange says: Oct 10, 2011 2:51 PM

    Add to previous: She was standing looking over my shoulder intimidating me when I typed that.

  7. redrew says: Oct 10, 2011 2:56 PM

    I thought Brett Favre was Madden’s bust bud

  8. nogoodell says: Oct 10, 2011 3:07 PM

    Where were all these nice comments when the man was alive???

  9. favreforever says: Oct 10, 2011 3:10 PM

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

  10. kmart0319 says: Oct 10, 2011 3:19 PM

    Citizenstrange: Turn in your man card

  11. upyoursnfu says: Oct 10, 2011 3:19 PM

    And Brett Farve is Madden’ biggest man crush

  12. packh8er says: Oct 10, 2011 3:34 PM

    BOOM, Ace is the place!

  13. mvp43 says: Oct 10, 2011 3:37 PM

    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!

  14. fissels says: Oct 10, 2011 3:48 PM

    Quite an honor for Davis to have Madden say that about him.
    I agree with nogoodell, we never heard such things when he was alive.

  15. jcusa514 says: Oct 10, 2011 3:49 PM

    JUST WIN BABY!! go raider nation!!….this coming from a dolphins fan

  16. lovesmesomeme says: Oct 10, 2011 3:53 PM

    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.

  17. canadianhonky says: Oct 10, 2011 3:57 PM

    Love Madden but come on man… Best friends don’t let best friends wear those old lady sun glasses and fire coach after coach…

    RIP Mr Davis.

  18. 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…

    RIP Al!!

  19. 1captain1 says: Oct 10, 2011 4:04 PM

    Go to he!! Al Michaels and take your stupid pubic hair weave with you!

  20. buzzbissinger says: Oct 10, 2011 4:19 PM

    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.

  21. blackdonnelly says: Oct 10, 2011 4:25 PM

    About time we heard Madden’s thoughts on Al’s death. I wonder what The Shanarat and Lord High Muffer Kiffin have to say, or Chucky for that matter……

  22. blackdonnelly says: Oct 10, 2011 4:27 PM

    raiderinpa: Your suggestion (scarily enough) could work.

  23. JSpicoli says: Oct 10, 2011 4:34 PM

    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”.

  24. JSpicoli says: Oct 10, 2011 4:36 PM

    Madden will have some involvment in the football side. Guaranteed.

  25. tomsd1 says: Oct 10, 2011 4:50 PM

    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.

  26. dawsonleery says: Oct 10, 2011 4:53 PM

    I know he was 82 and wasn’t doing well but its Al Davis. I still can’t believe Al is know longer with us. Its sad.

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

    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.

  28. arrruserious says: Oct 10, 2011 5:02 PM

    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.

  29. dladd79 says: Oct 10, 2011 5:17 PM

    RIP to the great Al Davis. Just win baby!

  30. buzzbissinger says: Oct 10, 2011 5:39 PM

    48 hours: Average shelf life of PFT commenters gutless cynicism

  31. radrntn says: Oct 10, 2011 6:22 PM

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

    sad, but oh so true……

  32. hoggy301 says: Oct 10, 2011 7:02 PM

    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….

  33. ashman23 says: Oct 10, 2011 7:08 PM

    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.

  34. mypuppyfarted says: Oct 10, 2011 7:47 PM

    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.

  35. raiderapologist says: Oct 10, 2011 8:22 PM

    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.

  36. charger383 says: Oct 10, 2011 10:12 PM

    Hope to see John Madden back with the Raiders.

  37. jimmysee says: Oct 10, 2011 10:13 PM

    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.

  38. radrntn says: Oct 11, 2011 11:40 AM

    one for all , all for one…….The Raider Nation

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