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Family, friends celebrate life of Al Davis, 83 years after his birth

Raiders_Davis_Dies_Football_0a267 Getty Images

Raiders owner Al Davis died on October 8.  Today, July 4, would have been his 83rd birthday.

And so, as Len Pasquarelli of the Sports Xchange reported recently and as we have confirmed, a memorial for Mr. Davis will be held today in Las Vegas.

Arranged exclusively by the Davis family but including many current and former members and employees of the Raiders, the bulk of the invited guests arrived in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

An assistant with the Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers from 1960 to 1962, Al Davis became coach and G.M. of the Raiders in 1963.  Over the next 48 years, he served as the last Commissioner of the AFL, minority owner of the Raiders, and eventually majority owner of the team.  He presided over one of the best NFL franchises through the 70s, winning Super Bowls to cap the 1976, 1980, and 1983 seasons.

The team last made it to the Super Bowl in February 2003.  A steep and extended decline followed, but the Raiders have now authored a pair of consecutive 8-8 regular-season records.  New owner Mark Davis, Al’s son, has presided over a comprehensive overhaul of the football operations, with new G.M., new coach, and many other new names and faces.

Polarizing but passionate about the team and the sport he loved, Davis was one of the key figures in the rise of pro football over the last 50 years.  And the game won’t be the same without him.

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8 Responses to “Family, friends celebrate life of Al Davis, 83 years after his birth”
  1. duanethomas says: Jul 4, 2012 10:06 AM

    A giant in the NFL on the best owners/innovators the league has or will ever see. Just Win Baby!

  2. raider17 says: Jul 4, 2012 10:14 AM

    “When you have great coaches…then after you get great coaches you get great players. You have a great organization and you tell ‘em one thing: ‘Just Win, Baby!’ ”

    Happy Birthday Al!

    All of football is in your debt!

    Al Davis Forever!!!
    Just Win Baby!!!

  3. AlohaMrHand says: Jul 4, 2012 10:15 AM

    Say what you want but Davis was a true pioneer and he left his mark on the NFL.

    JUST WIN BABY

  4. jlb10 says: Jul 4, 2012 10:19 AM

    al davis spent his life 24/7 wanting and trying to win. he will be missed. he should ne honored. not only for what he did for this franchise but what he did for the nfl minorities and women.
    he was truly a great man

  5. chill1184 says: Jul 4, 2012 10:56 AM

    RIP Big Al you were a great innovator for the NFL.

    /Steelers Fan

  6. demolition510 says: Jul 4, 2012 12:44 PM

    I’ve noticed your biases and dissed have subsided against the Raiders. Thank you finally!

    Rest in paradise Al. The NFL and all it’s fans are forever grateful.

    Mark, Amy, Reggie and DA will bring home a championship sooner rather than later.

    Commitment to Excellence

    Just Win Baby

  7. richatthelake says: Jul 4, 2012 12:54 PM

    Florio,

    Al Davis, along with Lamar Hunt were the driving forces behind the merger. Truly great men in the world of professional sports.

    But you said Mr. Davis was the last commissioner of the AFL, which isn’t right. He was commish for less than one year, followed by Milt Woodward, who served as commissioner from the fall of 1966 till the league’s final game, Super Bowl IV in 1970.

    Davis was installed as commissioner so the NFL knew the “other” league meant business. It only took four months of Davis’ tough-guy public persona & Hunt’s secret negotiations with Tex Schramm to secure the merger the AFL wanted.

    I know one of the former Raiders hosting the Las Vegas affair & there will be a lot of former players & coaches there to honor their old boss, they truly loved the guy. Much like the way Davis was in life, this celebration today will be as under-the-radar as they can make it.

  8. radrntn says: Jul 4, 2012 4:56 PM

    Happy B-day to the greatest owner ever! RIP

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