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.