Well Al Davis died yesterday. He owned the Oakland Raider football team. He was the last of the old guard owners from the infancy of the National Football League. He embraced his community and cast it aside during his tenure with the Raiders. When he was in Oakland the first time he embraced the counter-culture across the bay in a grittier way. He took the cast off and miscreants from the other teams and forged, until recently, a very successful dynasty. He was the antithesis of the Dallas Cowboys, my team with his outlaw image team. Al Davis showed no loyalty to his fans when he sued the NFL to move the team to Los Angeles. And then he shamelessly moved the team back to Oakland when that didn’t work out like he planned.
I was a Cowboy fan, the clean “America’s Team” but I was also a secret Raider fan. I have been to only one Super Bowl, and it was the Raiders versus the Redskins in Tampa. I have only one NFL jersey, Otis Sistrunk, he is a Raider. Al Davis had a huge banner in his stadium that simply said, “Commitment to Excellence” and I subscribed to that thesis. I had a banner made to hang in the Nissan dealership where I was the sales manager. By embracing that mantra we sold more cars, made more money, and had more fun than any other time in the history of that dealership.
Al Davis was a rebel, he made a lot of people mad, but at the end of the day he was a winner, personifying his slogan, “Just win baby.”
RIP Al Davis.