Committed To Excellence: Why The NFL and Raider Fans Should Cherish Al Davis’ Memory

Al Davis Died On October 8th, 2011. His Legacy Will Live On Forever

“Just win baby!” and while recently that hasn’t been the Oakland Raiders’ style, they’ve always been committed to it. The man who began the lifestyle was none other than everyone’s favorite joke, Al Davis.  While recent draft moves (JaMarcus Russell and Darrius Heyward-Bey come to mind first) have been laughed at, criticized, and left fans questioning, the mind of Al Davis should have never been questioned.

As far as the AFL and NFL merger goes, we can thank Al Davis for that; It was his hard push for NFL players while being the AFL commissioner that ultimately led to the AFL and NFL becoming one.

Al Davis is also responsible for bringing along one of the most successful and beloved coach/commentator in the history of the NFL when he made John Madden the head coach during the 1969 season and was rewarded with years of glory and success, which included three Super Bowl championships.

While the list of Davis’ accomplishments are long enough to make this a 1000 page article,  so are his questionable moves both team wise and business wise for the Oakland Raiders.

The most common joke around the Raiders recently was, if a player could run a fast 40-yard dash time, he was automatically an Oakland Raider. Well, maybe Davis just saw the speed as a faster path to success.

There  was no middle with Al Davis you either loved him or hated him and quite frankly, he didn’t care what anyone else thought of him.  While many fans in the Black Hole would love to get back to their “glory days” all of them surely appreciate the dedication, and commitment to excellence that Al Davis had for the Silver and Black.

While moves like drafting JaMarcus Russell, Darrius Heyward-Bey, the hiring of coach Lane Kiffin and most recently, selecting Terrell Pryor in the Supplemental Draft have been laughed at labeled as “bad moves”. Davis also drafted Darren McFadden, Rolando McClain who are two of the best young players in the NFL. Most importantly, Davis created an organization with the most loyal (and scariest) fan-base that pro sports has seen.

Al Davis was married to the Oakland Raiders and literally stayed with them until death did them apart. His “Commitment To Excellence” was something that didn’t just stay with the Raiders, it was spread out into the entire NFL world.

It’s because of Al Davis, a Hall Of Famer, that the Oakland Raiders are one of the most recognized franchises in the sports world whether good or bad, they’re respectable. It’s because of Al Davis’ commitment that the NFL has risen to the top, even when his team was falling.

It is without question that Al Davis made us laugh, made us confused, and made the Raiders loved. The only question moving forward is, will we ever see an NFL owner as dedicated, as controversial, as outspoken as Al Davis? Probably not. He was Al Davis, he was the Oakland Raiders, he was and forever will be, a patron of the NFL. Whether you hate him or love him, you must respect a man who died for his team, the Silver and Black.

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