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 Post subject: Al Davis is dead at age 82
PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 11:19 am 
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I just heard it on WFAN

For those of you who knew him only as the eccentric owner of a once-great franchise who changed coaches all the time, he was much more than that.

To me, as a fan of the old AFL, he had a huge impact on my life's relationship with pro football.

He was a street kid from Brooklyn (even though his family had money) who became head coach of the Raiders early in their existence and turned them from a doormat that played its home games at a high school field into one of the AFL's best teams.

He moved to the front office fairly quickly and maneuvered himself into being managing general partner of the Raiders in what would now be called a hostile takeover.

In doing so, he became perhaps the only owner in any sport who was also capable of coaching his team at a championship level.

It's also not well-remembered, perhaps because it doesn't fit well with the well-oiled machine image the NFL propaganda apparatus likes to portray, but he led the AFL in a direct confrontation that forced the merger.

Even though the AFL had signed some big college players, like Joe Namath, the league was in deep financial trouble. With Davis in the lead, as commissioner, the AFL began a program of raiding the NFL of established stars.

Within a short time, the NFL came to talk merger and all of the AFL teams were absorbed into the NFL. It also paved the way for the creation of the Super Bowl, which would make pro football even bigger.

(Davis actually opposed the merger, thinking the AFL could become the superior league, and resigned as commissioner of the AFL once the merger went in place. That led to his buying 10 pct of the Raiders and then maneuvering to become managing general partner)

He was known for decades as a recluse, but in those days, he was visible, doing national interviews on ABC with Howard Cosell during the raids on the NFL and the merger talks.

After the merger, he focused on building the Raiders into the most feared team in the league and also on tormenting Pete Rozelle, who had been his counterpart in the AFL-NFL merger talks.

Most people remember all the conflict over the moves to LA and back to Oakland. But he also floated the idea of moving the Raiders to New York and turning it into a 3-team market.

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 Post subject: Re: Al Davis is dead at age 82
PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 12:48 pm 
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For good and for bad the man had a huge impact on football.

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 Post subject: Re: Al Davis is dead at age 82
PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 3:54 pm 
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Azmetaholic wrote:
For good and for bad the man had a huge impact on football.


Even strategically, because he took what he learned from Sid Gillman, the great coach, and developed the whole philosophy of throwing the ball down field. I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure Davis was the first football man to apply the term "vertical" to the passing game.

The Raiders were really the first pro team built on having the strongest-arm QB possible throwing deep to at least one wideout with sprinter speed.

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 Post subject: Re: Al Davis is dead at age 82
PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 4:01 pm 
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Can't wait to read all of the articles from people pretending they haven't been making fun of him for the past 10 years!

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 Post subject: Re: Al Davis is dead at age 82
PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 11:12 pm 
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I didnt follow much of Davis's life but wish him and his loved ones the best.

RIP Al

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 Post subject: Re: Al Davis is dead at age 82
PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 8:11 am 
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Chico wrote:
Azmetaholic wrote:
For good and for bad the man had a huge impact on football.


Even strategically, because he took what he learned from Sid Gillman, the great coach, and developed the whole philosophy of throwing the ball down field. I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure Davis was the first football man to apply the term "vertical" to the passing game.

The Raiders were really the first pro team built on having the strongest-arm QB possible throwing deep to at least one wideout with sprinter speed.


I definitely meant strategically too. The Raider's vertical game forever changed the game.

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