Al Davis Death: Where Does Oakland Raiders Legend Rank Among NFL Greats?

Oakland Raiders head man Al Davis died at the age of 82 on Saturday. Whether the veteran owner truly lost touch with the game in his later years is up for debate, but one thing that isn't debatable is how big of an impact the Hall of Famer had on the sport of football.

Davis also served as Raiders head coach and general manager since arriving to the team in 1962 and was AFL Commissioner starting in 1966. His stint as commissioner was short but effective as he turned the league into a real competitor with the larger NFL.

The Massachusetts native had a never-quit attitude, which made him an easy target for criticism, especially late in his life when he didn't have the ability to fight back with such ferocity. It was his way or the highway up until the very end.

And while that type of individual is usually looked down upon, that didn't bother Davis, who was confident his decisions would help the Raiders “Just win, baby!”

It's impossible to pick the most important person in pro football history because it covers such a large amount of time over several eras, but Davis would certainly be in the conversation. He knew the potential of the sport and, without him being a driving force behind the NFL's growth, there's a good chance the league wouldn't be the money-making machine it is today.

Davis was the visionary every great company needs to look past the current day fodder and into the future. While those abilities began to fade in his later years as his small-market team was pushed toward the basement, he still kept fighting with what he fought was right.

Having a strong voice like Davis' helped the small-market teams remain relevant during CBA negotiations over the summer. Without him those teams will continue to lose ground on the big-market, huge-spending teams like the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins.

While the gut reaction is to think the loss of Davis ...

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