Al Davis: Why All NFL Fans Should Care About Passing of Oakland Raiders Owner

Al Davis' legacy and impact on the National Football League will be felt by future generations of players, coaches and fans. He represented a new breed of individuals who shaped the game of football into the modern marvel that we see today.

Davis was the commissioner of the American Football League during their merger with the National Football League in 1966. Before that he coached the Raiders to the greatest turnaround in NFL history, from 1-13 in 1962 to 10-4 in 1963. This put the Oakland Raiders and NFL teams along the West Coast on the map. 

His path towards success was and never will be repeated. A career that spanned over a half of century began as a scout in the 1960's, and it ended today on the eighth day of October. I think Roger Goodell said it best today: "He defined the Oakland Raiders and the NFL; he is a true legend." 

Al Davis hired the first female chief executive, Amy Trask, in 1997, broke the color barrier by hiring Art Shell in 1989, and hired the first modern NFL head coach, Tom Flores. 

Davis saved careers that were on the brink of ending (Jim Plunket), and he began what would be some of the best head coaching careers by giving Bill Walsh a chance in the 1960s. He brought the Oakland Raiders three Super Bowl rings and defined the down-field passing game that modern football represents. 

It is hard to imagine what the NFL would look like right now without the existence of Al Davis. He was a true pioneer right up there with George Allen and Lamar Hunt. 

He was the youngest head coach in the NFL at 33, the greatest owner the West Coast has ever seen and a passionate football man that wouldn't accept failure and losing. This caused Davis to have many enemies throughout his entire career. However, this career transcended sports and football. It represented the changing times of a nation that had been stuck in the archaic times of the 1950's. 
Article Source: Bleacher Report - Oakland Raiders