Saturday, October 8, 2011

Al Davis: RIP


OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Al Davis, the Hall of Fame owner of the Oakland Raiders known for his rebellious spirit, has died.

The team said the 82-year-old died at his home in Oakland on Saturday morning.

It was Davis’ willingness to buck the establishment that helped turn the NFL into THE establishment in sports—the most successful sports league in American history.

Davis, elected in 1992 to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, also was a trailblazer. He hired the first black head coach of the modern era—Art Shell in 1988. He hired the first Latino coach, Tom Flores; and the first woman CEO, Amy Trask. And he was infallibly loyal to his players and officials: to be a Raider was to be a Raider for life.

But it was his rebellious spirit, that willingness to buck the establishment, that helped turn the NFL into THE establishment in sports—the most successful sports league in American history. He was the last commissioner of the American Football league and led it on personnel forays that helped force a merger that turned the expanded NFL into the colossus it remains.
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