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Oakland Raiders' Al Davis dies at 82: 'Just win, baby!'

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 10th, 2011
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Known for his take-no-prisoners, no-nonsense style on the field and off, Al Davis, owner of the Oakland Raiders has passed away at the age of 82. When he failed to show for a Raiders game in Buffalo last month, there were speculations that his health was failing. It was the only game he had missed since the Raiders returned to Oakland in 1995.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Davis transformed a floundering team into a three-time Super Bowl champion. The Raiders at one time was one of the most successful franchises in professional football prior to their dramatic decline in recent years.

The Raiders have struggled in the 15 years since returning to Oakland, with only three winning seasons. Many had pointed fingers to Davis as the main reason, saying the game had passed him by.

The Raiders confirmed the death of Davis on their official Web site, with Davis' "Just win, baby!" motto. Davis was dedicated to victory in every battle, whether it was on the field or in the courtroom.

Frequently seen in a sweat-suit with slicked-back hair, Davis successfully sued to relocate his team from Oakland to L.A. in 1982, then abruptly moved it back to Oakland 13 years later.
Davis had briefly served as commissioner of the American Football League. With some maneuvering, he helped force an NFL-AFL merger that set the stage for the richest and most influential league in the history of professional sports.

"His contributions and expertise were inspiring at every level - coach, general manager, owner and commissioner," Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys and a close friend said. "There was no element of the game of professional football for which Al did not enjoy a thorough and complete level of knowledge and passion."

Hailed by some as a sports genius and a bully to others, Davis cut a large swath on the NFL landscape for decades and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992. It has been said that no one in professional football history wore so many hats as a scout, assistant coach, head coach, general manager, owner and commissioner - or created as much controversy.

"I don't think there's anyone in the National Football League - with the possible exception of [former Chicago Bears owner and coach] George Halas - who's had as big an impact," former Raider linebacker Matt Millen said. "He influenced a ton of things, either overtly, by pushing for rules, or covertly, by twisting the rules."

It was Davis who introduced the Raiders' silver-and-black uniforms and pirate logo when, at age 33 the Raiders hired him in 1963 as head coach and general manager. He also chose the team slogans "Pride and Poise" and later "Commitment to Excellence."


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