The NFL lost of its great pioneers today, as the Oakland Raiders announced that their owner, Al Davis, has passed away at the age of 82.
After coaching for the Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers, Mr. Davis was hired as head coach and general manager of the Oakland Raiders in 1963, earning AFL Coach of the Year honors that season. Three years later, Davis became Commissioner of the AFL for four months, signing several players away from the rival National Football League.
Later in 1966, Davis took an ownership stake in the Raiders and ran their football operations, hiring John Madden, who guided the team to Silver & Black to a 103-32-7 record, winning six division titles and a Super Bowl over a 10-year span, during which, Davis became the managing partner of the club.
Under Davis’ watch, the Raiders won three Super Bowl titles (XI, XV, XVIII) and he was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992.
As a Steeler fan, Davis will always be remembered for being one of the central figures in one of, if not the best rivalry in football history, and that’s when the Steelers and Raiders got together from any point in the early to mid 1970′s till the early 80′s.
The Steelers beat Oakland twice to get the Super Bowl (IX and X), while the Raiders got their revenge, beating the Steelers 24–7 in the AFC Championship game to Super Bowl XI. There were many memorable moments in the rivalry, and while as a Steeler fan I grew to despise the Raiders, there was also great respect.
Our thoughts and Prayers go out to the Raiders as well as the family of Al Davis.