In all of sports, few figures are as iconic as Raiders owner Al Davis.
He’s held the titles of commissioner, head coach, owner and general manager. He’s been called a “tough S.O.B.” by Mike Tyson. And he happens to be one of the biggest reasons why I’m a Raider fan for life.
I was raised just outside of Los Angeles. When Mr. Davis brought Raider football to the L.A. market, my father immediately purchased tickets. My youth was spent watching the likes of Marcus Allen, Bo Jackson, Tim Brown, Todd Christensen and Howie Long play the game I grew up loving. After the Raiders returned to Oakland, I remained a die hard fan, feeling that they were back in their rightful community, while still making trips to the Bay to see them play.
Much has been said and written about Mr. Davis. His presence is ominous. His football acumen is legendary. His place in history is already established as one of the faces etched on the Mt. Rushmore of football in North America.
On Saturday, July 4th, he’ll celebrate his 80th birthday.
No matter what your feeling are towards Al Davis and his practices, if you’re a Raider fan then you’re forever a part of a worldwide family.
This weekend, while you’re standing over a hot grill, take a moment to remember why this holiday is truly important for our country. Then, as you watch the fireworks at night, just remember that the owner of your favorite team wants nothing more than for you to see a winner take the field in 2009.
When Raider play-by-play announcer Greg Papa wished Mr. Davis a happy birthday during a recent interview, Davis responded, “Well, it’ll be happy when we win.”
We’ll all be happier when we win, Al. These last six years have been a real test for all Raider fans. Al’s decisions have been the biggest reason why we’re mired in this rut of perpetual losing. Yet still, we support and hope for a better day.
On Saturday, we celebrate the independence of our country, a country with a checkered past and an uncertain future. None the less, it is a country we can proudly proclaim as our own.
On Saturday, an owner who truly defines the American independent spirit celebrates his 80th birthday. He’s an owner with a glorious past and whose team has an uncertain future. None the less, he is an owner who makes fans such as me proud to proclaim the Raiders as my team.
Happy birthday, Mr. Davis!
Enjoy the holiday and a special thanks to everyone who reads this blog. Hopefully, we’ll be celebrating a winning team in 2009 if not one that at least puts forth an effort to be proud of.
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