As long as I’ve been on this earth Al Davis has been running the Raiders. Be it in Oakland or Los Angeles the Raider Way was alive and well so long as Mr. Davis was at the helm of the ship.
For many the Raiders are just a football team. For many more the Raiders represent a way of life. It is the belief in self. The ability to be who you are and allowed your talents to shine. It is a sense of family. Being a Raider is about pride and passion.
All of these things were made possible by Al Davis.
With unmatched vision, persistence, dedication and commitment Davis made the Raiders and football as a whole into a larger than life establishment. While we all knew this day was coming it never seemed likely. Davis defied all the odds to get to where he was. It seemed as if Davis could defy death itself.
In his passing Al Davis leaves behind a sport flourishing like never before, a franchise that continues to gain supporters worldwide and a mentality that has become infectious in all walks of life.
Just win, baby!
Now that we have officially entered the AAD era (After Al Davis) there are many questions that abound.
As you might expect the Raiders will remain in the family as Al’s son ascends to the throne. It’s a pretty safe bet that many of Davis’ dynamic philosophies will remain intact. Many modern coaches widely attribute many of their ideals to Al Davis. So even beyond the Raiders Al’s influence will live on.
In the short term what we see on the field will be affected by Davis’ passing only in how the players honor their fallen owner. You’d expect leaders like Richard Seymour to use the passing of Davis as a rallying cry each Sunday.
Many of Davis’ team-building practices will also continue. Hue Jackson’s desire to “build a bully” no doubt stems from some of the many conversations he’s had with Davis since becoming a part of the Raider family.
However it is the long-term ramifications that have Raider Nation wondering what’s coming next.
Davis has never hid his desire to move the team back to Los Angeles should the right situation arise. With the current competing bids to build football stadiums in L.A. it seems to reason that the future of the franchise could involve yet another move.
From a football standpoint the shift of power will be something to keep an eye on as it is uncertain who will ultimately lead the silver and black charge. Davis might not have been as involved in recent years but his voice was still the most dominating in the room. He didn’t make every decision but Davis had input on most of them.
Just how the team will draft, develop and scout talent will be interesting to see. Davis was an owner unlike any other. The only business he ever knew was football. Therefore it was natural for Davis to be more involved than most owners.
Perhaps the Raiders will hire an official General Manager to make many of the football related decision. Or the team may continue to move forward with Davis’ son taking control of many of the duties his father once dominated.
Only time will tell.
Today, Raider Nation mourns the passing of the man that made the Raiders the beloved franchise they are.
Tomorrow, the Raiders will honor their iconic owner by playing with the pride and passion expected of any man in Silver and Black.
Beyond that we’ll just have to wait and see. One thing we do know is that even in his death Davis will still be as influential as ever as his ideals live on well beyond his years.