He might not have had the title but during his time with the Raiders Bruce Allen was, for all intents and purposes, the team’s general manager. Of course nobody was going to get the GM title with Al Davis running the show. Still it says something that Allen was named executive of the year in 2002, the last time the silver and black played on football’s biggest stage.
None the less the Raiders were Al Davis and Davis was the Raiders no matter what.
Allen acknowledged as much when he penned a piece for Sports Illustrated while filling in for Peter King. Allen was in attendance at the memorial service for Davis in Las Vegas last week. Below are Allen’s words on his former boss.
Last week as part of our family’s July 4th celebration, my wife Kiersten and I went to a party with former and current Raiders to celebrate the great Al Davis’ birthday, who fittingly was born on Independence Day. Beside sharing some great memories with the unique Raiders fraternity, it reminded me what a special and unique pioneer Al was. In my opinion, Al Davis was the ultimate competitor who cared deeply about the game of football and the people that surrounded the Raiders.
Al’s commitment to excellence was not only his motto, it was his daily routine. Although he was well-read on all global issues, his life, job and hobby were the Raiders. Every waking hour, Al was trying to find a winning edge for the franchise he created, and he expected each employee to do the same.
Allen goes on to recount the lessons he’s learned over the years while working with some of the great minds in the game. It is a fascinating read that I highly recommend for all those that can’t get enough of the nuances of football.
Something else that comes to mind when thinking of Allen’s success with the Raiders is what Reggie McKenzie might accomplish as the new GM in town. Unlike Allen, McKenzie has the title and the power that comes with it. While there is no Al Davis around to guide the decisions, or better yet make them for McKenzie, there is more than enough of Al’s influence still hanging around the organization to help get this franchise back where it belongs – atop the NFL.