Raiders Owner Mark Davis Proving Worth to the NFL


Being a ball boy should be an awesome job. Especially if you’re a teenager whose father just so happens to own the team. Of course that is unless your father is the late great Al Davis.

According to Scott Ostler of the SF Gate Chronicle, current Raiders owner Mark Davis was once fired by his father while working as a ball boy in his teen years. No special treatment for Al, do your job or get lost….even for Mark.

Mark Davis was a relative mystery for most Raiders fans through the years. For such a die-hard fan base who worshiped the late Al Davis, his son was barely an afterthought. But now here he is, nearly four years since the passing of his father Mark Davis is in charge of guiding these new Raiders back to relevance. And he is using a drastically different approach.

"“Whatever role Mark Davis takes, he will not be a clone of Al Davis. Mark will not be the West Coast version of Hank Steinbrenner.” Scott Ostler SF Gate Chronicle"

We all know the history of Al Davis and the battles with the NFL, especially with commissioner Pete Rozelle. NFL Films once named the feud as the number one feud in NFL history. As fans we have also witnessed an almost contrived media bias against the Raiders. Poking fun or bad mouthing the Raiders became epidemic in the last years of Al Davis’s reign. The NFL didn’t like the Raiders and the Raiders led by Al Davis didn’t like the NFL.

“The Autumn wind is a Raider”…..and with that wind comes change. The passing of Al Davis was a monumental shift in not only the balance of the Raider’s organization, but a possible shift in the NFL as well. After Al’s passing a league wide moment of silence was observed in his memory. After that silence was an undetermined future for the Raiders and its new owner Mark Davis.

Fast forwarding to 2015 and we see the emergence of a solid relationship forming between two unlikely partners.

The recent NFL’s owners meeting concluded with added clarity to the Los Angeles relocation talks. With that came an almost non-story that slipped under the radar. The NFL and Raiders could be partners in a relocation to LA. That’s right, the team that sued the NFL to move to LA, only to return back to Oakland, may now be working hand in hand with the NFL to be one of two teams in the LA market.

If Al Davis were alive, would this even be a possibility? I highly doubt it. I also highly doubted his son Mark Davis, could have made it this far either. The son of enemy #1 who offers no experience as an NFL owner and provides very little in liquid assets seems hardly the candidate for the NFL’s massive plans for a new football mecca in LA. Mark Davis had failure written all over him. From a funky haircut to a fledgling franchise, Mark was not an owner whom the NFL could trust nor believe in.

Yet in only a few years, that may have changed.

"“While Mark may never get out of the shadow of his father, he does have the opportunity to take this Raiders franchise to heights never before seen.”"

Bottom line is the NFL holds the keys to Los Angeles. This isn’t the ’80s, no owner is going to sue for the right to move to LA and win. The NFL has its stamp on the market and has big plans in order. It has been reported that in addition to being home to two NFL franchises, the Los Angeles site would become home to the NFL Network and possibly an NFL experience/theme park option. The NFL is thinking BIG. They also want guaranteed success in the second largest market in the US. The NFL wants a sure thing with competent owners who are in cooperation with the NFL, not opposed to its vision.

Mark Davis has groomed himself to be just that. Despite a few photos at the strip club and the local Hooters, Mark Davis as an NFL owner seems to be following the company line, which is in stark contrast to his father.

Competing Carson and Inglewood Stadium Proposals

An example, is Mark Davis’ recent strong remarks regarding the Greg Hardy situation. Davis took a moral stand and despite fan protest choose not to sign the talented yet troubled star. Mark and his GM Reggie McKenzie have accumulated a roster of model citizens and created distance from their criminal image of the past.

On the business side Mark Davis has shown a willingness to use every card he was dealt. The Oakland stadium situation is a murky one at best, and Mark has tried to gain as much leverage as possible. From San Antonio to LA, Mark has increased the likelihood of a new stadium deal for the Raiders ten fold. The announcement of the Carson proposed site and recent reports of Alameda County joining Oakland officials on the Coliseum Complex, show Mark Davis has turned nothing into something almost overnight.

If Mark Davis can pull off a stadium deal, whether in Oakland, LA or elsewhere, he would cement himself as a credible and highly competent NFL owner. Mark’s ability to work with the league and find a viable and financially beneficial stadium option could elevate his standing with the NFL to a level his father never enjoyed or wanted. While Mark may never get out of the shadow of his father, he does have the opportunity to take this Raiders franchise to heights never before seen. Not just winning football games and a super bowl, but evolving into one of the most profitable and successful sports franchises in the world. Truly embracing the world-wide fan base of the Raiders and its iconic image.

Marks ability to build a relationship with the NFL and breath new life into the Raiders will set him up for continued success in a league that outgrew his predecessor.