Daily Archives: October 8, 2011

Doin Tributes: Al Davis

AL DAVIS MADE ME A RAIDERS FAN. Unlike Chappy, who’s been a lifelong Raiders fan, I grew up a San Francisco 49ers fan. Although our family roots are in Oakland, the Raiders moved to Los Angeles the year I was born, so the 49ers were my home team. Even when the Raiders moved back to the Bay Area in the mid-90s, I was still loyal to the Niners. It was somewhere around 1999 or 2000 that I got fed up. The York family seemed poised to run the franchise into the ground, and meanwhile, across the Bay, the Raiders were trying everything they could to build a winner. Now, anyone who knows me knows I’m far from a fairweather fan. But when a front office isn’t even concerned with the team on the field, and is more focused on the financial side of things, it gets a little frustrating. Being a Northern California sports fan means rarely landing that coveted free agent. They usually go somewhere else with more money. But Al Davis made the Raiders the exception. Perhaps they were often castoffs from other teams, but Al Davis went out and got big time football players for one reason, to just win baby. He was bringing in guys like Warren Sapp and Randy Moss. (Yes, I know they didn’t really work out). He’s faced more criticism than few other sports owners have, and has come under a lot of fire lately due to a string of coaching changes. To me, though, I saw an owner who cared enough to make a move when it needed to be made. As the primary face of the Raiders over the years, he probably had more hatersĀ out there than any owner, most of whom people didn’t even know existed. It was impossible to not know who Al Davis was. Especially now that he’s passed, we all know he hired the first black head coach, the first latino head coach, and the first woman CEO in sports. It was his commitment to winning though (I wouldn’t call it ‘excellence’), that made me a fan. Owners who care about winning more than the bottom line are becoming few and far between. His brash style alienated many, and I wouldn’t even say I was a fan of Al Davis. But, Al Davis made things happen. Al Davis MADE me a Raiders fan.