Oakland Raiders coach Al Davis on the sidelines during a game against Buffalo Bills, in Oakland, Sept. 15, 1963. Davis, the Hall of Fame owner of the Oakland Raiders known for his rebellious spirit, has died. The team announced his death at age 82 on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011.
A graduate of Syracuse University, Davis became an assistant coach with the Baltimore Colts at age 24; and was an assistant at The Citadel and then Southern California before joining the Los Angeles Chargers of the new AFL in 1960. Only three years later, he was hired by the Raiders and became the youngest general manager-head coach in pro football history with a team he called "the Raid-uhs" in 1963.
Credit: Getty Images/Sports Illustrated/Curt Gunther
In this Dec. 18, 1963 file photo, Al Davis, center, head coach of the American Football League's Oakland Raiders, talks with players at the team's home practice field in Oakland, Calif.
Elected in 1992 to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Davis was a trailblazer. He hired the first black head coach of the modern era (Art Shell, in 1988); he hired the first Latino coach (Tom Flores);
and the first woman CEO (Amy Trask). And he was infallibly loyal to his players and officials: to be a Raider was to be a Raider for life.
Credit: AP Photo/Robert Klein
Oakland Raiders coach John Madden, left, talks as team owner Al Davis holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the Raiders' 32-14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI, in Pasadena, Calif., Jan. 9, 1977.
Until the decline of the Raiders in the first decade of the 21st century, Davis was a winner, the man who as a coach, then owner-general manager-de facto coach, established what he called "the team of the decades" based on another slogan: "commitment to excellence."
And the Raiders were excellent - winning three Super Bowls during the 1970s and 1980s and contending almost every other season - an organization filled with castoffs and troublemakers who turned into trouble for opponents.
Credit: AP Photo
Oakland Raiders managing general partner Al Davis, center, grins broadly as the Raiders moved toward a win in the Super Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 25, 1981.
Credit: AP Photo
Los Angeles Raiders owner Al Davis walks on the field during a game against the Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium on Dec. 8, 1985 in Denver, Colorado. The Raiders won in overtime 17-14.
Credit: Getty Images/George Rose
Los Angeles Raiders Managing General Partner Al Davis discusses the agreement he has signed with the city of Irwindale, Calif., during a news conference in El Segundo, Calif., Aug. 22, 1987.
Credit: AP Photo/Bob Galbraith
Raiders owner Al Davis watches Los Angeles Raiders practice before an exhibition game against the Houston Oilers, at the Oakland Coliseum on Saturday, Aug. 26, 1989.
Davis was one of the most important figures in NFL history. His rebellious nature was evident during the 1980s when he went to court (and won) for the right to move his team from
Oakland to Los Angeles - and more so in the 1990s, when when he moved the Raiders BACK to the Bay Area in 1995, and sued for $1.2 billion to establish that he still owned the rights to the L.A. market.
Credit: AP Photo/Scott Anger
Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis gives a thumbs-up to fans prior to the game with the Kansas City Chiefs, in Oakland, Calif, Dec. 26, 1998.
Credit: AP Photo/Paul Sakuma
Broadcaster and former coach of the Oakland Raiders John Madden, left, gestures in front of a portrait of him after being introduced by Raiders owner Al Davis during his induction at the Class of 2006 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony, at Fawcett Stadium, August 5, 2006, in Canton, Ohio.
Credit: Getty Images/Doug Benc
This Jan. 18, 2011 file photo shows new Oakland Raiders head coach Hue Jackson, left, with Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis at a news conference at the Raiders' headquarters in Alameda, Calif.
Once a constant presence at practice, training camp and in the locker room, Davis was rarely seen in public beyond the bizarre spectacles to fire and hire coaches where he spent more time disparaging his former coach than praising his new one. He did not appear at a single training camp practice this summer and missed a game in Buffalo last month, believed to be only the third game he missed in 49 seasons with the franchise. Davis did Attend Oakland's home game last week against New England.
Although he was no longer as public a figure, he was still integrally involved in the team from the draft to negotiating contracts to discussing strategy with his coaches.
"Al was a football man - his entire life revolved around the game he loved," said Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams.
Credit: AP Photo/Paul Sakuma