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Iconic Raiders owner Al Davis passed away a few short weeks ago at the age of 82. The Associated Press and TMZ were able to track down his death certificate and find his cause of death. Here is the report:
"The cause of former Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis' death has been determined to have been heart failure.
The death certificate issued by Alameda County says Davis died at age 82 at 2:45 a.m. on Oct. 8 from an abnormal heart rhythm, congestive heart failure and a heart muscle disease.
He died at the Oakland Airport Hilton, where he lived during much of the football season.
According to the certificate, Davis also had a form of skin cancer and had undergone throat surgery three days before his death. He also underwent heart surgery in 1996."
Even after he left us, Al's impact is felt throughout the league on a weekly basis. What he did for the National Football League will never be forgotten.
For more on the Raiders, check out Silver and Black Pride.
As expected, it was a very emotional homecoming for the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. Returning to the Coliseum for the first time since the passing of Al Davis, the Raiders organization and their fans paid tribute to their patriarch both on the field and off.
A sea of black and silver cheered their hearts out as the Raiders defeated the Cleveland Browns 24-17, and there were multiple tributes to Davis throughout the day. CBS showcased a lovely tribute video to the late football pioneer during the broadcast, and tribute videos were presented to the live audience as well. The Raiders had simple yet striking "AL" stickers firmly affixed to their helmets. Ice Cube and MC Hammer were in attendance, decked out in the appropriate attire. A moment of silence followed the national anthem.
The halftime show was also all about Al. Members of the Oakland Raiders "Ring of Honor" stood at midfield around the Raiders crest while John Madden ignited a flame on the plaza level of the stadium. According to Oakland's public address announcer, this fixture will be an eternal flame in memory of Davis.
From top to bottom, the Raiders organization did right by their former boss, and perhaps the Raiders themselves provided Davis with the honor he would have liked best of all.
They just won.
John Madden spoke recently with on XX Sports Sports Radio in San Diego on the passing of Al Davis.
"I was in shock," Madden said. "I had been with Al Davis since I left San Diego State, as a matter of fact, in the 1960s. I'd been with him directly or indirectly all those years, for six decades. He was a bigger part of my life than anybody outside of family and my best friend...It's Al Davis. Al Davis doesn't die."
Davis gave Madden his first NFL opportunity and made him the youngest coach in league history when he promoted him from linebackers coach in 1969 at the age of 32. Madden rewarded Davis with a title in 1976.
The news of Davis' death is still sinking in for Madden. His usual phone conversations with Davis on football and life had become so routine that when he didn't talk to him Friday, that wasn't sign that his friend would be gone soon.
"That's why I was in such shock," Madden said, "because I called him on Friday night. I didn't talk to him but I called him, and that was just before he died. And that's the shock of the whole thing. You know that he's not doing well but he's still Al Davis. He's just not going to die, he's always going to be there and always be the Raiders. Part of you knows better than that but there's part of you that really thinks so."
The Raider Nation mourned together this weekend after the passing of Al Davis early Saturday morning. It started on Saturday as sports networks around the country paid tribute to one of the most influential men in the history of professional football. During most of these tributes, tickers at the bottom of the screen showed the love being poured out by the Raider Nation for Mr. Davis via Twitter.
On Sunday, the Nation continued the celebration of Mr. Davis as they came together across the country to do what Mr. Davis did every Sunday for years, watch the Silver and Black play football the Al Davis way. The Oakland Raiders traveled to face a very good Houston Texans team on Sunday, in a game that no one expected the Raiders to win.
After being blown out by the New England Patriots at home just one week earlier, most believed that the Raiders would not be able to bounce back on the road against such a good team. At first, it looked as though the talking heads were right. The Raiders offense looked terrible as it failed to get a first down until the very end of the second quarter. Then, something changed at half time.
Whether you believe Mr. Davis played a role in it or not, the Raiders players certainly felt a change and came out in the second half with a passion and determination not seen yet this season. The defense stepped up to the plate and continuously harassed Matt Schaub throughout the second half. The coaching staff stepped up making gutsy calls like the fake punt in the fourth quarter. And the offense stepped up, taking and increasing their lead over the Texans.
At the end of the day, as the dust settled, one of Al Davis' draft picks, Michael Huff, stood in the endzone with the ball in his hands as the Raiders celebrated a big and very emotional win.
To thank the players for playing their hearts out, and to show respect for the man who is responsible for making the Raiders what they are today, nearly 500 fans showed up at the Raiders headquarters on Sunday night in order to welcome back the team.
Amy Trask joined the Raiders coaching staff and players who mingled with fans for half an hour and shared in the heart felt celebration. This time though, the Raiders were celebrating more than just a win, they were celebrating the legacy of Al Davis, a man that changed professional football in this country forever.
We miss you Al. Just Win Baby!
One of the trademarks of Al Davis's role as owner of the Oakland Raiders was being notoriously tight-lipped about the ownership structure of the team. Over the years there has been rampant speculation as to who may have had a controlling interest in the team. When Davis passed away on Saturday morning, there were multiple rumors that his wife, Carol, and son, Mark, would be looking to sell the team.
Vittorio Tafur reports via the San Francisco Chronicle that the Davis family controls the team and has no intent to sell. Raiders CEO Amy Trask confirmed that a succession plan is firmly in place. Mark Davis and head coach Hue Jackson will be in charge of day-to-day football operations for the Raiders going forward, although Mark may hire a general manager in the near future.
Tafur also mentions in his article a 2006 news conference where Davis discussed plans for the team following his death, at which he noted that John Madden may become involved with the team in some capacity.
"If something happened ... I'm sure (Madden) would be someone that Carol Davis and Mark Davis would call, along with several others who have been Raiders most of their lives and still have a tremendous loyalty to it," Davis said.
Many questions are still up in the air, and it remains to be seen how the team will operate in the months and years going forward, but it should be of comfort to Raiders fans that the team remains in the family that has provided one of the most consistent American sports ownerships of the last fifty years.
The Oakland Raiders family suffered heartbreak on Saturday as owner Al Davis passed away at the age of 82. While Davis was getting up there in age, many Raiders fans were still stunned by news of his death. Fans have been pouring into Raiders headquarters to leave flowers and condolences and will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Davis' death came the day before the Raiders are set to meet the Houston Texans in a key road game. While the fans and team continue to mourn the loss of Davis, they face a pivotal game if they want to stay in the playoff hunt. The Raiders are 2-2 but are looking like a contender in the AFC West. While they may not be in a must-win situation, a win over Houston would be huge for their playoff hopes.
The importance of the game was the primary story heading into this weekend. The death of Al Davis casts a cloud over the game and raises another issue entirely. How will the Raiders come out for this game? Will they show fire and emotion and "Win one for Al" ? Or could the emotion of Davis' death leave them relatively flat? I can't imagine this weekend's events not having some effect on the team, but it's just a question of how it affects them. The opening minutes of the game could tell us everything we need to know.
Al Davis never shied away from making bold moves as owner of the Oakland Raiders, especially when it came to hiring head coaches. In 1969, he chose John Madden, who at 32 became the youngest head coach in the NFL at the time. In 1998, Davis tabbed Jon Gruden, just 35-years-old to lead the Raiders into a new era.
But Davis is not without his failures, which is certainly illustrated in recent Raiders history. You can place former Raiders Head Coach Lane Kiffin in that category, who became the youngest head coach in franchise history, beating Madden by a year at age 31.
Kiffin, now head coach at USC, butted heads with Davis in his short, but memorable-for-the-wrong-reasons tenure with the Raiders. Who can forget Davis' press conference in which he announced Kiffin's firing?
But despite their differences, Kiffin issued a sympathetic statement on Davis' passing earlier today. From the Los Angeles Times:
"I was very saddened this morning to learn of the passing of Al Davis," Kiffin said in a statement. "He was an iconic figure in the history of professional football and built a truly legendary franchise with the Raiders.
"I consider myself fortunate to have known him and to have been a part of that Raiders history. Even though our relationship did not end the way I would have liked, I have nothing but the greatest respect for Mr. Davis and I truly appreciate the opportunity he afforded me and so many young coaches, players and staff.
"My thoughts go out to his family and to the family and fans of the Raiders past and present."
The NFL Network has gone wall-to-wall today with its reporting of Al Davis' passing. They've featured interviews with a number of football luminaries, including Dallas Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones, and celebrity fans like rapper Ice Cube.
The coverage will continue into the evening with two special presentations on the Oakland Raiders and Davis. At 5:30 PM pst/8:30 PM est, NFL Network will air "Al Davis: #1 For All Time" - a one hour documentary produced by NFL Films on the late-Raiders owner. Then at 6:30 PM PST/9:30 PM EST, they will air highlights from Super Bowl XVIII between the Raiders and Washington Redskins, including this record-setting 74-yard-run by hall-of-fame running back Marcus Allen.
Not only was the victory in Super Bowl XVIII the Raiders third and last Super Bowl win, but it was also their only championship during their 12-year stint in Los Angeles.
NFL Network's Saturday Schedule
The death of Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis has shocked the sports world and has left lots of people reflecting on the legacy that he now leaves behind. Following are some quotes from management and coaching staff within the San Francisco 49ers organization.
49ers owner and co-chairman Denise DeBartolo York had this to say about Davis: "I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Al Davis. One of my fondest memories of Al is a dinner we shared many years ago. During that meal, he presented my father with a very special opportunity to purchase the San Francisco 49ers. In recent years, we were pleased to spend time with Al as our guest in the Owners' Suite at Candlestick Park while our two teams met on the field. Our sincerest condolences go out to his family and friends."
Fellow owner and co-chairman John York echoed similar sentiments: "The Bay Area and NFL communities have lost a true pioneer in Al Davis. The significant contributions that he made to the game of football at every level spoke volumes about his commitment to excellence. We enjoyed working with Al at the league level on the development and growth of our game, and at the team level we appreciated the competition between the 49ers and his Raiders. Al Davis commanded great respect from those he worked alongside and all he competed against."
Davis played a critical role in helping the York family purchase the 49ers organization, and he will be remembered for his contributions to the Bay Area at large. He added several dimensions to the 49ers-Raiders rivalry and gained the respect of players and personnel involved on both sides.
49ers general manager Trent Baalke praised the contributions that Davis has made to football: "Anybody who enjoys the game of football owes a tip of the cap to Al Davis. The numerous contributions that Mr. Davis made to the development and growth of the NFL played an integral role in making the game as great as it is today. Although this is a very sad day in the NFL and the Bay Area, it is a great time to reflect on what Mr. Davis has meant to this sport as well as our community."
Davis, who has been active with the Raiders for 38 years, became a central character and notable figure in the NFL landscape. As Baalke stated, his contributions to the game that spanned almost four decades will leave a mark on today's game for a long time.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh summed things up nicely with his statement: "Mr. Davis is a titan and pillar of the game. I had the pleasure and honor to know him and to work for him. And to me, he is the greatest. The autumn wind will always be a Raider."
Davis gave a lot to Bay Area football, and he did so while earning the respect of those that he worked with. His most impressive feature might not be his impact on the game by itself, but rather the way he got there and the many people he won over. Davis may be gone, but he will certainly not be forgotten by the many people he touched and for the things he gave to the NFL.
Al Davis and the Raiders left an indelible mark not just on football, but on pop culture as well. Nowhere else was their influence seen more than through west coast rap super-group NWA, who proudly sported the silver and black in music videos and appearances in the late eighties and early nineties.
"The Raiders were a rowdy bunch way before NWA," rapper and former member Ice Cube said this morning in a phone interview with the NFL Network. "You know, what they showed to us was that you can be yourself and you can still win. You don't have to conform always to the mainstream or to the status quo. You can come out be yourself, own it and you can win."
Cube, born O'Shea Jackson, was also asked what Davis thought of NWA's wearing of Raiders' merchandise in their prime. He said he thinks Davis "loved it."
"I'm pretty sure his bank account loved it," Cube said with a laugh. "We were great fans and we wore the logo well and the Raiders were winning on the field, and (it was) a beautiful thing. I think to this day we all benefitted a lot off of each other when it comes to that Raiders' image."
Cube produced a documentary for ESPN's 30-for-30 series released last year titled "Straight Outta LA". He said Davis warmly welcomed him into Raiders headquarters for an interview to discuss the franchise's rich history.
"I remember him inviting me and my wife into his office," said Cube, said Cube, who was the last person to interview Davis according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. "Showing us all his mementos, all the things from the sixties and when he started the Raiders. And he had everything laid out."
The Los Angeles rapper also acknowledged how Davis changed the game and broke down barriers for minorities in the sport.
"He taught the NFL how to be color blind when it comes to the sidelines," Cube said, referencing Al Davis' hiring of Tom Flores, the NFL's first Hispanic head coach, and Art Shell, its first African-American head coach.
"For the most part, he's always been a player's owner and a guy who's really just all about football," he added.
With the city of Los Angeles planning to build a new stadium to bring back the NFL, Cube would gladly welcome back the team that left after the 1994 season.
"Al always wanted a new stadium," Cube said. "It's a shame that he never got it. But we'd love to have the Raiders back."
"The Oakland Raiders are deeply saddened by the passing of Al Davis.
Al Davis was unique - a maverick, a giant among giants, a true legend among legends, the brightest star among stars, a hero, a mentor, a friend.
Al Davis was the only person in professional football history to have been a scout, assistant coach, head coach, general manager, commissioner and owner.
He was an innovator, a pioneer with a deep love and passion for the game of football. His contributions to the game are innumerable and his legacy will endure forever through generations of players, coaches, administrators and fans.
Al Davis was a champion of diversity who maintained the courage of his convictions. His passion for the game we all love is best exemplified by his famous phrase, "COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE."
The fire that burns brightest in the Raider organization, "THE WILL TO WIN," will continue to blaze through the legacy of the great Al Davis."
Rest in peace, Al Davis. You will be missed my many across the league and truly changed the game of football. For that, as a football fan, I thank you.
Al Davis helped change the way the sport of football is played, was a leader in diversity and helped create one of the most emblematic franchises in the NFL. For that, he should be remembered as one of the most influential men in football history.
Al Davis' passing has rocked the NFL world this morning. Current Oakland Raiders learned of the news after a team meeting this morning in their Houston hotel, as they prepare to play the Texans tomorrow. Jason La Canfora of NFL Network broke the details after speaking to some members of the Raiders organization.
(Head Coach Hue) Jackson gathered the entire team following a special-teams meeting that took place at 9:30 a.m. CT.
"Coach was very emotional," one player said. "He was really, really close with Mr. Davis. It's really tough right now for the entire Raider organization."
Several players choked up when they heard the news. Even though Davis' health was declining, the news surprised them. Davis had "an open-door policy" with players, they said, and many had regular conversations with the owner.
"We had his number, and he was always willing to talk to us about whatever was on your mind," one player told me.
Tributes and acknowledgements are trickling in from current Raider players since through Twitter.
Raiders defensive tackle Lamarr Houston
Raiders linebacker Jarvis Moss
Raiders tight end Kevin Brock
Raiders running back Michael Bush
Raiders running back Rock Cartwright
Raiders cornerback Stanford Routt
Raiders cornerback Chimdi Chekwa
Raiders cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke
Raiders fullback Marcel Reece
Raiders wide receiver Louis Murphy
Raiders safety Mike Mitchell
Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor
Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey
Raiders tight end Kevin Boss
Raiders safety Tyvon Branch
Raiders defensive end Kamerion Wimbley
Raiders running back Darren McFadden
Raiders wide receiver Nick Miller
Al Davis has been around the game of football and the National Football League for a long time. He started as a player at Syracuse before eventually moving into coaching, where we became head coach of the Oakland Raiders. After a decade of work on the sidelines, Davis become the primary owner of the franchise and has overseen operations since the 1970's.
While Davis' resumé speaks for itself, one of the more fascinating areas of his career was the coaches he either oversaw or employed in Oakland. Among those coaches: John Madden, Art Shell, Bill Walsh, Tom Flores and Jim Harbaugh, just to name a few.
As for Shell, who was the first African-American head coach in the modern era, and Tom Flores, who was the first Hispanic head coach in the league, both have always praised and respected Davis for everything he did for them. In addition, legendary head coach Bill Walsh, who is widely-known as the man who popularized the West Coast Offense, has publicly credited the Raiders owner for being his biggest influence throughout his career.
And then there's Jim Harbaugh, who has a ton of ties to the Bay Area at such a young age. He was employed by Davis as an assistant coach in 2002-2003 before eventually moving onto the University of Stanford. He is now the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Needless to say, Davis always had an incredible eye for coaching talent and brought many coaches through the franchise that would go onto great things.
Al Davis was never a conventional thinker. Whether it be during his coaching days with Oakland or his time spent as the Raiders owner, Davis always had a special outlook on how aspects of his franchise should be run.
One of Al's biggest and most influential philosophies was his commitment to diversity throughout the organization. As Pro Football Talk explains, Davis was a man not afraid of change:
In 1989, Davis hired Art Shell to coach the Raiders. The move made Shell only the second African-American head coach in pro football, and the first in the modern era of the sport. A decade before that, Davis hired Tom Flores, the first Hispanic coach in NFL history.
Perhaps almost as significantly, Davis installed - in a sport dominated by men - Amy Trask into the role of Chief Executive Officer.
Where would the NFL be today without Davis and his ability to adjust to the changing times in this country? With there being numerous African-American head coaches in the league today, all of these men were likely influenced greatly by Shell, who would have never received his chance if it were not for Davis and the Raiders.
In addition, Tom Flores' presence was felt around the league and has opened the door for those such as Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, among other assistants around the league.
Finally, the hiring of Amy Trask was basically unheard-of at the time. The National Football League was run by men and men only, but Davis had the insight to bring a woman's presence into the organization. Now, women are employed throughout the league and diversity in the workplace is as high as it has ever been. Davis had a huge role in that, and should be remembered for it.
After receiving word of the tragic passing of legendary Raiders icon Al Davis, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement on his death. NFL Communications has the official release:
"Al Davis's passion for football and his influence on the game were extraordinary. He defined the Raiders and contributed to pro football at every level. The respect he commanded was evident in the way that people listened carefully every time he spoke. He is a true legend of the game whose impact and legacy will forever be part of the NFL."
This is a sad day for the Raiders organization, its players, fans, and those all around the league who have seen Davis truly revolutionize the way some aspects of a franchise are run. Say what you may about his philosophies towards the end of his tenure in Oakland, the man is a legend and will be missed greatly.
There has been no official word on whether or not teams around the league will do anything to honor or remember Al on Sunday. Stay tuned for further details.
Al Davis, the longtime owner of the Oakland Raiders, has died at the age of 82, according to the team.
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