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."