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Al Davis Passes Away: Raiders Owner Was Revolutionary Thinker In Front Office

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.