Nine days ago, Raiders legendary owner Al Davis would’ve celebrated his eighty-eight birthday. Although Davis passed away six years ago, his imprint on this team remains. Mark consulted Ron Wolf and John Madden regarding football matters. As a result, Reggie McKenzie landed the job. From there, the franchise slowly pulled itself from the abyss. Before my softball game last night, I encountered Raiders fan. We discussed a litany of topics. Consequently, I wondered how Al would think.
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Like the proverbial elephant in the room, brain injury affects every team in the NFL. Therefore, this awful disease affects the Raiders. When Al was alive, the issue did not gather as much momentum as in recent years. Yet, I believe Al would have done what he could for his affected players. His quote of “Once a Raider, Always a Raider” gives proof. Davis treated his players like family. When they were struggling, stories abound of Al Davis footing the bill for former players. Meanwhile, the NFL continues to minimize the epidemic.
The Rooney Rule:
In recent years, the NFL adopted a rule that the process of hiring head coaching candidates interview a minority candidate. First, the rule needs to be renamed the Davis Rule, since Al broke down color barriers in football before most. Davis focused on talent rather than pigmentation. In his own words Davis said” The Raiders have never been interested in a man’s color, on his ability” In a world that continues to fracture along racial lines, Davis cared about winning. Above race, gender, creed, Davis employed people that he believed in. From Amy Trask to Art Shell, the only colors that matters were Silver and Black.
The Current Team:
With a dominating offensive line and a quarterback unafraid to get occasionally vertical, this team would suit Al. For example, Mike Tice’s tough, hard-nosed approach would fit into the Raiders mold. In addition, Khalil Mack exemplifies the type of pass rusher Davis loved: agile, strong and versatile.
As mentioned, Al Davis is not present for the renaissance of his beloved Raiders, On the other hand, he’d love the fact his team is a Super Bowl contender. Granted, Al Davis did not adjust well to the times. As a result, the team suffered. Yet, he saw players more than disposable commodities. They were members of the Raiders family. Before you click out of this page, look at the picture. That is what Al wanted. In return, this remains the Raiders destiny.