Al Davis dead at age 82

The Oakland Raiders announced that Al Davis died in his home. He was 82 years old.

Davis was one of the true icons of professional football. For years the Oakland Raiders were one of the perennial powers in the old AFL and then the National Football League. The Al Davis Raiders won three Super Bowls, and the team always carried the image of its brash owner. The “Silver and Black” were always one of the more intimidating teams in the NFL. They talked a good game and they could back it up. Davis was known for his “Just Win Baby” attitude, and he loved speed and power football. With quarterbacks like Kenny Stabler and Jim Plunkett, Davis loved to throw the ball downfield.

Al Davis was his own man, and he had his own epic battles with the NFL and later with his own coaches. As the years went on, however, Davis continued to have a hands-on approach to the Raiders, but his obsession with old formulas led to botched draft choices and toxic relationships with his coaches. he let Jon Gruden go, only to watch Gruden lead Tampa Bay to a victory over the Raiders in the Super Bowl the next season. That seemed to start a downward spiral, and the Raiders never really recovered.

In recent years it became apparent that Al Davis had lost it as an elite owner as the Raiders became one of the worst teams in the league. Their consistent “Commitment to Excellence” was replaced by consistent ineptitude.

Yet that doesn’t take away from Davis’ accomplishments. The man is a true legend, and he will be missed.

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Arena League folding

According to a report by, the Arena League will cease operations soon and will announce that it’s folding.

A telltale sign of trouble for the league came in July 2008, when David Baker stepped down as AFL commissioner, and the owners did not bring in a replacement.

The New Orleans VooDoo folded in October 2008, and the Los Angeles Avengers ceased operations this past April, leaving the league with 15 teams.

That’s too bad, because there are a lot of good football players in this country who don’t stick in the NFL and even more who never make it in the first place. I’ve only been to one Arena game in my life and while it didn’t get me intrigued enough to follow the league, it held my interest for the two and a half hours I was at the stadium.

The United Football League should take note of this. The AFL never tried to compete with the NFL, but it still couldn’t garner enough interest from the public in the end. I highly doubt that UFL will either – especially not in a bad economy.

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