Skip to main content

Pro football legend Al Davis dies at 82

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 2:04 PM EDT, Sat October 8, 2011
Al Davis was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 1992.
Al Davis was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 1992.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Al Davis was "a true legend," NFL commissioner says
  • Al Davis was the owner of the Oakland Raiders
  • He had a six-decade career in professional football
  • The cause of death was not immediately known

(CNN) -- Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, who had a storied career in professional football as a coach, commissioner and owner, died Saturday, the team said. He was 82.

In a brief post on their website, the Raiders said a statement would be issued later in the day.

The cause of death was not immediately released.

Much of Davis' career was spent in Oakland, where he first arrived as a coach in 1963 -- tasked with turning around a team that was picked to be at the bottom of the standings. The results were almost immediate, finishing 10-4 that season, and Davis was selected as coach of the year.

At 33, he was both the coach and general manager of the Raiders, the website said, making him the youngest person to hold that dual position.

His career started in 1950 as a line coach at Adelphi College in New York, the Raiders website said.

He also coached at The Citadel, Southern California and for the then-Los Angeles Chargers before going to the Raiders.

According to the Raiders website, by the time he arrived in Oakland, Davis had already been labeled a "young coaching genius" by Sports Illustrated.

As commissioner of the American Football League in 1966, he played a role in the merger of that league with the National Football League.

Davis' story, the Raiders website said, "is a standard that no one in the history of professional football can match for winning and excellence."

He was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 1992.

"Al Davis's passion for football and his influence on the game were extraordinary," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said on his Twitter account. "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."

New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson also shared his sympathy on the news of Davis' death.

"Al Davis was one of the most innovative and dynamic pioneers in the history of the National Football League. He was passionate about his team and about the game of professional football and he personified the legacy of the Raiders," he said.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT