October 2011 will be remembered for the end of an era for the Oakland Raiders, as team owner Al Davis died October 8th, 2011 at the age of 82. NFL owners even gave the outspoken owner and football fan a moment of silence. It will certainly be hard to forget Davis, a man who actually tried to sue the NFL, the same league and sport that made him a fortune and a football legend.
Unlike many other wealthy suits that simply watched football and managed oil companies, Davis lived football, immediately pursuing a career as a line coach at Adelphi College in the 1950s. He went on to coach the Raiders in the 1960s, and eventually became the AFL commissioner and the Raiders principal team owner. At his death, he officially owned 67 percent of the team.
Upon his death, many Oakland fans are wondering just what will become of his legacy–the Oakland Raiders? The Raiders have long had a reputation of mystery, a brand quality that David himself helped to build. Officially, Davis’ wife and child will inherit the principal rights to the team. Perhaps it was no coincidence that his son Mark Davis was seen inside the owners box during the last game featuring the Raiders against the Texans. Mark watched as Oakland continued to demonstrate great potential, this time beating the Texans 25-20.
While the Raiders haven’t exactly dominated their competition, their win loss record is at least respectable this early in the season. They defeated the Denver Broncos at their season debut, but lost to the Bills a week later. Their biggest victory was against the New York Jets, which quickly amassed a status of “the team to beat” after defeating Dallas earlier in September. They lost against the Patriots a week later, but then finished their five week schedule by defeating the Texans.
Now Mark stands to inherit a good team, as he embraces the role of managing general partner, though Amy Trask will continue to make many of the Raiders’ business decisions. Many followers are entertaining the idea of relocating the Raiders to Los Angeles and perhaps a big new stadium–a lucrative business opportunity that Mark Davis also has to entertain.
Furthermore, Mark and company also have to figure out how to restructure the team, as Davis was actively involved in making important decisions about personnel and coaches. For years, insiders have been saying that Oakland was crumbling in terms of scouting and that Davis was not exactly opened to discussion on radical new changes.
There it stands. A new era is upon us. Is this going to be a new beginning for the Raiders?