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One of the original AFL icons, Al Davis, died on Saturday. He was 82 years old.
Born in Brockton, Mass. in 1929, Davis grew up in Brooklyn. He was hired as coach and GM of the Raiders after the 1962 season at the age of 33. He coached for three years before becoming the AFL Commissioner in 1966. Four years later, he resigned as commissioner when he got word that the AFL and NFL would be merging. He was against the merger because he felt the AFL was superior, an attitude he carried with him to his grave.
He owned a piece of the Raiders beginning in 1970, and didn’t hold a majority stake until 2005, but throughout his years in Oakland and L.A., Davis staked his claim as one of the most involved owners in the NFL. He had hands in many of their memorable moves over the years, including hiring Jon Gruden, trading him (yes the coach) to the Buccaneers, signing Jerry Rice, trading for Randy Moss and of course trading Moss to the Patriots in 2007 for a fourth round pick.
In the end, Davis’s Raiders won three Super Bowls. He was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992.
The Patriots beat the Raiders last week, the last game Davis saw before his death.