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Al Davis was a successful, controversial figure in NFL

October 8, 2011 |  9:19 am

Al Davis, who died Saturday at 82, was a controversial figure in American sports who moved his team twice while creating one of the most successful franchises in football.

Davis passed away Saturday, according to the Oakland Raiders' website. A cause of death has not be released. A full statement is expected later in the day.

Davis went from assistant coach of the newly formed Los Angeles Chargers in the American Football League to become coach and general manager of the Oakland Raiders in 1963. That year he was selected as AFL coach of the year, according to the team's website.

At 36, he was made commissioner of the upstart American Football League in 1966, the year it merged with the National Football League.

PHOTOS: Al Davis | 1929-2011

He later rose to become principal owner of the Raiders. Under Davis, the  Raiders won Super Bowls XI, XV and XVIII.

Nine raider inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame asked Davis to make the speech introducing them, including John Madden, who coached the team to a Super Bowl XI victory in 1976 and later went on to a second career as football color commentator, according to the website. Davis was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992, with Madden presenting him for induction.

Davis engineered the team’s move to Los Angeles in 1982, then returned the team to Oakland in 1995.

He made the team’s motto “A Commitment to Excellence” and the team's silver and black came to represent a rebellious streak in the NFL.

The team was defeated handily by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in its last Super Bowl appearance in 2002.

In recent years, the team has struggled mightily, fielding mediocre teams, fueled by a series of controversial top draft picks.


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 -- Sam Quinones


Photo: Al Davis with John Madden in 1971. Credit: Associated Press