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Can you believe it has already been a full year since the passing of the great Al Davis? So much has changed in the past year that it should feel like it was a long time ago but for some reason it just doesn't. It feels like it was just last month that we were mourning his death when in reality he passed away on October 8th 2011. On this day we remember him and thank him for all he did.
It is important for the Raider Nation to always remember the greatness of Al Davis. That is something that is much harder for the younger generations of Raider fans than it is for the older generation but we all should take a moment to remember him today. Al Davis was an innovator, a major civil rights activist, and the very reason that the Raiders are the team that they are today, both good and bad.
If there was a milestone happening in the NFL, Al Davis usually had a hand in it. From hiring the first Black and Latin American head coaches in Art Shell and Tom Flores, to the first woman executive in the lovely Amy Trask, all the way to the very merger that created today's NFL two conference format. It all happened because of Al Davis and we thank him for every moment of greatness in Raiders history.
He was a hard, stubborn man to work for, but if he loved you then you knew it. If he disliked you then you knew that too. He is the epitome of Head Honcho and not a thing happened with the Raiders organization during his ownership in which he wasn't involved. He made some people curse the very ground he walked on while others would have done anything in the world for the man. He made others bend to his will.
Of course that was not always the best for the Raiders but damn it he was the Raiders so that was his right. He made mistakes along the way, as everybody else who ever walked this earth has also done. The fact is the Raiders have 3 Super Bowl wins because of him and were able to make it to two others. He hired the people he felt best suited his organization, and he fired them as soon as he felt that wasn't true anymore.
He is the reason the Raider Nation is so strong, because we modeled our fanhood after him. We will not accept losing because he did not accept losing. We want immediately action or we want someone's head for the inaction. That is classic Al Davis. We are who we are as fans today because he was who he was as a man.
This year has gone by and the Raiders are changing. There are times when the fans feel like things should have changed years ago and there are times where we feel like things shouldn't be changing so much in general. The thing we all have to remember is that Al Davis was one of a kind. There will never be another man like him and there can never be another person that runs the Raiders as he did because of that.
We are now moving on from the Al Davis era and it has been hard going. While a great many things being must change, there are still other things that must never change. Beyond all else what must not change is the passion which the Raiders exude from being Al's creation. Nobody cared more than Al did about his football team and the fans that were created from that passion hold true.
Keep that passion above all else because that is the perfect way to honor the great Mr. Davis. He would want us to continue to defy the world and be ourselves no matter the pressure to change. We will not fold and give in to that pressure because Al Davis never did. His spirit is inside each and every member of Raider Nation.
That is the legacy Al Davis leaves within each one of us. As long as our passion continues to burn, the memory of Al Davis will never die or fade. We are the Silver and Black and we honor Al Davis for everything he was. Rest in peace, Mr. Davis. The greatness of the Raiders is in their future and the memory of you will always be there too.