Al Davis is old.
That much is plainly evident when we listen to him talk, look at him, or watch him try to move his body.
Poking fun at Davis has now become akin to searching for that elusive trophy trout at a fish farm. It’s irresistible because it’s so easy. Between the odd hidden incentives in his contracts that force his All-Pro players into free agency early, and his routine firing of coaches even if they led his franchise to its best finish in eight years, crazy Al his given us plenty of comedic fodder.
While others his age often have their car keys taken away because they keep backing over the garden while exiting the driveway, Davis still holds the keys to an NFL franchise. He turned 82 years young(?) today, and he doesn’t look a day over 96.
So let’s take a moment to look back on a few of the best Davis moments. Some are recent, and others are taken from a time when Davis’ hair actually flowed freely, and there’s a good blend of both obscure moments and vintage snapshots of Davis being Davis.
The List: Crazy Al at his best
5. Davis saying something about winning, and using the word “baby”
We begin with the only way an Al Davis video tribute can begin. In a clip from yesteryear, Davis uses his now infamous catch phrase that once actually meant something, and wasn’t just said with a mocking tone.
4. Watch that salty tongue, old man
Davis long ago passed the point where he feels the need to guard his language in the presence of certain company. Anyone of prominence and relative lucidity knows the media is that certain company which requires a filter, and that the new-fangled modern technology of microphones can pick up even the smallest sound.
Davis knows these things, but he just doesn’t care anymore. And that’s why we love him.
3. The passion of the Davis
Davis’ pre-game pep talk last November is hindered by the public address system outside of the Raiders’ home field, and the quality of a cell phone video (that damn new-fangled technology again).
But what we can hear from Davis shows that even though his decision-making skills and common sense may be declining as his age advances towards the century mark, his passion certainly isn’t.
2. The Raiders will make no further commitments
In a wide-ranging four-minute interview with a young James Brown at the beginning of preseason play prior to the 1990 season, an almost disturbingly youthful Davis pleads the fifth when asked where the Raiders will be playing football that season. With the team then located in Los Angeles, Davis had been negotiating with the City of Oakland to bring the team back to its roots since January of 1989, a move he eventually completed in 1995.
But that legal gibberish isn’t important now. What you should really be focused on is Davis’ hair. That man could have been football’s Hugh Hefner had the team stayed in L.A., making middle-aged women everywhere swoon at the sight of his wispy locks.
1. Al picked the wrong guy
Davis’ handling of Lane Kiffin during his brief and tumultuous stint in Raider land was both comical and depressing, the latter only applying to those who put themselves through the pain of supporting the silver-and-black.
There are far too many juicy Davis quotes from this press conference to list. But a few of my favourites are when Davis has no idea how many coaches he actually employs, and when he says that JaMarcus Russell has “proved a lot of people wrong.”