The Oakland Raiders long time owner, Al Davis, who was a renegade, a rebel, an entrepreneur, a visionary, a real son of a bitch and an angel passed away on October 8 2011.
His entire life was football, a subject that he excelled at which could only be described by his pursuit of perfection which was punctuated with his patented quotes of: "Just win baby" and "A Commitment to excellence".
He was instrumental in creating the American Football League (AFL), which at the time according to skeptics and any sane person, had no chance of competing with the incumbent and ruling National Football League (NFL). And yet, after a third try at world dominance, it was Al Davis's league that would hold high professional football's greatest prize, the Lombardi Trophy.
This accomplishment gave credence to Al Davis and all members of the AFL that they were on par with the NFL which forced, what everyone from the AFL wanted, which was a merger. Better yet, he actually was the main person to force the NFL to accept all AFL statistics that occurred from the AFL's inception.
We can name a whole slew of these players, but the biggest stars from the AFL were Joe Namath and Lance Alworth a.k.a. Bambi.
Where the fictional character Victor Frankenstein failed to create the perfect human from perfect parts, Al Davis succeeded in creating a perfect team made of imperfect parts. Pieces of humanity that were made from castaways, renegades and players that did not fit in any other team's schemes.
He had players that had nick names such as "The assassin", "The mad bomber", "The Mad Stork" and the "Snake" to name a few. Just exactly who was the "Mad Man" behind this?
You go figure.
His teams of "imperfects" would win him three Lombardi Trophies.
Unfortunately it seemed that his time spent in the brown of the court house, overshadowed the black and silver of the grid iron.
While Al Davis reveled in the fact his adversaries hated him, outside of football, he was a very generous man.
We may never see such a colorful, charismatic and controversial man like Al Davis again which would really be a shame.
Someone should step forward and bare the torch.