Saturday, October 08, 2011

They Were Their Own Genius

Rough week for the Bay Area as two legends passed. First being Steve Jobs and today Al Davis. (Remember Al's career through the WashPo's lengthy story/obit)

Um. Al Davis and Steve Jobs in the same reference?

Yes, if anyone embodied the "think different" mantra of Jobs in the world of professional sports, it was Davis. One could argue as to whether his radical moves were the best for everyone at times -- the Oakland to Los Angeles to Oakland Raiders -- and the way the franchise went into a bit of decline in his dotage.

Don't forget, present-focused people, Al Davis was the commissioner of the AFL before the merger. Davis forced many of the advances in the league with his rebel attitude. And before Jobs thumbed his nose at corporate attire, it was Al in the turtleneck (no mock turtles in the 1960s).

Just Win Baby was his motto, the precursor to another business icon's way (hello, Phil Knight).

Davis hired the first black, the first Latino, the first female CEO in the NFL. His franchise was the anti-NFL at times, but they were the few and the proud -- and like the Marines, you were a Raider for life. Darren McFadden, native Arkansan, is the face of that franchise now at tailback and with his 501 tats loyal to his home town yet full of 'tude, perhaps the past and future of the Raiders in one package.

Maybe, just maybe, what the world need now is a little less together and a little more Al.

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