Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, who spent six decades in professional football, died on Saturday. He was 82.
In large bold silver letters, the organization announced the death of their owner on its website. Davis’ name is spread across the top of the website, and below his name reads, “July 4, 1929 – October 8, 2011.”
The Raiders said the team will release a statement later in the day. No cause of death was mentioned.
Davis’ death comes at a time of optimism in Raider Nation. They are currently in second place in the AFC West, and have shown signs of breaking out of the malaise that surrounded the organization since they went to the Super Bowl in 2003.
“Based on personal achievement, team achievement and contributions to the game, no one has had a more profound and lasting impact on professional football,” reads Davis’ bio on the team website.
“Al Davis’s passion for football and his influence on the game were extraordinary,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement released by the league. “He defined the Raiders and contributed to pro football at every level. The respect he commanded was evident in the way that people listened carefully every time he spoke. He is a true legend of the game whose impact and legacy will forever be part of the NFL.”
During his 48-year run in Oakland, the Raiders won three Super Bowls, had 28 winning seasons, including 16 in a row from 1965 through 1980. The Raiders were over .500 in 34 of those seasons.
Over his 60 years in football: Davis was an assistant coach for the Chargers, head coach and general manager of the Raiders, commissioner of the AFL, and finally owner of the Raiders.
Condolences were pouring in from people in the sports and entertainment world on Twitter Saturday morning.
“Thoughts & prayers go out to the family & friends of #RaiderNation. Al Davis was a man who’s impact on the #NFL will never be forgotten,” said Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice.
Former Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders tweeted: “I grew up a Raiders fan. My deepest sympathies to the@raiders and Davis Family. Truly a sad day for football. RIP Al Davis.”
Known celebrity Raiders fan Snoop Dog tweeted: “Rest in Power to The Al Davis “win baby win” . U will be missed.”