Saturday, October 8, 2011

I'm not in any way demeaning the unbeautiful women.

Tim Kawakami relays one of the greatest Al Davis quotes I've ever read: 

"I want to win. Obviously in life, I like certain things. I like beautiful women more than unbeautiful women. I'm not in any way demeaning the unbeautiful women."


Monte Poole:

Never was there a more iconic and enduring symbol of a business. Not Jack LaLanne, not Don King, not Miles Davis, not Oprah Winfrey, not Steve Jobs. Not George Halas or Bill Walsh or Bob Knight. Not even Davis' good friend, George Steinbrenner.
For Al not only represented his team but dressed the part. He wore his suits and sweatsuits like a shield, never deviating from black or white and silver — the colors of his team. It was a matter of mutual identity, Al and the Raiders, the Raiders and Al. He spoke as a Raider, gestured as a Raider and fought every battle with the ferocity of a Raider.

Someday (unless America becomes a dystopia), it will be hundreds of years old. Someday, it will be ancient. And when that moment is reached, the so-called “modern era” will be defined as starting today. It will begin with the death of Al Davis. He was the final survivor of pro football’s seminal period; he designed the way aggressive teams play, he was the heart of the AFL, and he was the last man to carry the total burden of a team for his entire adult life. He was the Raiders. That’s a cliché, but it’s absolutely true. There was no one else. In his final years, Davis looked strange. He looked like a skeleton. He looked a little like the logo on the Raiders' helmets (all he needed was the eye patch and the knife). He physically became what he emotionally was. And that will never happen again. From here on out, it’s just football.
Davis, who died Saturday, wasn't an only-in-America success story. He was an especially-in-America success story, with his abiding appreciation of hard work, wealth, confrontation and litigation. He loved victory, mystery and standing on the outside looking in.
He inspired awe, disdain, blind loyalty, blind rage, imitators, sycophants, friends and enemies. He was so much to so many for so long that he defies a complete and fitting eulogy.
He would have liked that.
Gwen Knapp:
Yet Saturday's news of his death at age 82 defied a persistent core belief: that somehow, Al Davis would outlive us all. He was too irascible, stubborn and confounding to yield his place on Earth.
One might even say that he was too mean to die, if we weren't forbidden to malign the recently departed, or if the statement were entirely true.
The taboo doesn't matter here. Davis stomped on convention and decorum in every way possible, including some that made the NFL and this country an infinitely better place.

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