Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis was one of the most well respected and influential figures of the modern NFL. He helped shape the league into what it was today, but he was not without his clashes. He was a bold and aggressive owner, who did what he wanted and how he wanted to do it. He's one of the most successful owners the league has ever seen, but he's also made some huge blunders. Even when he made his blunders, Davis was still bullish about them. Davis had previously hired two young coaches in John Madden and Jon Gruden in their early thirties, and he took another swing with a young Lane Kiffin.
Some may remember Lane Kiffin's stint as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders. Kiffin was not a fan of first round draft pick quarterback Jamarcus Russell, but Al Davis was. There was a big back and forth through the media between Davis and Kiffin, and during the press conference in which Kiffin was fired Davis said, "I couldn't go on with the propaganda and lies anymore."
Kiffin, now the head coach at Southern California, issued this statement to the Los Angeles Times on Davis' passing:
"I was very saddened this morning to learn of the passing of Al Davis," Kiffin said in a statement. "He was an iconic figure in the history of professional football and built a truly legendary franchise with the Raiders.
"I consider myself fortunate to have known him and to have been a part of that Raiders history. Even though our relationship did not end the way I would have liked, I have nothing but the greatest respect for Mr. Davis and I truly appreciate the opportunity he afforded me and so many young coaches, players and staff.
"My thoughts go out to his family and to the family and fans of the Raiders past and present."
Davis was so transcendent throughout the league, that even people you would think should hate him, respected him for what he was.