| By Herman L. Brame
This past Saturday Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis died at the age of 82. He leaves behind a legacy of controversy and excellence in professional football.
Davis began his career as a scout and rose through the ranks to become a head coach, general manager, commissioner and owner. In 1962, he was hired as general manager and head coach of the Raiders and in 1966 he became commissioner of the American Football League, but resigned the same year to purchase an interest in the Raiders. During his ownership the Raiders won three Super Bowl titles. He was a pioneer in diversity hiring Tom Flores as the NFL's first Latino head coach and Art Shell as the NFL's first head coach of the modern era. Davis played a prominent role in the 1970 merger of the American Football League and the National Football League. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992.
During the early 1960s the Raiders offered to move the franchise to Portland, Oregon but were rebuffed by Portland's civic and business leaders. Portland's Multnomah Civic Stadium was more attractive than San Francisco's Candlestick Park where the Raiders played from late 1960 through 1961 in front of small crowds of about 6,000 per game. After Portland turned down the offer to move the franchise for free the Raiders settled for a converted high school stadium in Oakland called Frank Youell Field where they played from 1962 to 1965. Portland just missed being a part of the Raider mystique and a northwest pro football rivalry with the Seattle Seahawks.