Oakland Raiders: Al Davis’ Eternal Flame
On October 8, 2011, the football world lost a historic figure – the father of the Raider Nation passed away.
Al Davis, who was synonymous with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders died at 82. Since, the Silver & Black have lit an eternal flame in his honor at every home. SBReport.net was there every weekend covering the Raiders and capturing images of past greats who were honored to light the torch.
“The fire that burns brightest in the Raiders organization is the will to win.” — Al Davis
October 16, 2011 – In their first game at home since his passing, the Raiders took on the Cleveland Browns. Legendary coach John Madden was the first to ignite the cauldron in Davis’ honor. Madden is still the franchise leader in wins, compiling a 103-32-7 regular season record, winning Super Bowl XI and never having a losing campaign for the Raiders.
October 23, 2011 – Jim Otto a week later was given the honor of lighting the flame. From 1960-to-1974, the center cemented his legacy with the Silver & Black. He was a nine-time AFL All-Star selection, three time Pro Bowl pick and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1980. If there was a great that could be dubbed “Mr. Raider,” it would be Otto.
November 6, 2011 – Freddy Biletnikoff lit the eternal flame in pre-game ceremonies on the weekend Oakland faced the Broncos. The former wide-receiver debuted in 1965 for Oakland and at the end of his career, he had six All-Pro selections, numerous team records, a Super Bowl championship (XI) and a Super Bowl MVP.
November 27, 2011 – It was Jim Plunkett’s turn prior to the game against the Bears. The passer joined the Raiders in 1978 serving as a reserve before an injury propelled him to the forefront. Then during the 1980 season, Plunkett’s career took off, winning comeback player of the year and leading the Raiders to two Super Bowl victories (XV, XVIII).
December 18, 2011 – Before Oakland faced the Detroit Lions; Clem Daniels was given the honor of lighting the flame. In 1961, Daniels was traded to the Raiders, where he spent seven years and was an AFL all-star in ’63, ’64, ’65, ’66 and ’67.
January 1, 2012 – Mark Davis, Al’s son, rung in the New Year by being the last person to light the flame during the 2011 campaign. It was poetic to see the son light the fire the burned the brightest on the season’s final day, as Oakland now embarks in a new era of football without the maverick.
“Three months ago on Oct. 8, 2011 at 3 a.m. I received a phone call from Dr. General Hilliard that my father had passed away. It was a sad day for the Raider Nation and all of the players, coaches and fans who have worn the famed silver and black over the last 48 years.” – Mark Davis, on Tuesday, January 10, 2012.