The media was a-twitter before the Raiders owner Al Davis’s press conference earlier this year. People were asking what would he do? What outrageous things would he say? What crazy directions would his press conference take? How old and crusty would he look?
As a new fan, I had never seen one of these famous events, and I wondered what all the hype was about.
Well, I watched the whole thing and now I know. In all the football media I’ve consumed over the past 2 years, I’ve never seen anything like this.
He spoke with great knowledge of the game, and detailed information on the players. But it was more than just the information he imparted, he had those reporters in the palm of his hand. He’d forgotten more about football than everyone in that entire room had ever known.
More than anything else I was blown away by the way he spoke from the heart. Normally in our sanitized, white washed media world, no one says what they mean. They just say what they are expected to say. The media crucifies anyone who dares to show their real feelings on screen. Any other coach would do as they are expected and say “We wish Coach Cable well, and things just didn’t work out.”
Screw that. Instead, Mr. Davis actually said how he felt. He put his heart on his sleeve and spoke as a real human being. Not a media product, not a polished, airbrushed, phoney TV personality. He said what he meant and he meant what he said. NO BULLSHIT!
In sports you must always spin things just right. Not Davis. It might be a New York thing, if you like someone you say it. If you fuckin hate someone, you say it. No need to do the California thing and be nice to everybody. Al Davis is 100% genuine, authentic and real. Like him or not, this man will tell you the truth.
I didn’t agree with firing Cable at the time, and airing out the dirty laundry was perhaps uncalled for. But looking back, I can’t imagine it any other way. Al Davis has a passion and love for winning the game of football that has no excuses, no apologies and no vacation days. Even from his wheelchair he’d haul off and punch you in the face if you questioned his commitment. The man is real as hell and in our modern world of teleprompters, scripted announcements and plastic commentators, Mr. Davis is utterly one of a kind.
After watching him on TV, I realized sadly that a legendary man like this is the last of his breed. There won’t be any more owners who played the game, who are from the streets, who tell it like it is. Our world of infotainment doesn’t allow for dinosaurs like this, who come from the heart and put it all out for the world to see, damn the consequences. We are too cautious, too critical, too much nitpicking by scrawny necked TV twits.
Al Davis is already a legend in his own time. Agree with his decisions or not, Coach Davis is a throwback to another age when men were men. You won’t see his like again.