Al Davis, coach and owner of the Oakland Raiders, passed away today at the age of 82. Though others are much more qualified to comment on his life and career, I was truly impressed when listening to remembrances on the radio. He was a coach that will be remembered for many of his colorful qualities but, more importantly, for what he tried to impart to his players. He coined the slogans such as “Pride and Poise,” “Commitment to Excellence,” and “Don’t worry about mistakes. Just win” (Mike Puma, ESPN). Al Davis summarized a semester’s worth of learning into such few words, but then applied them to the way he lived his life and his 48 years with the Raiders. These phrases were solidified not only with his image, but also became trademarks for his team and others in the NFL. In the USA Today article NFL reacts: The Al Davis Legacy, two quotes struck me as salient to this class:

Patriots coach Bill Belichick: “By striving for the highest level of excellence with our respective teams and the game itself, we will be honoring the memory of Al Davis.”

Former Raiders QB Daryle Lamonica: “When you think of Al Davis, that commitment to excellence was him. The pride and poise was more than just words. That was our way of life.”