Photo via Silver and Black Pride

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Today, July 4, marks what would have been former Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis’ No. 88 birthday.

It only seems right that Davis’ birthday falls on Independence Day, for the people who declared independence from Britain were trailblazers much like Davis during his time in the NFL.

For example, Davis was the first person to hire a Latino head coach, Raiders coach Tom Flores, an African-American coach, Raiders coach Art Shell, and a women CEO, Amy Trask.

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Al Davis with Tom Flores (Photo via AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

He also changed the game of football by having his teams be aggressive on offense and throw it deep without regard.

In addition, he implemented a bump and run type defense that revolved heavily around press-man coverage on the outside with a safety roaming deep down the field.

Davis also selected Raiders punter Ray Guy and kicker Sebastian Janikowski in the first round of their respective NFL drafts. Both players turned out to be great picks despite the heavy criticism at the time.

If Davis was alive today, he would be enamored with today’s team led by Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. Oakland has a transcendent quarterback that leads an explosive offense that takes what they want, something Davis always preached when he ushered in his new style of offense.

Ultimately, Davis is one of the most influential NFL figures of all time. Without him, the Silver and Black brand would not exist or be what it is today. Therefore, it is necessary to reflect on Davis’ legacy and all that he has done for the Raider Nation on a day like today.

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Ryan is currently a student at the University of North Carolina. He grew up in the Bay Area and has had Raiders season tickets his entire life fostering his love for the NFL. He has founded his own sports website, thejrreport.com and is a contributor at The Raiders Wire and Chargers Wire. You can follow Ryan on twitter @rytime98 if you want to discuss anything sports.
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