Classy moves out of Denver and Kansas City.
Broncos owner Pat Bowlen has released a statement honoring Oakland owner Al Davis, who died Saturday at 82 years old. Make no mistake, Davis and Bowlen were rivals and, frankly, they didn’t like each other for much of their time as fellow AFC West owners.
However, it’s clear there was respect. Here's Bowlen’s statement:
During my 28 years with the Broncos, I came to know Al Davis as one of the most influential and innovative people in the history of the National Football League. His competitive spirit and intensity grew our rivalry with the Raiders into one of the fiercest in all of sports.
I respected Al for what he meant to the NFL. He was a visionary who defined the Raiders and had an enormous responsibility for the prosperity of this league.
I join Al’s family, the Oakland Raiders and the rest of the NFL in mourning the loss of a man who gave so much to the game we love.
Chiefs owner Clark Hunt also put out a release on Davis’ death:
From the earliest days of the AFL, Al's love for the game and fierce loyalty to his franchise contributed to the success and popularity of pro football. His competitive spirit helped develop the great rivalry our team and fans enjoy today with the Oakland Raiders. His contributions to the game played an important role in building the strong foundation the NFL enjoys today.
UPDATE: San Diego chairman Dean Spanos released this statement:
“Al Davis is one of the main reasons our family is in the NFL today. Al approached my dad (Alex Spanos) about getting involved in the NFL and was very helpful to us through the process. He had great insight into the league, both the product on the field and the business off the field. He saw the potential for growth. He was very much a visionary. Our family will always be grateful to Al for his friendship.
“Al is also a big reason for the strong rivalry between the Raiders and the Chargers and its popularity among both teams’ fans. He personified the image and mystique of the Raiders, and that image has helped build the strength of our rivalries and the popularity of our game. There has been no one in the NFL like Al Davis.