- Associated Press - Sunday, October 9, 2011

ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders will have to replace much more than an owner now following Al Davis‘ death.

He was the general manager who hand-picked many of the current members of the Raiders. He was the master technician whose football philosophies are still adhered to by the team more than three decades after he coached his last game. He was the iconic figure who turned his beloved franchise into a global brand whose silver-and-black colors are recognized around the world.

Most of all, Davis was the driving force behind a franchise that won three Super Bowl titles and was one of the most successful in pro sports until falling on hard times the past decade.

“His shoes are big,” Hall of Fame cornerback and current Raiders assistant Willie Brown said. “It’s hard to fill those particular shoes, because he’s done it all…. It’s hard to replace a great leader and a legend like Al Davis.”

Davis died at age 82 on Saturday. There was no cause of death released. While the Raiders are still mourning his loss, the team played its first game without him in charge since 1962 in Houston against the Texans with a decal simply saying “AL” on the back of their helmets.

“He really was a legend of the game,” commissioner Roger Goodell said. “There’s not many people who had the kind of impact on the game. He was a commissioner, he was an owner, he was a coach, he was a general manager, and he was passionate about the game of football. He loved the NFL as much as anybody I know.”

While it’s too early to predict what the Raiders will be like after Davis‘ death, some things are certain. The team will remain in the Davis family with Al’s wife, Carol, being the majority owner and his son, Mark, expected to run the franchise.

CEO Amy Trask will continue in her job and will play a big role in the upcoming transition.