Al Davis Torch Unvelied in Las Vegas

Tom LaMarre

by Tom LaMarre

One iconic item from the Oakland Coliseum is going to Allegiant Stadium with the Las Vegas Raiders.

In fact, it’s already there.

The Al Davis Memorial Torch, which was lit by former Raiders and local celebrities before every home game in Oakland to honor of the team’s former owner, made its Vegas on debut, displayed through the massive retractable lanai doors at the new stadium, which is nearly complete.

Actually, it’s an 85-foot updated version of the original torch, but the message remains the same. A famous quote from Davis: “The fire that burns brightest in the Raiders’ organization is the will to win,” is repeated every time the flame is lit before games as fans of the Silver and Black pay tribute.

Former Raiders and celebrities have lit the flame, including Bay Area-native rapper MC Hammer, Super Bowl XI-winning Coach John Madden, Oakland native Marshawn Lynch, the family of the late Kenny “Snake” Stabler and many formers Raiders have lit the torch.

Davis came to Oakland in 1963 as coach and general manager, turning around a team that had gone 2-12 and 1-13 the previous two seasons with a 10-4 record. Later, he became commissioner of the American Football League and helped force the merger with the National Football League in the late 1960s.

The Davis returned to become managing general partner of the Raiders, overseeing three Super Bowl victories before his death in 2011, when the Al Davis Memorial Torch was first unveiled.

Owner Mark Davis admitted recently that he is a bit concerned about the construction of the 65,000-foot, $2 billion stadium being finished by the July 31 deadline.

But one important piece of Raiders history is there already.