My own Birthday Greeting- the Passing of Steve Jobs & Al Davis

OK, so it’s my birthday today. October 8.  I’m well let’s just say I am perhaps older than I look (at least that is what I am told). A lot of the time I feel and act young. A few have told me too young. I played flag football a few weeks ago. Pulled my hamstring pretty bad as I ran past a few twenty something’s on a QB run. My hammy tried to remind me to act my age as did many of my friend’s right after the event. But, damn it was fun. If I don’t lose my memory I’ll get back to this point in a bit.

This week we lost two icons. Steve Jobs and Al Davis. Very different people with an important similarity. Beep…. thank you for playing:  the similarity was not that they spent most of their career in the Bay Area. Both of these men while very different were rebels with a cause. Both were visionaries. While most will celebrate Steve Jobs life, and what he brought to the world via Apple like the Mac, iPod and iPhone more I suspect view Al Davis differently.  I’m not as good at describing the impacts on technology envisioned by Steve Jobs as I can about sports. But I can say I got Steve Jobs. I get Apple products. I understand the Why behind Steve Jobs and Apple Computer (read Simon Sinek “Start with Why”). I’m just not sure I can articulate it as well as many have done this week.  Both showed great mental toughness that would make any sport psychologist proud.

Football I’m a little better with…  Check out the rest

Al Davis was the driving force behind the Oakland (LA ) Raiders. His teams won three Super Bowls. For a time the Raiders were the most popular team in America either to Love or Hate. Al virtually drove the merger between the AFL and the NFL moving it to become the most dynamic sports enterprise in America.  Davis went after established players in the NFL forcing the NFL into a position where it needed to make a change in the way it did business. Davis didn’t want the merger, but agreed to it.

Al most certainly played to a different drummer. He did it his way. He had law on his side and he fought tooth and nail for what he believed in. I respected him and at times thought he was reprehensible. He virtually ruined one of my favorite players. Marcus Allen sat on the bench in a dispute with Davis. Davis only had to pay him x dollars back then. They had an argument so Davis used him minimally for I think two seasons. Unintentionally Davis certainly changed football again because of this. The Free Agency players had until this year certainly was based on this Rebel from Brooklyn. Davis also fired and refused to pay my favorite Denver Bronco Coach Mike Shanahan. Even after Shanahan won his case, Davis refused. I suspect coaches contracts look a lot different today than they did before Shanahan.  Al Davis hired the first modern African-American Head Coach (also fired the first African-American Head Coach). He hired the first Hispanic Head Coach and the first Female CEO for a NFL franchise.

Al was a rebel. Many will miss him. He didn’t light the world afire with visionary computers and music playing cell phones that we can’t live without. He didn’t enable both the Mac and PC like Jobs did, but he certainly had an impact on sports in this country and turned the NFL into a giant.

Both men passed on this week. One was 56 and shined very brightly. A college drop out an adopted son. Al Davis was not 56, he was 82. He was a coach, a general manager and partner for over half a century. Both men changed the world as we know it. I do know that Football is just a game.  But then those things that jobs created really started out in many ways as toys. Or maybe it was a Toy Story after all.  RIP gentleman.

Almost forgot to finish the beginning. We don’t know when it will be our time. At 56 Steve Jobs was less than a year my junior. Steve Jobs was a shooting star from early on. At 82 Al Davis could have been my father (mine was actually older when he passed away). Al Davis was like the plow horse (though dressed in all white you would have thought he’s have gotten that stuff dirty over time), he just kept going planting seeds along the way that grew into a multi-billion dollar giant. Since we don’t know if we are plow horse or a shooting star perhaps we should behave as if we were the shooting star not knowing when our light is going to fade. We need both kinds of rebels. We need people who believe in something with so much passion that they roll the dice and take their chances.  Neither new where there path was going to lead them this week when they started. Some will say they ended up in the same place. A few will say that’s not possible as Al certainly ended up in hell, but I won’t debate that. On of my favorite cartoons this week was Steve Job standing at the Gates of Heaven while the gate keeper looked him up. Jobs said that he has an App for that. Wherever they ended, may they be at peace.


This is some text prior to the author information. You can change this text from the admin section of WP-Gravatar  Mike Margolies: Sport Psychology Consultants ; Mike Margolies is a Sport Psychology Consultant, Certified Mental Trainer® (CMT), Author, and Professional Speaker. When you want to be the best that you can be and the one thing you might be missing is the right mental game - what can you do? Well, athletes from all over the country have been seeking out Mike Margolies for over three decades to help them reach their potential. His clients include professional, elite, colligate and youth athletes in every sport. They have sought his counsel and unique teaching style to learn about the game within the game, or what mental training can do to help them become the athlete they want to be. He has trained professional and elite athletes and helped guide many to world championships and even the Super Bowl. Mike has trained more than 2000+ athletes. He has taught at four Universities and completed research at the United States Olympic Training Center. His new book is called The Athlete within You- A Mental Approach to Sports and Business. He currently works with individual athletes, teams and businesses around the world, both in person and via SKYPE. Mike is based out of the Pacific Northwest. Let him encourage you to play the game within the game. The Athlete within You is waiting to come out play. Learn the rules to the mental game to help realize your potential. Read more from this author

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