A Place Of Honor At Team Headquarters –
On June 27th, the original Al Davis Memorial Torch arrived by truck to be placed on its new pedestal at its brand-new home. This piece of Raiders football history is now located at the Raiders practice facility and headquarters, high on the hill in Henderson, Nevada.
**See 10-8-2020 Update At The Bottom Of The Page
After being handled with infinite care, the iconic torch has been erected upon a new base at the entrance of its spectacular new home. As Spring Training started last week, the torch was there for everyone to see.
As a tribute to Al Davis, coach and major owner of the Raiders for 39 years, the torch means so much to the team. Having it at the front of this great facility was their way to honor Al Davis every day.
The pedestal quotes the great man himself- “The fire that burns brightest in the Raiders’ organization is the will to win.” Now the team has this winning symbol as a fitting reminder of that single focus.
The Original Memorial Torch
Shortly after Al Davis died in 2011, the team and the fans paid tribute to him with the unveiling of a grand memorial torch. Fans cheered until they became hoarse. Tears of joy flowed as former Raiders coach-turned-commentator John Madden lit the torch for the first time. Seeing the creative ways various people would light the torch was always fun.
It was right that John Madden, hired by Al Davis himself, was given this honor. Together they had shared the joy of victories and the pain of losses for 10 seasons and 7 division championships. John didn’t just light the torch at the unveiling. He triggered memories of the great Al Davis with his signature stance, wearing his aviator sunglasses while clapping his hands and smiling.
Since that historic day in 2011, the lighting of the Al Davis Memorial Torch before each home game has become a tradition. Famous people, Oakland Raiders alumni, and even deserving fans were given the honor of lighting the torch before their games. The guest given the honor of lighting the torch was always carefully selected.
If you get a chance you can drive past the front of the Raiders Practice Facility. Just east of Las Vegas Blvd. and St. Rose Pkwy., turn south on Raiders Way. Even the road signs were made special for the team with a white background and black letters. You can’t miss the building, it’s the black and white building that is large enough to house tall jet airplanes.
Winning – Al Davis Style
Al Davis believed that every person, every player and every member of the team has the right to fight for what they want and believe. Everyone has their own strengths that make them unique; to make them able to do something and to be an expert. These traits gave him the belief that he was capable of teaching someone how to do things right. He stood by this and stuck to that belief on and off the field.
Standing strong, he would not let his team play in any city or in any game that separated black players from white players. He needed his team to be together and would not separate them during a time of life that insisted on separation. Sharing and instilling passion onto his team was his driving force. His desire for the team to win was about far more than just winning a game. It was about winning in life, winning with brotherhood and winning for yourself.
Al Davis was also the first ever National Football League owner to hire a female Chief Executive. Yep, her name is Amy Trask. He was also the first GM to hire a head coach who was African American, Art Shell. He was also the second NFL owner to hire a different nationality head coach, Tom Flores, who is a Latino. Al believed that ALL lives mattered.
Raiders Henderson Practice Facility
Fenced, secure and private, the team has the best practice facility in the country. With a climate-controlled indoor playing field featuring a ceiling high enough so that no kick is restricted, summers will be pleasant. An Olympic-sized outdoor swimming pool officially completes the Las Vegas lifestyle.
Reports say that the entire facility has the absolute best of everything. In addition to three outdoor fields, there are 1½ indoor fields, a weight room, a rehabilitation center, a cafe, a Raider Image retail store and a TV studio. The complex cost more than $75 million to build. Welcome home Raiders, welcome home.
The New Al Davis Memorial Torch
Standing 85 feet tall on a 5 foot pedestal, the new Al Davis Memorial Torch arrived in Las Vegas in May. Set in front of fully opening sliding windows, the torch will stand proud on game days for all to see. Made of titanium, it is the tallest 3-D printed item ever made in the world, and it looks great. Gossip has it that the new torch will be lit using lights and fog, not a fire. We will all know how the new torch looks before the first game at the ultra-modern Allegiant Stadium.
With the practice facility fenced and secured, the team and the original Al Davis Memorial Torch is safe. Raiders players live nearby, and very few people recognize them yet. Both the new and original torches send a message about sportsmanship, especially to the Raiders’ team. Not only will the new torch continue a tradition and be a tribute to Al Davis, it has become another symbol of the team’s desire to win.
“I believe fire symbolizes passion. It symbolizes the Raiders’ will to win. It symbolizes their unity and teamwork and the power of knowing that together they can win.”
An Original Al Davis Memorial Torch Update: On October 8, 2020, the 9th anniversary of Al Davis’s death, The Original Al Davis Memorial Torch was lit permanently. The person chosen by Mark Davis to light the torch was Raiders’ President, Marc Badain. Mark Davis said he chose Marc to light the torch because of the vital contributions he made towards the Raiders’ new stadium and training facility in Las Vegas.
Marc Badain expressed great emotion while lighting the torch. He first met Al Davis when he was 12 in Florida with his grandfather and was honored to be given the privilege. Telling reporters “He was an icon, just a legend in the football world.” Marc has been with the Raiders Organization for over 30 years, starting as an intern and working his way up to President.
The torch will remain lit day and night in front of the Raiders Headquarters and practice facility in Henderson. If you haven’t seen it yet, put it on your “Things To Do List” – it’s worth the trip.