Raiders’ Legacy

By October 11, 2011 Sports In Focus

A day after Raiders owner Al Davis, died, Oakland came from behind to beat Houston 25-20. S Michael Huff intercepted Texans QB Matt Schaub in the end zone on the final play to seal the win. Raiders coach Hue Jackson was overcome with emotion on the sideline.

Al Davis was a self-described “maverick” and one of the NFL’s big personalities. As an owner, he feuded with commissioners, coaches, and cities on his way to three Super Bowl titles. Those who grew close to him often referred to him as ‘Coach Davis’ — a tribute to his stint as head coach in the early years of the franchise and to his wealth of football expertise. ”Just Win, Baby.” That was Davis’s personal motto. He and the Oakland Raiders lived by it, on the field and in the courts.

Davis’ death came only days after Apple’s founder Steve Jobs died. Jobs like Davis will long be remembered for the legacy he left the world. While Davis forever changed the NFL, Jobs through his invocations in technology changed the way that we communicate with it. Jobs was Buddhist and Al Davis was Jewish. What can we learn from their legacy?

Southern Seminary President Albert Mohler thinks there is much we can learn from their legacy. While he was writing about Steve Jobs in his blog, he was also writing about other leaders as well.

Mohler said, “Christians considering the life and death of Steve Jobs will do well to remember once again the power of an individual life. God has invested massive creative abilities in his human creatures. These are often used for good, and sometimes deployed to evil ends. At the same time, Christians cannot leave the matter where the secular world will settle on Steve Jobs’ legacy. The secular conversation will evade questions of eternal significance, but Christians cannot. As is the case with so many kings, rulers, inventors, leaders, and shapers of history, Christians can learn from Steve Jobs and even admire many of his gifts and contributions. Yet, we must also observe what is missing here. But unerring taste, aesthetic achievement, and technological genius will not save the world. Christians know what the world does not — that the mother tending her child, the farmer planting his crops, the father protecting his family, the couple faithfully living out their marital vows, the factory worker laboring to support his family, and the preacher preparing to preach the Word of God are all doing far more important work. We have to measure life by its eternal impact, even as we are thankful for every individual who makes this world a better place. But, don’t expect eternal impact to be the main concern of the business pages.”

This week, don’t expect the sports pages to focus on the eternal impact either. However, the pages of the Bible do help us understand the importance of leaving a righteous legacy.

Read Hebrews 11:4, “By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.”

The lives of Adam and Eve’s first sons—Cain and Abel are a reminder of the legacy that each of us will leave for others to follow. Cain was an unrighteous man who tried to please God by his own efforts. Abel was a righteous man who worshipped God in True faith so God accepted him while rejecting Cain. Cain’s legacy is rebellion and judgment. Abel’s is righteousness and saving faith. Abel will be remembered for redemption and righteousness by faith alone.

What legacy will you leave? Will you be remembered as a Christian who loved the gospel?


1. Is there someone in your family that has left a spiritual legacy? How has that impacted your family?

2. What does it mean to be righteous by faith alone?

2. Why did Cain kill Abel?

3. How did God punish Cain?

4. What would you like your legacy to be in view of the gospel?


Gordon Thiessen has served on staff with the Nebraska FCA since 1986 He has also founded Cross Training Publishing ( He has written Team Studies on Character and edited The Athletes Topical Bible. He is married to Terri and has four grown children.

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