Nine years ago Thursday, the Raiders organization lost its owner, backbone and heartbeat, Al Davis.
Since Davis' passing, the team and Raider fans have paid tribute to him by lighting the Al Davis Memorial Torch in his honor before every home game. The first person to light the torch at the Coliseum was Super Bowl winning coach and icon John Madden, just eight days after Davis passed away.
In the ensuing years, Raider legends such as Marcus Allen, Jim Plunkett, Charles Woodson and Coach Jon Gruden have lit the torch as one of the highest honors the organization can bestow.
And while Allegiant Stadium, the Raiders' brand new home in Las Vegas, continues the tradition with a new torch, the organization is also paying respect to the past by installing the original torch in front of the team's new headquarters in Henderson.
On Thursday night, that torch was lit in a special ceremony led by Raiders President Marc Badain. It will forever stay lit thereafter as an eternal flame dedicated to Davis and what he stood for — passion, winning and a Commitment To Excellence.
"He was an icon, just a legend in the football world," said Badain, who was chosen by Raiders owner Mark Davis to light the torch. "If you follow sports at all and certainly if you follow the NFL, you knew Al Davis."
Badain knew there would "be no question [he'd] be emotional" during the ceremony honoring the late owner.
"To be chosen was an honor I didn't take lightly and something that I'll remember the rest of my life," Badain said.
Badain first met Al Davis when he was 12 years old with his grandfather at a restaurant in Florida, shortly after Davis drafted Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen. Years later, he worked his way up from an intern with the Raiders in 1991 to the role of president, and he's seen the organization grow to unbelievable heights.
Al Davis always dreamed of the Raiders having the best state-of-the-art facilities for their players and fans. He would be proud of the move to Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and the new practice facility.
"The goal is always to have the finest facilities because it equates to success on the field," Badain said. "The goal was to always find a stadium that was ours that we didn't share, that was iconic, that was emblematic of the Raiders' brand.
"I feel we have accomplished that here in Las Vegas, and we have a great future ahead of us."
The flame will stand as a forever reminder of Al Davis' Commitment To Excellence to the men and women who will pass by it daily on their way to work.
View exclusive photos of the original Al Davis Memorial Torch as it is eternally lit outside of the Raiders headquarters in Henderson, Nev.