THE ICONIC OWNER sits above in a luxury suite, his health fleeting, his home crowd adoring him, his team playing for a world championship.

This is supposed to be Al Davis.

Instead, it is George Steinbrenner.

Damn Yankees. Al should be madly jealous.

While Steinbrenner's New York Yankees are playing for a world championship, Davis' Raiders are simply playing out their seventh straight disastrous season.

As their sports' most renowned — and increasingly reclusive — owners, they've demanded championships and spared little expense chasing them. Their reputations were formed long ago, as owners who meddled as they saw fit en route to trophies and the desire for many more.

Al and George. They obviously share more than the same birthday: Fourth of July, with Davis 80 and Steinbrenner 79.

Mystery surrounds their staying power. Everyone wonders how much longer before they exit stage left. When they do, America's sports scene will have a major void in terms of their capacity as impactful and entertaining emperors.

That's why the Yankees have made Steinbrenner their World Series rallying cry.

"We're trying to do this for Pops, Mr. Steinbrenner," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said before starting the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies, who host Game 3 today after splitting the first two games in New York.

The Boss isn't so much the boss anymore. He's bequeathed power to his children. Hal, 40, serves as managing general partner. Hank, 52, is following in daddy's footsteps with blustery comments to the media.

Al — or Mr. Davis to most — plans to also pass his ownership torch to his son Mark, who apparently doesn't want to be hands-on with the football side of operations. Putting a timetable on any eventual transition is touchy and akin to stamping the date on Al's death certificate.

A more pertinent difference between the two owners — aside from Al never getting suspended by his league or pardoned by a U.S. president — is who runs their clubs. General manager Brian Cashman oversees the Yankees' roster; Al dominates the Raiders'.

At some point, Al will have to mellow out like Steinbrenner. But when? A year ago, Al finally audibled for a personnel helper, doing so after firing coach Lane Kiffin. Thus far, no sign of any such elf. The Raiders' slump continues.

So Al presses on, annually drafting what he thinks is a critical piece for an offensive juggernaut and trading for a decorated veteran to solve the defense's riddle.

Steinbrenner's trustees finally hit the jackpot this year: sticking by Alex Rodriguez during his steroid scandal and doling out millions to free agents CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira. The payoff is one more World Series for The Boss.

It's the Yankees' first appearance in the Fall Classic since 2003. Earlier that year, the Raiders reached their fifth Super Bowl, only to lose 48-21 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and begin a downward spiral never before seen in NFL history.

The majority of Raider Nation since has turned on its managing general partner, who's fired coaches at a Steinbrenner-esque pace during the past 6½ seasons.

When the World Series returned to New York, Steinbrenner made a rare visit to his new stadium that features a life-size silver bust of him by Gate 2. The grounds crew worked Game 1 on Wednesday in T-shirts that read "WIN IT FOR THE BOSS" on the front.

Back in Oakland, Mount Davis — the Coliseum's eastern block that zooms up to the high heavens — was a sorry sight Sunday. The Raiders drew their smallest crowd (39,354) since moving back from Los Angeles, complementing their worst home loss ever, a 38-0 rout by the New York Jets.

The Raiders and their "boss" have never seemed so removed from the good ol' days.

Steinbrenner, on the other hand, is completing his loop back from the abyss. He is the apple of New York's eye again, within reach of a seventh title under his ownership. Fans treasure him again, unlike in 1982 when they chanted "Steinbrenner sucks! Steinbrenner sucks!" in the wake of Reggie Jackson's escape from New York.

Davis surely expects to silence his critics someday, when he's sitting in a suite at a Super Bowl while his Raiders play for their fourth Super Bowl title. All under his rule still, no doubt.

Yep, that should happen any day now.

Damn Yankees.

Contact Cam Inman at cinman@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at twitter.com/CamInman.