What You Didn’t Know About Al Davis

Raiders owner Al Davis passed away this morning and a lot people only remember the things that have happened recently with the Raiders.

Unfortunately a lot of those things have been bad, but that shouldn’t overshadow how great and unique of a person Al Davis was.

Here are just a few things that you may have not known about Davis.

He was only 33 years old when he was named the general manager and head coach of the Oakland Raiders, he was the youngest person ever to hold both positions.

Davis took elements of the Sid Gilman’s innovative offense (which later was known as the West Coast Offense) and turned it into the vertical passing game that became a Raiders staple for years (Mike Martz system is heavily influenced Davis’ concepts).

Davis was the Commissioner of the AFL, he was instrumental in signing big name NFL players and bringing them to the AFL, which directly lead to the AFL/NFL merger. Ironically he was against the AFL merging with the NFL, that is what lead to his resignation.

As GM of the Raiders he won an AFL title in 1967.

Davis hired John Madden as head coach in 1969.

Check out the slick (or cutthroat) way Davis acquired ownership of the Raiders, this is something that even I didn’t know.

In 1972, while managing general partner Valley was attending the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Davis drafted a revised partnership agreement that made him the new managing general partner, with near-absolute control over team operations. McGah signed the agreement. Since two of the team’s three general partners had voted in favor of the agreement, it was binding under partnership law of the time. Valley sued to overturn the agreement once he returned to the country, but was unsuccessful. Valley sold his interest in 1976, and no other partners have had any role in running the club since. This was despite the fact that Davis did not acquire a majority interest in the Raiders until 2005, when he bought the shares held by McGah’s family. He now owns approximately 67 percent of the interests in the partnership through his company, A.D. Football, Inc.

Davis was a very shrewd businessman.

While later on in life his GM moves were very questionable early on he was known for finding players who were given up for dead and reviving their careers with the Raiders.

Davis was one of the few owners who did not have a problem giving minorities positions within the organizations and black quarterbacks an opportunity on the field.  He was also one of the few owners who would draft players from Historically Black Colleges.

He hired Art Shell who was the first African-American Head Coach in the modern NFL. He had legendary court battles with the NFL and his chief nemesis Pete Rozell. He was never one to back down from what he believed in no matter if others thought it was wrong.

The Raiders won three Super Bowls during Davis’ reign.

Al Davis also has two of the most iconic quotes in the history of the NFL.



Al Davis will be missed. RIP

One last thing about wearing Al Davis, he made wearing black cool………………

8 thoughts on “What You Didn’t Know About Al Davis

  • This is why a Raider fan appreciates Al Davis.

    He’s the only owner in football, who is a former scout, assistant coach, head coach, and commissioner in the NFL.

    An NFL-record 8 players have chosen Al Davis to introduce him into the Hall-of-Fame (Lance Alworth, Jim Otto, Art Shell, Gene Upshaw, Willie Brown, Fred Bilitnekoff, Ted Hendricks, George Blanda)

    In 1991, he become the first recipient of the National Football League Players’ Association (NFLPA) Award for Excellence

    Mr. Davis hired the first African-American official (Dr. Aaron C. Wade).

    Mr. Davis hired the first African-American league executive (Brad Pye Jr.)

    Mr. Davis hired the first Hispanic Head Coach (Tom Flores)

    Mr. Davis hired the first African-American Head Coach (Art Shell)

    Guess who hired one of the first female executives (Amy Trask)

    “My only Regret is that I played in Los Angeles so late in my career. Al Davis was very loyal and encouraging to all his players when I was there.” -Lyle Alzado

    “When it comes to being a gentleman, when it comes to treating their players like men, when it comes to being champions-no other team comes close…Everything stems from Al Davis, everything. He’s the kind of guy you want on your side.” – John Matusak

    “I always tell people that I was extremely fortunate to play for three of the greatest coaches ever: Webb Ewbank, Hank Stram and Al Davis.” – Cotton Davidson

    “He is always for the players, so it was really easy to play for him and want to win for him.” – Rod Sherman

    “I still feel very close to Al Davis…It’s always been like a father-son relationship.” – Ray Guy

    “I love the man(Al Davis). He’s true to the word. I’d die for the man. I love him to death.” – Mickey Marvin

    “There were a number of games in those days that were going to be played in the South that I refused to play in. And he (Al Davis) canceled them. That told me what type of individual I was dealing with.” – Art Powell

    Amy Trask:
    “Al Davis is a legend and his contribution and influence on the game of football, the National Football League, and the Oakland Raiders has been profound for decades. To view his contribution and influence on a season-by-season basis does not make sense: he has dominated the industry for a lifetime. I can’t tell you how he may have impacted or guided other individuals during their careers but I can speak from personal experience. He inspires me to be better every day than I was the day before.”

    John Madden:
    “If you need a friend, there’s no better friend than Al Davis. He’s my best friend. I’ve always said that if I even needed anything and I had one phone call, it would be to Al Davis. He can’t be denied. If somebody wants a chance, Al Davis is the greatest at giving them a chance. There are a lot of people that talk about things and never do anything. Al doesn’t talk at all … He just does it.”

    Carl Weathers:
    “In 1976, I was casted as Apollo Creed. It was the role that changed my acting career. In 1970, I met a man who changed my life forever. That year I became a part of Al Davis’s legendary Oakland Raiders organization as a rookie linebacker.”

    Jim Otto:
    “Al Davis is ahead of his time in everything he does. His innovations in offense was fantastic. He’s an all-around football man.”

    Tom Flores:
    “Al had great vision. He could see down where the game was headed or where it should be headed.”

    Brad Pye, Jr., Former AFL administrative assistant, first African-American administrator in football
    “A lot of people think of Al Davis as a maverick. He’s also a maverick in opening up opportunities for minorities.”

    Dr. Aaron C. Wade, former AFL official, first African-American official
    “I’d say he’s a trailblazer. He had no color barrier.”

    Willie Lanier:
    “Hiring (minority) coaches, players, this is something he did over the years. This is not something new where he came to some politically correctness in the 1990s.”

    Denny Green:
    “I think Al Davis opened up the game up. I think he opened the game up for the African- American athlete.”

    Willie Brown:
    “He’s a pioneer, in terms of getting black players to play and letting them be the best they can be.”

    Bernie Custis, Black quarterback and teammate of Al Davis at Syracuse University, 1948-50:
    “I came to know Al as someone that lived by a certain code and this code was to judge everybody by their content of their character and capabilities and nothing else. That’s the code that I detected at the time and I think it’s stayed with him throughout the years.”

    Gene Upshaw:
    It was Sid Gilman and Al Davis who said here’s an opportunity to give these people (black players) a chance to play.”

    George Atkinson:
    “Al found a ton of good players in the black schools.”

    Eddie Robinson (former longtime coach at Grambling):
    “Al’s word was important. If he’s tell you something, this is it.”

    Lance Alworth:
    “It’s hard to think he did it to help blacks. He was looking to give a guy an opportunity whether he was black or white.”

    Al LoCasale:
    “Al has always said the golden rule is not good enough. That is, ‘Don’t treat people the way you would like to be treated, treat people how they want to be treated.'”

    Mike Haynes:
    “He’s a very passionate guy. He believes if you’re good to him then he’ll be good to you. I think players like the idea of being loyal to be something.”

    Jim Plunkett:
    I think the world of Mr. Davis. He’s been good for the league and the players. He’s been great to me. I know the feeling is mutual. The style of play suited me with the long pass. We made it work together. It was a lot of fun.

    Amy Trask:
    “The Raiders were about giving people second chances,” she said.
    “They were about giving chances to people the mainstream wouldn’t give a chance. They had a willingness to look beyond the color of someone’s skin, reputation, and beyond someone’s past.”
    “I see a willingness to do things the Raiders’ way, not the way society dictates,” she said. “Look at what Al Davis has done. He hired the first Hispanic head coach (Tom Flores), the first black head coach (Art Shell), and now me. It’s not a coincidence. People in sports talk a lot about inclusiveness and giving people opportunities. While they talk, I only see one person doing it. Al is the last person on Earth who’d do this for a pat on the back. A pat on the back would annoy him. He does it for the right reasons.”

    “He is the smartest man I ever met.” – Bill Parcells about Raiders Owner Al Davis

    Jack Tatum:
    I personally like Al Davis a lot. He’s a great owner and he’s great to play for as long as you play hard. The reason why I like Al is because he’s dedicated to winning. He’s a football guy.

    Jeremy Brigham:
    Big Al is a stud. He really cares about his players. Al Davis is a good man. Aside from what the media thinks. I wish everyone had a chance to meet him face to face and see what he is really like.

    Greg Biekert:
    I’ve enjoyed the relationship that I have with him (Al Davis). He’s been very good to me as a person and as a player on the team. I’ve really enjoyed being with the Raiders and his organization.

    Marcus Ray:
    I like Mr. Davis a lot. I respect him. He’s just a straight forward guy and he tells it like it is. He understands what you want and you must understand what he wants. We have a good relationship.

    Ronnie Lott:
    I think that Mr. Davis is one of the fathers of the game of football. Think of what he did for the AFL and build it to what it is. How he talked about the long ball and brought a certain toughness to the NFL, the Silver and Black and what it represents. You have to look back and think about all of the men who gave everything for the sport of football and you have to mention him as one of the pioneers of the game.

    Otis Sistrunk:
    I think no offense to ESPN or anybody else, you don’t know Al Davis like the players do. The media gets it wrong a lot. Most of his playes looked up to him.

    “He was one of the great coaches I have ever observed … a truly great coach,” “Had he chosen to remain in coaching, he would be considered one of the great coaches of all time.” – former Davis employee Bill Walsh

    “I work for a man who is gender-blind, he’s color-blind, age-blind,” “He walks the walk of equality of opportunity. In this organization, yourrace, your gender and your age are irrelevant. Either you are a Raider or you are not.” – Amy Trask

    “Tradition is not a word but a style to him. He really believes once a Raider, always a Raider. Once a guy has played for us, whatever he needs, we do our best for him. But he does this quietly, not looking for publicity.” – Al LoCasale

    “When I was released last week I made a call. It was to Al Davis. I left a message with his secretary for him to call me back. He didn’t call me back but his secretary called me back and she said, ‘Al thinks you would look good in silver and black.’ I called her back again and said, ‘let him know that I would do anything to be a Raider and I want to help him win another Super Bowl’ He called me later that night, we talked for about a half hour. I got off the phone
    thinking, this guy’s a football guy. This guy truly cares about his players and I’m excited at the opportunity to go out there and see what this organization is about and to possibly be a part of it.” – Bill Romanowski

    “It was a great honor to come out and talk with Mr. (Al) Davis. I spent time with Bruce Allen and Amy (Trask). There are always experiences that make you a better coach and give you a better insight either to yourself or your profession, and that was certainly one of them.” – Bill Belichick

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