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.
“JUST WIN BABY”
“THE QUARTERBACK MUST GO DOWN AND MUST GO DOWN HARD.”
Al Davis will be missed. RIP
One last thing about wearing Al Davis, he made wearing black cool………………