75 Facts About Al Davis


Allen Davis was an American football coach and executive.


Al Davis was the principal owner and general manager of the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League for 39 years, from 1972 until his death in 2011.


Al Davis served as the commissioner of the AFL in 1966.


Al Davis was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992.


Al Davis was active in civil rights, refusing to allow the Raiders to play in any city where black and white players had to stay in separate hotels.


Al Davis was the first NFL owner in the modern era to hire a black head coach, the first to hire a female chief executive, and the second NFL owner to hire a Latino head coach.


Al Davis remains the only executive in NFL history to be an assistant coach, head coach, general manager, commissioner, and owner.


Al Davis was born in Brockton, Massachusetts, to a Jewish family.


Louis Al Davis rented a sixth-floor walkup for his family off Utica Avenue, became very successful in the garment trade, and put his two sons through college before seeking a more comfortable dwelling in Atlantic Beach, New York.


Al Davis graduated from high school in January 1947, immediately enrolling at Wittenberg College in Springfield, Ohio at age 17.


Al Davis spent a semester there, occupying himself with baseball and plans to transfer to a higher-profile school.


Unsuccessful in his efforts to join the men's basketball team, Al Davis became interested in football strategy, and haunted the football team's practices until asked to leave by the head coach, suspicious of Al Davis for taking notes.


Al Davis took the academic courses in football strategy given by the assistant coaches, and ordinarily attended only by players.


In 1952, with his student deferral ended upon receipt of his master's degree, Al Davis was inducted into the United States Army.


Al Davis quickly secured a place attached to a public relations unit near Syracuse, and set about obtaining a place on one of the coaching staff for the military's football teams.


Al Davis coached Fort Belvoir, just south of Washington, DC, to a record of eight wins, two losses, and one tie, missing a chance to play in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego because of a final-game loss to the nearby Quantico Marine Base.


One NFL executive who contacted Al Davis was Pete Rozelle of the Los Angeles Rams, but as Rozelle had been allocated no money, Al Davis gave him no information.


Al Davis worked for a year as a freelance scout for the Baltimore Colts of the NFL.


Al Davis had considerable knowledge of the players he had had on his roster or coached against, and advised the Colts which players to offer contracts to or draft as they returned to civilian life.


Al Davis stated, in his interview, that he would be able to persuade small-town boys from the Northeast to attend The Citadel, which often had difficulty in recruiting star players because of its regimented lifestyle.


Al Davis was successful in his recruiting, though not all remained past the first training camp, at Parris Island Marine base.


Al Davis received much credit for his role in The Citadel's success, though losing Sauer's regard through too-aggressive self-promotion.


Sauer resigned at the end of the season; Al Davis unsuccessfully sought the head coaching position and then resigned; Ribowsky records that there were allegations of payments and other benefits to players in violation of NCAA rules; he states that Al Davis pressured professors to change grades to keep student-athletes eligible to play football.


Al Davis was an effective recruiter as a USC assistant coach, bringing one prospect, Angelo Coia to the Los Angeles Coliseum at night, and as the lights were slowly turned off, asked the student to imagine himself playing there before 100,000 people.


Clark and Al Davis hoped that 1959 would bring a conference championship and the chance to play in the Rose Bowl, but in April 1959 USC was sanctioned by the NCAA again, this time for inducing recruits signed by other schools into breaking their letters of intent.


Clark resigned after the season; although Al Davis put in for the position, it went to another assistant, John McKay, who did not keep Al Davis on his staff.


Al Davis had met Los Angeles Rams coach Sid Gillman in Atlantic City at a coaching clinic; the NFL coach had been impressed that Al Davis had sat in the front row, taken copious notes, and had asked many questions afterwards.


Al Davis hired Davis as backfield coach on a coaching staff which included future hall of famer Chuck Noll as well as future AFL head coach and NFL general manager Jack Faulkner.


In later years, much to Gillman's anger, Al Davis hinted that he had designed the Chargers' offense, or at least deserved partial credit.


One player whom Al Davis recommended to the Chargers, and then secured, was wide receiver Lance Alworth of Arkansas, who was a first-round selection of NFL San Francisco 49ers in the 1962 NFL Draft.


Unwilling to give the 49ers a chance to sign him, Al Davis raced onto the field at the conclusion of Alworth's final college game and signed him to a contract under the goalpost as 49ers head coach Red Hickey watched helplessly from the stands.


Early in the 1962 season, Davis spoke with Oakland Raiders owner F Wayne Valley about their head coaching job.


On January 1,1963, Al Davis met with Valley and the other Raiders general partner, Ed McGah.


Al Davis declined, insisting on a multi-year deal as both head coach and general manager, with complete control over football operations.


Everywhere I went, people told me what a son of a bitch Al Davis was, so I figured he must be doing something right.


Al Davis immediately began to try to build the Raiders into a championship team, both on the field and in the front office.


Al Davis had been impressed by the black uniforms of the football players at West Point, which he felt made them look larger.


The Raiders' offices were on an open mezzanine overlooking a downtown Oakland hotel lobby; Al Davis got Valley to move them to more private facilities.


Al Davis learned that the Powell contract had been made before the season ended, and thus constituted tampering.


Al Davis signed Powell himself, and the Bills did not contest it.


Al Davis, 36, was voted in as commissioner the following day, and took the job with Valley's agreement, hired as a fighter who would win the war with the NFL.


Al Davis had hoped to be named commissioner if any merger was reached; the result increased what already had become a dislike of Rozelle.


AFL owners wanted Al Davis to continue serving as AFL President.


AFL owners had explicitly agreed that the office of AFL President would be subservient to that of the NFL Commissioner, and Al Davis flatly refused to consider serving as a subordinate to Rozelle.


From this day onward, Al Davis was operating head of the franchise; Valley and McGah largely left the Raiders in Al Davis' hands.


In 1972, while managing general partner Valley was attending the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Al Davis drafted a revised partnership agreement that made him the new managing general partner, with near-absolute control over team operations.


Valley sold his interest in 1976 and from that point none of the other partners played any role in the team's operations, despite the fact that Al Davis did not acquire a majority interest in the Raiders until 2005, when he bought the shares held by McGah's family.


Al Davis was long recognized as one of the most hands-on owners in professional sports and reportedly had more authority over day-to-day operations than any other owner in the league.


Al Davis was known throughout the league as a maverick and dressed the part.


In 1992, Al Davis was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a Team and League Administrator and was presented by John Madden.


Al Davis was chosen by a record nine Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees to present them at the Canton, Ohio ceremony: Lance Alworth, Jim Otto, George Blanda, Willie Brown, Gene Upshaw, Fred Biletnikoff, Art Shell, Ted Hendricks and Madden.


In 2007, Al Davis sold a minority stake in the Raiders for $150 million and said that he would not retire until he won two more Super Bowls or died.


Al Davis' generosity was legendary when it came to helping former players in need, although he routinely did so without fanfare.


Al Davis's philosophy was: once a Raider, always a Raider.


Al Davis was long considered one of the most controversial owners in the NFL and was involved in multiple lawsuits involving Los Angeles, Oakland, Irwindale and the NFL.


In 1995, after being unable to secure a new stadium in the Los Angeles area and when a proposed move to Sacramento that involved Al Davis taking ownership of the Sacramento Kings fell apart, Al Davis moved the team back to Oakland then sued the NFL, claiming the league sabotaged the team's effort to build a stadium at Hollywood Park in Inglewood by not doing enough to help the team move from the antiquated Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to a new stadium complete with luxury suites.


Al Davis introduced the Raiders' signature colors silver and black in 1963 in a unilateral move as head coach and general manager.


In 1966 as AFL Commissioner, Al Davis initiated a bidding war with the NFL over players.


That season Al Davis made a number of roster moves, including landing Buffalo Bills quarterback Daryle Lamonica, a backup for starter Jack Kemp on two AFL champion Bills teams.


Al Davis identified Blanda as a mentor for Lamonica as well as a solid special teams man despite his advanced age.


Al Davis angered much of the Raider community by dealing him to the Oilers for quarterback Dan Pastorini, a trade many regarded as selfishly seeking revenge while strengthening the team's top AFC rival.


Al Davis had been a preseason goat in Oakland for the Stabler deal.


On February 18,2002, Al Davis dealt his head coach Jon Gruden to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for Tampa Bay's 2002 and 2003 first-round draft picks, 2002 and 2004 second-round draft picks, and $8 million in cash.


Al Davis breached several civil rights and diversity barriers during his career with the Raiders.


In protest of Alabama's segregation laws, Al Davis refused to allow the game to be played there and demanded the game be moved to Oakland.


Al Davis refused to allow the players to travel to cities to play games where the black and white players would have to stay in separate hotels.


Al Davis was the first NFL owner to hire an African American head coach, Art Shell, and a female chief executive, Amy Trask.


Al Davis hired Tom Flores, the second Latino head coach in the league.


Nine days later, a private service and funeral was held for Al Davis, who was interred at Chapel of the Chimes.


Al Davis was afflicted with skin cancer and had undergone throat surgery in the days preceding his death.


Sportswriter Rick Reilly was particularly adamant that the questionable personnel decisions Al Davis made later in his career and his arrogant, brash personality should not be forgotten amidst sportswriters' praise of him as an innovative owner.


Al Davis was survived by his wife, Carol, and their only child, Mark, a graduate of California State University, Chico.


Al Davis died in 2001, having outlived her husband Lou by 40 years.


The play was referred to as the "Divine Interception" with media speculating that Al Davis was the 11th player on the field in spirit.


In 2003, Al Davis was inducted into the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.