Al Davis...

Angry Pope

All Raider
Feb 2, 2006
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Short article on Al...

No. 1 for All Time

July 13, 2006

As legendary Raiders head coach John Madden prepares to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday, August 5th, we present a look back at the 16 proud members of the Silver and Black who have previously earned such distinction. We begin with Raiders owner Al Davis, who was enshrined in 1992.

Al Davis is the only person to have served pro football in such varied capacities as a player personnel assistant, an assistant coach, a head coach, a general manager, a league commissioner and the principal owner of an NFL team.

The longtime owner of The Oakland Raiders compiled an exceptional record since his first venture into the pro football world as player personnel man with the 1954 Baltimore Colts. Six years later, he made a permanent move to pro football as the ends coach for the American Football League's Los Angeles Chargers in their inaugural season.

In 1963, at the age of 33, he became the head coach and general manager of the Raiders, a team that had a miserable 9-33-0 record in its first three years. Mr. Davis led the 1963 Raiders to a 10-4 record and won unanimous AFL Coach of the Year acclaim. He also became the first sports figure ever honored by the Chamber of Commerce as Oakland's Young Man of the Year. After three years in which he compiled a 23-16-3 coaching record, he was named the AFL Commissioner in April 1966. Within eight weeks, the AFL and NFL announced a merger ending the inter-league war. Mr. Davis then returned to Oakland as managing general partner.

Mr. Davis has been 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 now, John Madden.

He became the first recipient of the NFL Players Association's Retired Players Award of Excellence "for his contributions to the men who played the game" in 1991. On December 29, 1999, the Oakland Tribune and the Alameda Newspaper Group named Mr. Davis as the Bay Area's most significant sports figure of the 20th Century. The Orange Bowl inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 2001.

Based on personal achievement, team achievement and contributions to the game, no one has had a more profound and lasting impact on professional football. In recognition of his status in pro football annals, NFL Films produced a film entitled, "Al Davis, No. 1 for All Time."

Mr. Davis continues to work tirelessly as an innovator and driving force throughout the realm of professional football. Earlier this year, he was instrumental in the NFL's agreement of an extension of the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Players Association.

Born July 4, 1929, in Brockton, Massachusetts, Mr. Davis grew up in Brooklyn and first attended Wittenberg College and then Syracuse University where he was graduated with a degree in English. He immediately embarked on a coaching career first as the line coach at Adelphi College in 1950 and 1951 and then as the head coach of the U.S. Army team at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia in 1952 and 1953. After a year in Baltimore, he served as line coach and chief recruiter for The Citadel and then moved to the University of Southern California as line coach in 1957, 1958, and 1959.
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