Davis Al Biography







The Oakland Raiders professional football team improved dramatically after Al Davis joined as head coach and general manager in 1963. Davis guided the team to Super Bowl titles in 1977, 1981, and 1984.

Davis, Al (football team owner), born in 1929, American professional football coach and executive whose team, the Raiders, has been one of the most successful football franchises. Davis is also known for his outspokenness and his feuds with other National Football League (NFL) executives.

Allen Davis was born in Brockton, Massachusetts, and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He attended Wittenberg College and Syracuse University, where he played football, basketball, and baseball. After graduating from Syracuse in 1950, Davis worked as a football coach at Adelphi College (1950-1951), The Citadel (1955-1956), and the University of Southern California (1957-1959). In 1960 he joined the staff of the Los Angeles Chargers, a member of the newly formed American Football League (AFL). The AFL was a rival to the NFL, the established professional football league in the United States.

In 1963 Davis joined the Oakland Raiders of the AFL as general manager and head coach. His football philosophy, which involved building his teams around a dynamic offense and an aggressive defense, helped the Raiders rapidly improve from being one of the league's worst teams. AFL team owners recognized Davis's abilities, and in 1966 they hired him as commissioner of the AFL. As commissioner he helped negotiate a merger between the AFL and NFL, which was agreed upon in 1966 and implemented in 1970. Having brokered this agreement, Davis resigned as AFL commissioner in 1966 and returned to the Raiders as managing general partner, assuming control of the organization.

In 1967 the Raiders won the AFL championship but were beaten by the Green Bay Packers in the 1968 Super Bowl (held in January). Following the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, the Raiders' success continued. They won the Super Bowl in 1977, 1981, and 1984.

As the head of the Raiders organization, Davis inspired fierce loyalty among players, but he had frequent differences with NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle. Their conflict culminated in the early 1980s, when Davis announced plans to move the Raiders from Oakland to Los Angeles, California. When league owners blocked the move, Davis sued the NFL on antitrust grounds, winning the suit in 1982. His success paved the way for the frequent moves of other sports franchises during the 1980s and 1990s. Davis was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992.

In 1995 Davis and his team were lured back to Oakland with financial incentives and planned stadium renovations. It was the first time such a reversal had occurred in NFL history. The Raiders, still owned by Davis, reached the 2003 Super Bowl but lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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