Category Archives: Al Davis
One of the benefits of being an autographed card collector is that when I send a card in the mail to a former AFL player, I also have the opportunity to ask if they would be interested in doing an interview for Tales from the American Football League. I had just such an experience recently when I sent an interesting new RetroCard (more on those in a future post!) to former Oakland Raiders, Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback, Tom Flores.
One of the interesting things about the AFL is the number of great coaches who came up as assistants with AFL teams – Bill Walsh, Chuck Noll, Al Davis, Tom Bass, Bum Phillips, Chuck Knox, John Madden and many more. The most impressive AFL staff, in my mind, is that of the early Chargers. Sid Gillman, Al Davis, Chuck Noll, Jack Faulkner and Joe Madro. Is there another staff in history in which 60% of its members were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame? Imagine the conversations in coaching meetings…
After spending three seasons on Sid Gillman’s Chargers staff, Al Davis went out on his own, and accepted the head coaching position of the Oakland Raiders. Davis’s impact was immediate and undeniable, as he took the Raiders from a 1-13 club in 1962, and turned them into a 10-4 team the following year, earning AFL Coach of the Year honors along the way.
A recent article on raiders.com talks about Davis coming back to defeat Gillman in one of their two matches in 1963.
One of the things that made the AFL so great (and competitive) was certain members’ willingness to open the game, and their teams, to the black athlete. No coach or team owner was more influential in this area that Al Davis and his Oakland Raiders. I recently found this fantastic NFL Films clip that discusses Al Davis’s influence on professional football in terms of the minority athlete.
The Oakland Raiders went from the AFL’s basement to knocking on the penthouse door in just a single season. Dave Steidel discusses what brought about the drastic team turnaround…
In what may be the greatest one year turn around in professional sports and indeed one of the best coaching efforts in history, Al Davis, in his first year as a head coach of the Oakland Raiders, took them from being a 1-13 (.071 pct.) team in 1962 to a 10-4 (.714 pct.) team in 1963!