Category Archives: Willie Brown
Critics of the AFL often cited weak defenses as the source behind the league’s very potent offenses. Defensive schemes, they said, were weak, and secondaries, pathetic. They fail to give credit to a particularly potent defensive tactic that was put to great use by Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders. Dave Steidel takes a look at the bump and run.
The Bump and Run style of pass coverage is a strategy often used by defensive backs in which a defensive player lines up directly in front of a wide receiver and tries to impede him with arms, hands, or entire body and disrupt their intended route.
Being a collector of AFL memorabilia, I occasionally find large accumulations of material that come up for sale. When this type of thing occurs, the seller often has a “take all of it, or none of it”-type of disposition. The person is sometimes cleaning out their garage, or maybe they found a stash of stuff at a yard sale and want to make a few buck reselling it. Whatever the situation, I am happy to take a look at it and see if we can come to some sort of agreement. If I am fortunate, the items for purchase will include a few pieces that fit immediately into my collections, perhaps even filling a hole or two on one of my many want lists. Once the proverbial cream is skimmed off the top, I am usually left with some items that I like, but do not need, others that I do not like and definitely do not want, and a handful about which I can’t immediately form an opinion. I picked up just such an oddball piece about five years ago when I purchased a large lot of early AFL Chargers items from a collector in San Diego.
When the AFL and NFL finally merged after the 1969 season, the Pro Football Hall of Fame went about selecting AFL All-Time Team. The announcement of awardees was made through the newspapers on January 14, 1970. According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame website, the ballotting was particularly close at defensive tackle and cornerback. The selection of a head coach was also very close, with Weeb Ewbank, Sid Gillman and Hank Stram all in the running. The AFL All-Time Team was officially presented at the last game in AFL history, the All-Star Game that was held in Houston on January 17, 1970.
Ask 10 fans who the meanest, toughest, nastiest player was in the American Football League, and a good number of them will say Ben Davidson. Davidson loved to hit people. Running backs, quarterbacks, wide receivers, offensive linemen, referees, opposing coaches… It really didn’t matter. Watch old Raiders highlight films, and you will see #83 smacking people around before, during, and long after the whistle.