Davis, Al

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Davis, Al

Al Davis (Allen Davis), 1929–2011, American football executive, b. Brockton, Mass. After coaching mainly college teams in the 1950s, he was (1960–62) a coach with the Los Angeles, then San Diego, Chargers of the upstart American Football League, and in 1963 became head coach and general manager of the Oakland Raiders. In 1966 he was named commissioner of the AFL, but resigned that year when the AFL and the National Football League agreed to merge. He rejoined the Raiders as general manager and part owner, and became principal owner in 2005. Astute but also controversial and irascible, Davis squabbled with other owners, league and public officials, and even his own coaches and players. He often hired tough, undervalued, or outlaw players and favored a speedy, long-passing offense and a brutally physical defense. Under his ownership the Raiders played in five Super Bowls and won three. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992.

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