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Just Do It Baby

Monday, December 1, 2003
Good guys wear black
By Mike Puma
Special to

Signature Event
May 7, 1982 -- More than two years after signing a "memorandum of agreement" to move his team from Oakland to Los Angeles, Raiders owner Al Davis won an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL, clearing the way for the team's relocation. An all-woman jury needed just five hours to make its decision. Davis was later awarded $35 million in damages and received $18 million in a settlement.

Davis sought to leave Oakland after city officials refused to make improvements to Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, mainly the addition of luxury boxes. League owners had voted 22-0 against the move, with five owners abstaining.

"Sure, I expected the Oakland fans to get angry at me," Davis said. "But I don't remember any of them parading on the Oakland Coliseum, saying 'Give him what he wants.' In their mind, it's their team. In my mind, it's not."

Davis moved the Raiders to the Los Angeles Coliseum, vacated by the Rams after the 1979 season, later in 1982 and they stayed there through the 1994 season. Then they returned to Oakland.

Odds 'N' Ends

  • Davis and his wife Carol have one son, Mark.

  • Davis was voted the most popular boy in his graduating class at Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, N.Y.

  • After Davis graduated from Syracuse, his mother offered to buy him a minor league baseball team, but Davis was eager to get started in coaching.

  • A student of military history, one of Davis' favorite sayings is "Let's go to war!"

  • At The Citadel, Davis became one of the first offensive coaches to use "race horse" football, an early version of the no-huddle offense.

  • With the Chargers, Davis signed Lance Alworth under the goal post after his last college game.

  • While the Raiders finished second in the West twice in Davis' three years as coach, they never got into the playoffs as only the division champion advanced to the postseason.

  • Davis' 23 victories as head coach are the sixth most in Raiders history.

  • After starting quarterback Steve Beuerlein held out for more money in 1990, Davis demoted him and didn't dress him on game days.

  • After the Raiders won Super Bowl XV in 1981, Davis had a plan in place for his players to seize Commissioner Pete Rozelle and remove him from the locker room on national television. Davis never gave the green light to go ahead.

  • Davis designed such extravagant rings celebrating the team's victory in Super Bowl XV, that the NFL, which previously paid for the rings, set a maximum amount it would pay for future Super Bowl rings.

  • Davis believes strongly in loyalty. When the Raiders won Super Bowl XVIII in 1984, seven former Raiders were either coaches or scouts.

  • In 1987, Davis signed a stadium agreement with Irwindale, Calif., and pocked a non-refundable $10 million. The deal disintegrated two years later over financial and site concerns.

  • Davis flirted with the idea of moving the Raiders to Sacramento in 1990, but later signed a lease extension in Los Angeles.

  • He has been selected a record eight times to present Hall of Fame inductees: Alworth, Jim Otto, George Blanda, Willie Brown, Gene Upshaw, Fred Biletnikoff, Art Shell and Ted Hendricks.

  • Davis was presented into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992 by former Raiders coach John Madden.

  • Davis was the fourth Jewish-American inducted into the football shrine, joining Sid Luckman, Sid Gillman and Ron Mix.

  • When a vote of league owners was held in 1995 on the Raiders' proposed move from Los Angeles to Oakland, Davis abstained from voting. The move was approved by one vote.

  • In 2001, Davis lost a $1.2 billion lawsuit that claimed the NFL sabotaged a deal for a new stadium in Hollywood Park and forced the team to leave Los Angeles.

  • But in September 2002, a LA Superior Court judge ordered a new trial, citing jury misconduct.

  • The only non-strike year under Davis in which the Raiders won fewer than seven games was 1997, when the team finished 4-12.

  • In Davis' 39 seasons with the Raiders, through 2001, they made the playoffs 20 times.

    Monday, September 23 Judge orders new trial due to jury misconduct -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Associated Press

    LOS ANGELES -- Citing jury misconduct, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge on Monday ordered a new trial in the Oakland Raiders' $1.2 billion conspiracy lawsuit against the National Football League.

    In a 9-3 vote last year, a Superior Court jury rejected the Raiders' claims that the NFL sabotaged the team's plans to build a new stadium in the Los Angeles area and that the team still owned the NFL rights to the Los Angeles market.

    The Raiders moved back to Oakland from Los Angeles in 1995 -- 13 years after they moved south.

    The misconduct allegation was raised after five jurors in last year's six-week trial said they overheard one member of the panel say he hated the Raiders and team owner Al Davis and would never vote in their favor, Raiders attorney Larry Feldman said.

    The ruling calling for a new trial was made by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard C. Hubbell, who heard the first trial.

    "The Raiders are elated with the court's decision and look forward to having an opportunity to try their case to a fair and impartial jury,'' Feldman said. "The Raiders have always believed that they would be playing football games at a state-of-the-art stadium at Hollywood Park today if it were not for the NFL's interference with their negotiations.''

    Feldman said a new trial date would be set Dec. 3.

    Feldman said the complaint was significant because the jury favored the NFL by a 9-3 vote. One additional vote for the Raiders would have resulted in a hung jury.

    "We're disappointed. We will review the decision with our attorneys,'' NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said from his New York City home.

    "We believe this is the right decision, a just decision,'' Raiders chief executive Amy Trask said from her office in Oakland. "The NFL celebrated too soon.''

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