Al Davis. The man who was a coach, then an AFL Commissioner, and became Chairman of the most lethal team in NFL history. Yes, the only team to have the greatest fan base in the NFL, the legendary Silver and Black, the Oakland Raiders.
Mr. Davis has always loved the vertical game. Mr. Davis practically invented the "Bomb" and he definitely took advantage of its potential.
In the early days of football, the teams were geared to a more rushing attack than anything else. Al Davis gets to coach the Oakland Raiders and with his speedy receivers, dominates the AFL.
In 1967, when Al Davis was given the reins of the Oakland Raiders, he managed to win the AFL Championship game with Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff, who was named MVP of Super Bowl XI.
"Freddie" Biletnikoff had the ability to get wide open for huge yardage down the field and Fred also had great hands. Yeah, he may have used the now-extinct "Stickum," but it was early football.
Davis soon signed John Madden in 1969. Madden knew Davis loved the bomb, so what better way to please the boss than by getting a California favorite, "The Mad Bomber" Daryl La Monica.
If you want to get the ball downfield, you better have some fast wide receivers. So here we go again with receivers Fred Biletnikoff and Warren Wells. Wells had 14 TDs that year to complement Biletnikoffs 12 TDs. Not bad numbers at all.
1974 was a great year for Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders when they signed a speedster by the name of Cliff Branch!
At 5'11" and weighing a mere 170 pounds, Branch was an amazingly fast and talented wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders.
In 1974, Branch led the NFL in receiving yards with 1,092. He also led that year in receiving touchdowns with 13.
Cliff Branch will one day be in the NFL Hall of Fame. A two page article could be written on Cliff Branch. His speed and ability is simply unsurpassed.
But in short, Branch had a 14-year tenure in Silver and Black and scored 67 TDs, 8685 yards receiving with 501 receptions. Speed, baby.
Al Davis. You have to wonder what is going on in that brilliant mind of his. In 1990, Al Davis managed to pick up an Olympic class runner named Willie Gault, who had been drafted in '83 by the Chicago Bears.
Yet, he had the quality that Davis required and to make things tougher for opponents in 1990, the Oakland Raiders also had the speed and power of RB Bo Jackson!
The next WR for the Oakland Raiders who brought speed and excellent hands was of course, Heisman Trophy winner, Tim Brown. One great quality about Tim Brown is that, no matter who was at QB, he made them look great.
Both Jeff Hostetler and Rich Gannon had the opportunity to play with this legendary WR. Tim Brown played the vertical game in excellent form.
There was also another Olympic WR named James Jett. Once James Jett caught the ball downfield, it was over! The man was uncatchable!
He went to the house and both Al Davis and the Raider Nation loved it!
Of course Al Davis always had the speedy RBs to complement his WRs. Quickly, there were Kenny King, Napoleon Kaufman and "Bo," to name a few :)
Today, the Oakland Raiders have RB Darren McFadden and he definitely is fast!
Al Davis has always put the speed trademark on his beloved Silver and Black. It is this trademark that has announcers at the NFL draft predicting the fastest players will go to none other than...Oakland.
Recently drafted players Louis Murphy and Jacoby Ford are proof of Al Davis idealism. Both of these athletes will leave opponents in the dust next season. Add the speed of Darren McFadden and the arm of Jason Campbell and you get a smilin' Al.
These two wide receivers are exactly what Al Davis wants in order to get a fourth Super Bowl Championship ring.
Go Al Davis and keep on getting those speedsters in all areas of the field! Go Oakland Raiders!