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Dan Jenkins
December 02, 1974
Big Boss Al Davis is one, they say, and Davis says Coach John Madden is. So all the players need be is good
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December 02, 1974

What The Raiders Have Is Genius

Big Boss Al Davis is one, they say, and Davis says Coach John Madden is. So all the players need be is good

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Didn't he enjoy a nice edge, being the only NFL owner with a thorough knowledge of the game in every department, having been a coach, a commissioner, a talent hunter? Well, O.K., George Halas, if you want to count him. But there's only one Al Davis, and seeing as how so many other owners are dummies....

"You said that!" says Davis. "You said that. I didn't say that."

Was he serious about the Super Bowl changing to a two-out-of-three playoff?

"I don't think that's impossible," he says. "You get the best team as your champion that way. None of this 'on any given day' stuff, which happens to be true. I'd like to see two-out-of-three. It wouldn't bother me to be playing football in late January."

Didn't the confusion of the runner-up teams in the playoffs bother him?

"I was for it," he says. "I'm for competition. This provides it. Some teams wrap up the division, like us this time, but a lot of teams have a shot to make the playoffs. Sustains interest. You expand and let only the division winners go to the playoffs and suppose those divisions are all weakened and everybody wraps it up early? You could have two, three weeks of regular-season games that don't mean anything."

What would he do with television?

"I'd go Sunday afternoon, Sunday night and Monday night. Give all three networks their shot," he says. "Everybody has their own turf. The public gets the best."

Is the mystique of the pro game justified?

"I'm going to say something that will make a lot of guys howl. You hear all about the zones and the '53' and the three-man line and the two middle backers. But most defense comes from the college coaches. It has to. They go 11 on 11. We go 10 on 11 because we don't want the quarterback to run. I haven't seen anything on defense that didn't come from the colleges. What the pros have done, however, is refine the passing game. I'll give us that."

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