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And what does the Wilson story tell you about Davis and the Raiders?
•They will not lose a player they really want. Wilson is now their quarterback of the future, and they don't have to worry about the USFL chasing him until 1987.
•Davis may have a legendary ego, but he will not let it stand in the way of improving the team.
•Davis has an eye for who can play the game.
•Davis has a pipeline to everywhere. He's wired to what's going on around the league—and around the other league.
•The Raiders are the winningest team in the NFL over the last 21 years.
May 6, 1984, The International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel: The Raiders are showing their 1983 highlights film. Some 500 people have gathered. There are four buffet lines and a 60-foot bar. A trophy case holds three silver footballs, the trophies from three Super Bowl triumphs, including 1984. From the ceiling hang banners representing four AFL or AFC championships.
Players mingle in a crowd sprinkled with celebrities—state senators and congressmen and entertainers. Jane Fonda and her husband, Tom Hayden, chitchat with fullback Frank Hawkins. Hawkins and defensive end Howie Long have just played in a celebrity flag football game with Cathy Lee Crosby. Marcus Allen is talking about a future assignment, helping to judge the Miss Universe contest. All-Pro tight end Todd Christensen, once a Cowboy castoff, is telling somebody about his new TV show, his own, which reaches 80 markets.
The 22-minute highlights film is over. LoCasale adjusts the microphone for his height, or lack of it. Little Al, they call the 5'4", 175-pound LoCasale. Davis is Big Al.
"In 1983 our team battled not only opponents on the field," LoCasale says, "but a powerful combination of the NFL's propaganda machine, the federal courts, the state courts, the halls of Congress. I can assure you their campaign to prevent the Los Angeles Raiders from being the world champion Los Angeles Raiders will not go unchallenged. Our goal is the same in the courts as on the field: Just win, baby!"