Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis is becoming more like his late father, Al Davis, according to two Raiders legends with close ties to the organization.
Cliff Branch, a four-time All-Pro for the Raiders, and Hall of Famer Willie Brown talked about Davis from National Sports Memorabilia in Petaluma, CA.
“He’s just like Al,” Branch said. “Smart. Brilliant. He knows the game, and he knows that he needs to be a little more hands-on. That’s going to be the next step for him.”
Mark Davis, who has controlled the Raiders since 2011, guided his franchise to a 12-4 record in 2016, but the Raiders fell apart this season after starting 2-0. Their record sits at 6-9 after losing to the Eagles on Christmas night.
Jack Del Rio may be coaching to save his job, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Offensive coordinator Todd Downing will almost surely be fired, according to the same report.
“It’s been really hard on [Davis] because we were expecting to get back to the playoffs,” Branch said.
Branch does community and public relations for the Raiders and sometimes travels on the team plane. Brown, according to the Raiders’ website, works for Oakland’s squad development department.
“He’s getting tougher, and meaner,” Brown said, with a chuckle, of Davis. “He’s having fun you know? It’s not as good when you’re losing of course, but he’ll get it all together.”
Davis has already made Oakland’s dreadful years that followed its Super Bowl XXXVII loss a distant memory.
“The era of bad drafts, and bad coaches,” Branch recalled. “[Mark Davis] brought in Jack, Jack has turned this thing around.”
The Raiders’ performance towards the end of the season, however, may be the deciding factor when it comes to Del Rio’s future in Oakland. Mark Davis, much like his late father, wants to win. And he’d rather not wait.
“His goal is to try and win a championship in Oakland before we go to Las Vegas,” said Branch, who earned three Super Bowl rings playing for Al Davis. “I have a lot of respect for Mark, and I think he’s doing a hell of a job.”