The Raiders began playing in 1960 in the American Football League before it was merged with the NFL.
The team wasn’t doing so well in the first few years until Al Davis took over as head coach. Mr. Davis is a versatile guy — at time or another he has been head coach, assistant coach, GM, commissioner and owner of an NFL team. In the early years coaching the Raiders, he also sold hot dogs and was one of those security guys in the stands that checks your ticket but they don’t really look at it.
“OK, you’re good.”
“You didn’t even look at it. I paid good money for this ticket. At least don’t act like you don’t care if I made it at Kinkos using Microsoft Paint.”
When Al Davis was young, his family lived in a sixth-floor walk up in Brooklyn. He always said walking up those stairs all the time was great for his conditioning. So when he started coaching the Raiders, he built a six-story apartment building on the field, and made his players run up and down it while his mother yelled at them. “Come right home from school, and don’t let me catch you hanging around your hooligan friends playing stickball!” she bellowed.
Mr. Davis is well known for the saying, “Just win, baby!” although he says it came from a misunderstanding. As a young coach at USC, he was out with his wife on a date, when a group of his players passed their table and one of them farted. His wife began coughing and her eyes began to water. She complained about the player’s manners and Al smiled and said, ‘It’s just wind, baby, just wind, baby.”
The players misoverheard him, and the legend was born that day.