The Las Vegas Raiders’ storied history has taken many turns throughout the years. Of course, the team has been prevalent in both the Los Angeles and Bay Area sports culture, largely thanks to Al Davis.
Davis was one of many owners in charge of the Raiders franchise, with the team’s history dating back to 1960. Initial ownership was comprised of a group of Oakland businessmen, headed by real estate developer Y. Charles Soda. The group was brought together after the AFL lost one of their franchises to the NFL.
Oakland initially seemed like an odd choice for the AFL to start their new franchise. There was no professional stadium in Oakland and the San Francisco 49ers of the NFL dominated the Bay Area. Eventually, the ownership group was able to secure a home in Kezar Stadium and later the 49ers famed Candlestick Park.
Just one year later in 1961, only two of the original seven owners remained. F. Wayne Valley and Charles McGah purchased the remaining shares and assumed control, with Valley at the head. Prior to the 1963 season, Valley brought in Davis as head coach and general manager, starting his long history with the franchise. One of Davis’s first changes to the franchise was dropping the original gold color, leaving the Raiders’ signature Silver and Black.
Davis would remain a central Raiders figure from there on out, eventually purchasing a 10% stake in the team in 1966. Under Davis’s mentoring, the team rose to greatness. After bringing in head coach John Madden, the Raiders went on to win one Super Bowl and six division championships in the 1970s.
Davis eventually gained a majority stake of the team and masterminded the Raiders’ move to Los Angeles in 1982 and move back to Oakland in 1994. Throughout all his years with the Raiders, Davis remained heavily involved in daily operations and player personnel. He was the team’s general manager up until 2011 when he hired Hue Jackson. After Davis’s death in 2011, his son Mark Davis became the Raiders’ primary owner.
Under Mark Davis, the team unsuccessfully attempted to move back to Los Angeles. After their petition was voted down by the NFL owners, Davis then began to focus on Las Vegas. In 2016, Davis helped contribute to a new NFL quality stadium in Las Vegas. By 2017, Davis submitted his petition to relocate the franchise which was approved two months later. The Raiders’ first season in Las Vegas is set to begin with the start of the 2020 NFL Season.
Y. Charles Soda, Ed McGah, Robert Osborne, F. Wayne Valley, Harvey Binns, Donald Blessing and Charles Harney (1960-1961)
Ed McGah and F. Wayne Valley (1961-1966)
Al Davis, Ed McGah and F. Wayne Valley (1966-1976)
Al Davis and the McGah Family (1976-2005)
Al Davis (2005-2011)
Mark Davis (2011-Present)