Al Davis gave his Raiders the royal treatment
I just bumped into marketing rep Mike Ornstein in the lobby of my hotel. He was a longtime executive for the then-Los Angeles Raiders and reminded me of something Al Davis did in early 1984 when the Silver & Black played Washington in the Super Bowl at Tampa.
Every time Raiders players would come back to their hotel rooms for the night -– whether it was after a team dinner, practice, whatever -– Davis would make sure there were gifts waiting for them. Little things –- watches, T-shirts, sweatsuits, radios etc. He also picked up the tab for all the incidentals when the team checked out, the day after winning the game.
That kind of stuff wouldn’t be allowed now; it would count against the salary cap. But at the time, it almost provided a psychological edge. After all, players from the teams mingle and talk during the week. And while the Raiders were getting gifts in their rooms, the Redskins were staying at a Holiday Inn. One Washington player once told me that his hotel-room treat was breaking the paper sanitized-for-your-protection strip on the toilets.
-- Sam Farmer
Photo: Al Davis, left, receives the Super Bowl trophy in 1984 from then-NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, right, as Brent Musburger -- then with CBS -- gets ready to interview the Raiders' owner. Credit: Associated Press