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The World According to Al Davis

February 03, 1995

When Al Davis lets it fly, he really lets it fly.

Morning Briefing moves aside like a San Diego safety today to make room for the Raider owner taking off on a variety of subjects Thursday.

Coach-in-a-box: The 1988 hiring of Mike Shanahan, now coaching at Denver, was probably not his greatest decision, Davis admitted.

"When he was here, he was just overwhelmed.

"He's grown up now. He was so insecure when he was here (addressing the team), he made them put a box here so he'd seem taller."

The old end-around: Why did Shanahan ever leave Denver as an assistant?

"They fired him for sneaking around, doing things underhanded against the coach," Davis said.

I am not the coach!A perception exists that Davis pulls the strings, coaching from above. Not so, he says.

"I loved it in the '70s and '60s and even the early '80s, but that's ancient history. (In Los Angeles) I've never gone to a staff meeting, on offense or on defense. I've never gone to a quarterback meeting. I am not the coach here! I'm the owner of the team. This is my team.

"How it is conceivable to anyone in their right minds that I am coaching. . . . I go to maybe two practices a week. I might yell at an individual. I might say something to someone. But how in God's name I could be the coach? That's ridiculous."

Trivia time: How many of the nine Raider head coaches after the first were not previously Raider assistants?

Pick a number, any number: How many years does Mike White's contract cover?

"It could be one, two, three, four or five," Davis said, leaking those top-secret details. "No, it's not one or five."

Why San Diego lost: Deion Sanders nearly signed with the Raiders, Davis said. Lucky for the 49ers he didn't.

"If they don't make that move, they wouldn't be where they are today. One or two guys sometimes make a difference. If they don't have Deion to take away half the field, they don't win it."

Why Dallas won: Defensive lineman Charles Haley "wanted to be a Raider too," Davis says. "They (49ers) wouldn't give him to us.

"They didn't think Dallas would be a threat to them. They didn't mind Haley going to Dallas. Everybody talks about Emmitt (Smith), but if they don't have Haley, they (the Cowboys) don't win two titles."

Maybe for the waters: At one time, Mike White "had his choice, be head coach at Cal or head coach at Stanford," Davis said. "Why he chose Cal, I'll never know."

Get out your Telestrators: Davis on strategy: "Everybody knows what I want. I want to attack vertically. I want a machine-like team."

Trivia answer: Two, Shanahan and Al Davis.

Quotebook: Davis on the 49ers: "We've got to find a way to control that group up in San Francisco. I don't mean moving up there. I mean on the field. That's do-able."

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