clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Raiders owner Mark Davis seems like a mostly nice guy who is also a lunatic

An insane person gained control over an NFL team and that's great.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Davis is the muppet who owns the Oakland Raiders. He literally does nothing else. Unlike the rest of the NFL bloc of oil/real estate/investment robber barons, Davis doesn't really know anything other than running a football team, and even then he didn't have to prove himself in any capacity before taking over the organization. Al Davis passed away and relinquished the team to his son, who has since taken the charge of leading the team out of its decade-plus funk and potentially into a new era in Los Angeles.

That isn't to say Mark Davis isn't qualified. That may be true, but let's start with the things we know. Davis is most definitely different. Tim Keown at ESPN wrote a revealing portrait of the Raiders owner, who had heretofore been reclusive from media, even if he isn't personally a reclusive man.

You should read it because, for goodness sake, Davis really is a lunatic. This is the first paragraph:

Most days start the same -- behind the wheel of a white 1997 Dodge Caravan SE outfitted with a bubble-top Mark III conversion kit, a VHS player mounted to the roof inside and a r8hers personalized plate. Mark Davis pilots this machine from his East Bay home to the nearest P.F. Chang's, where he sits at the left end of the bar, same spot every time, puts his white fanny pack on the counter, orders an iced tea and unfolds the day's newspapers. Beside him on the bar, next to the papers, is his 2003 Nokia push-button phone with full texting capability. When someone calls and asks him where he is, he says, "I'm in my office," and sends a knowing nod to the bartenders. It gets 'em every time.

Davis talks about turning Southwest flights into first class experiences, the time he negotiated against his dad on behalf of wide receiver Cliff Branch, and his savant-like understanding of football and odd managerial techniques, like the time he had dinner with general manager Reggie McKenzie after a preseason loss to the Cardinals:

With no explanation, Davis ripped the top corners off a piece of paper and handed them to McKenzie.

"This is what I need you to get me," Davis said.

McKenzie, flummoxed, turned the tiny triangles over in his hands.

Seeing nothing, McKenzie gave up. "What is this?" he asked.

"Two corners," Davis said. "I need you to get me two corners."

Such is the man who may be leading the Raiders out of Oakland. The two are almost meant for each other. Davis, running the NFL's 31st-most valuable franchise, insists he wants to stay in Oakland but can't get any public funding from a city that insists it'd love to have him. The Chargers and Rams, meanwhile, are thumbing their noses at cities willing to spend hundreds of millions to build new stadiums.

Oakland doesn't have money. Neither does Davis, at least relative to his peers. The Raiders' threat to move to Los Angeles amounts to hoping that another team moves so that they can crash on the couch. It's the perfect plan for the man who wears his hair like that on purpose.


"He ain't changing it," Branch says. "When people say something, he just laughs. The more they tell him, the more he's going to keep it. If they back off and don't say anything, he might change it."

Mark Davis may be the weirdest owner in the NFL, and he might have been the most likable if relocation wasn't such an odious process. Even still, he likely has a much higher Q score than either Stan Kroenke or Dean Spanos at the moment. The Raiders are actually good -- at least, relative to the Rams and Chargers -- and if he has foibles, they're the sort that regular people have, like getting dressed in the morning.

Just look at that picture way up there. No, that man would not be your first choice to run the franchise you love, but yes, you most certainly would consider getting all-you-can-eat wings at Hooters with him.

You can feel the full impact of Davis' insanity by heading over to ESPN.