Review by Jim Lyons
This book is an excellent inside look at Al Davis and the Raiders. Davis lived and breathed football and this book captures Davis as he was. Davis loved fast players and quarterbacks with big arms who could throw it to fast players. Sometimes it worked for Davis and sometimes it didn’t. There are many many great stories told by true insiders about Davis and his players. The stories include why Davis drafted JaMarcus Russell even though there were many red flags about Russell and why Davis drafted Todd Marinovich instead of Brett Farve. While Davis had many successes in the draft he also made mistakes and Kingdon and Kebric are like a good umpire, they call the stories as they saw them during their long careers with the Raiders and with Davis. When you finish the book you will have a deep appreciation for the entire person of Al Davis, not just the football side of Davis. You will experience his love for football and everything associated with football, his incredible work ethic and how he would never give in or back down, right to the end of his life. I highly recommend this book.
Review by Jennifer L. Paynton
(Jennifer) I bought this book for my husband, who is a huge Raider fan. The book arrived early so I decided to read it, before he got back from a business trip. Wonderful read and insight to Al Davis. For me, being a female and not a huge NFL or Raider fan I thought the book was very well written, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
(Husband) - My wife bought this book for me as I could not wait to read it. Being a huge Raider fan I could not wait for this book to come out. I was truly amazed with the behind the scenes insight to Al Davis, the Raiders, the two Scouts (Bruce and Jon) and the inner workings of the Raider franchise. I have followed the Raiders very closely for the last 50 years, and I had no knowledge of 90% of the stories in this book. I have already lent the book to another huge Raider fan, whom I just told him... "you gotta read this book"!!!!! Nice work Mr. Corkran. Nice to see the book in Costco as well.
Review by K. Pederson
This book shows the many sides of a complex, dare I say genius, of a player and coach picker and trader, and a team owner that helped build American football. I bought this as a gift for a rabid fan, but decided to read it for myself. The book shows someone you never knew existed behind the public figure. Al Davis reminded me a bit of Steve Jobs. These stories paint a picture of someone who was careful with his image, innovative, sometimes charming and caring, yet an incredibly difficult person to work with, and single-minded when it came to his Raider organization.
I wish there were even more stories! I hope there will be another book.
From INSIDE THE LEAGUE
At Inside the League, we're always interested in a look behind the curtain when it comes to the football business, especially scouting. That's why we're excited about Al Davis: Behind the Raiders Shield, a new book about the legendary (and colorful) former Raiders owner who was Jerry Jones before there was a Jerry Jones. The book is co-written by longtime friend of ITL Jon Kingdon, who served as the Raiders' Director of College Scouting for 18 years and spent nearly 40 years with the team. At first blush, one might think a book about Davis would be a bit dated and inconsequential. After all, Davis has been dead for six years. What's more, the end of his tenure in Oakland was marked not by Super Bowls and innovations, but by controversial hirings, surprise firings, and losses. However, this one's different. First off, the people that worked with Davis are integral to the game today. Jon Gruden, Lane Kiffin, Ron Wolf and many more have developed fame (or infamy) on the field, in front offices or in the media after a long run with the Raiders. However, the best part is that the book is written not just for Raiders fans, but for fans of the inner game. The first three chapters are about Davis, but after that, the writers delve into many topics poorly explored by other books, such as the work done by former GM Ron Wolf; the team's draft philosophy built on speed; the team's willingness to experiment with position switches; and how the team sifted through free agency to find players that enjoyed unexpected success with the Silver and Black. There are also two chapters on Gruden, as well as the backstory on the Kiffin hiring process (as well as his termination); the near-hiring of Steve Sarkisian as head coach; and the time Jim Harbaugh came very close to becoming the Raiders' head coach. There are also two chapters on the draft, and how the team went about making its selections and what the team sought in its top prospects. "Greg Papa, who does (Raiders) play by play . . . was very close to Al," Kingdon said. "The first book I got, I drove over to his house and dropped it off to him. He called me later and said, 'I've read every book on Al Davis, but you captured him perfectly.'" For those people seeking real insights on Davis, this book will be a refreshing change from the kinds of books often written by loyalists.