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Elvis Grbac: Mike Shanahan Ordered Me to Throw a Football at Al Davis’ Head

With the passing of Al Davis over the weekend came many stories about how he changed the game of football for the better.  Davis was glorified by players, fans, and writers and much of the praise he received is deserved.  While Davis left behind a legacy of positives — as we outlined in our piece on Saturday — the fact that he was not a very well-liked figure across much of the league has been somewhat lost.

On Wednesday, Rick Maese of the Washington Post dug up a 13-year-old NY Times article that reminds us Davis had as many friends as he did enemies when he was alive.  One of those enemies was Mike Shanahan, who was the head coach of the Raiders for just over a season in 1988 and 1989 before a feud about money became too much for both men to handle.

In 1994, Shanahan was the offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers.  Prior to a game with the Raiders, he was working with quarterback Elvis Grbac, who says Shanahan ordered him to throw a ball at Davis’ head from about 30 feet away.

“I can’t do that,” Grbac said he replied. “If I hit him, do you know what he could do to me?”

Being the control freak that he is, Shanahan simply glared at Grbac and said, “Throw the ball.”  The quarterback obliged but Davis was able to get out of the way just in time, leaving the pigskin sailing just a few inches from his head. Unsurprisingly, Davis stared in the direction of Shanahan and made an obscene gesture.  A former Raiders coach who witnessed the exchange confirmed it at the time the article was written.

There are a number of similar stories floating around out there about people who could not get along with Davis and had a run-in with the Raider legend at some point.  Davis certainly left his mark on the game of football, but let us not assume that means his reign came with an absence of sworn enemies.



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  • Anonymous

    Ha ha ha Shanny just thought Al Davis at the time needed a little help picking that scab off his forehead is all.

  • Anonymous

    Ha ha ha Shanny just thought Al Davis at the time needed a little help picking that scab off his forehead is all.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_J2EKEOPX5HX2X6SCD5BJGPF7LE MyDog1

    Just goes to show you that Elvis Grbac wasn’t as good as he was touted to be…Joe Montana wouldn’t have missed!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_J2EKEOPX5HX2X6SCD5BJGPF7LE MyDog1

    Just goes to show you that Elvis Grbac wasn’t as good as he was touted to be…Joe Montana wouldn’t have missed!

  • brentnsandie

    Shanahan is a bitch… always has been, always will be.

  • brentnsandie

    Shanahan is a bitch… always has been, always will be.

  • Anonymous

    ABOUT SHANAHAN HE IS ANOTHER AL DAVIS LOOK AT HIS FACE

  • Anonymous

    ABOUT SHANAHAN HE IS ANOTHER AL DAVIS LOOK AT HIS FACE

  • Anonymous

    Mike Shannahan has no class and he’s not a very good head coach. What would his record have been at Denver without Elway?

  • Anonymous

    Mike Shannahan has no class and he’s not a very good head coach. What would his record have been at Denver without Elway?

  • Anonymous

    ABOUT SHANAHAN HE IS ANOTHER AL DAVIS JUST LOOK AT HIS FACE

  • Anonymous

    ABOUT SHANAHAN HE IS ANOTHER AL DAVIS JUST LOOK AT HIS FACE

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SM4BMIY7WRA7BGJST4LRYBRGEI peri-pheral

    attempted murder put shannahan in the gas chamber

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SM4BMIY7WRA7BGJST4LRYBRGEI peri-pheral

    attempted murder put shannahan in the gas chamber

  • http://twitter.com/DJStylus2020 Abba Eban

     Elvis Grbac and Shanahan should have been suspended and fined, They should fine Mike still for this story it’s in very poor taste and class. Mike is a loser and Al is a Icon go figure!

  • http://twitter.com/DJStylus2020 Abba Eban

     Elvis Grbac and Shanahan should have been suspended and fined, They should fine Mike still for this story it’s in very poor taste and class. Mike is a loser and Al is a Icon go figure!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CG4VSUWQGVN4ZZP3YLI4QLHKDQ RW

    I’m surprised that there weren’t more attempts to take his head off.  Al Davis was a total jerk!  The Raider will be better off without him micro-managing the team.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7ZHKECHRK7Y4J6MJYLAIPRAMHY mustang

    Too bad he didn’t hit him!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7ZHKECHRK7Y4J6MJYLAIPRAMHY mustang

    Too bad he didn’t hit him!

  • Anonymous

    Don’t bet on it. Without the receiving corps and front line he had…Montana woudln’t have been nearly as successful as he was. He wasn’t that great.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t bet on it. Without the receiving corps and front line he had…Montana woudln’t have been nearly as successful as he was. He wasn’t that great.

  • Anonymous

    10x the class Al Davis ever had

  • Anonymous

    10x the class Al Davis ever had

  • Anonymous

    Attempted fix for th NFL you mean!

  • Anonymous

    Attempted fix for th NFL you mean!

  • Anonymous

    Davis was as much an icon as bin Laden. Too bad he wasn’t in that pickup with Billy Martin all those Christmases ago!

  • Anonymous

    Davis was as much an icon as bin Laden. Too bad he wasn’t in that pickup with Billy Martin all those Christmases ago!

  • http://twitter.com/tireball johnnyhair

    guy still had a lot of talent. been plenty of qb’s with a great receiver who haven’t won a playoff game much less a super bowl

  • http://twitter.com/tireball johnnyhair

    guy still had a lot of talent. been plenty of qb’s with a great receiver who haven’t won a playoff game much less a super bowl

  • Anonymous

    I agree Shanahan is a bitch and an Ahole he got the Denver coaching job by back stabbing Dan Reeves when he was recuperating from a heart attack. He and John Elway went to the owner and threatened to quit unless he made Shanahan the coach. I have disliked the jerk ever since and rooted for Denver to lose whenever i saw them play,

  • Anonymous

    I agree Shanahan is a bitch and an Ahole he got the Denver coaching job by back stabbing Dan Reeves when he was recuperating from a heart attack. He and John Elway went to the owner and threatened to quit unless he made Shanahan the coach. I have disliked the jerk ever since and rooted for Denver to lose whenever i saw them play,

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000156060406 Sonya Gilchrist

    I personally think it is so unnecessary  to speak this way about someone who passed and when your time comes… you can sit and wonder what everyone is saying (good or BAD) about you and how tacky it was to post this article  during this time of bereavement for his family. Al Davis has to pay for his sins not either of you haters and FYI… YOU are not the JUDGE!!!

  • Anonymous

    Shanahan was touded as a brilliant head coach ….. NOT   He won because of Elway, Shannon Sharpe and Terrell Davis. wonce they were gone so was Mike’s brillance

  • Anonymous

    Just goes to show you how big of a coward Mike Shanahan is when he has to get someone else, one of his players no doubt, to do his dirty work for him in this case. Bigtime coward! Come to think of it, I’m quite certain if a poll was taken among 20 NFL players who knew both Davis and Shanahan equally and to see which of the two people they preferred to work for most, the ‘Godfather’ would win in a landslide. Remember, Shanahan only went as far in Denver as John Elway took him and that’s all that needs to be said about this cowardly weasel.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-M-Jones/100000109671579 David M Jones

    Shanahan is also the same guy that encouraged chop blocking on the offensive line. That’s the lowest of low, to allow, even encourage your players to mess with the career and livelihood of another player shows that he is the ROCK BOTTOM of bottom dwellers. I’m glad he and his son are turning out to be nothing more than average, over rated turds when it comes to football.

  • Anonymous

    And when he made it to the AFC championship game with Jake freaking Plummer as QB? Anyone who questions Shannahan’s ability as a coach either hasn’t watched his teams or doesn’t know much about football. You can question his ability to judge talent, but as a coach, he’s solid. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cindy-Bishop-Hernandez/1302722589 Cindy Bishop Hernandez

    Why harp on Shanahan?  People say he was only a good coach because of Elway, Sharpe and Davis?  WHO IS THE ONE THAT DRAFTED THEM AND PUT THEM IN THE LINUP???  Shanahan had and still has every right to despise Al Davis.

  • Anonymous

    Just doing what Al Davis taught him–”Just win, baby!”

  • Anonymous

    I’m a Raiders fan and will admit that Al Davis not in control is the best thing that could have happened to the team!

    One question I have not heard anyone ask is…..Who owns the team now??

  • Anonymous

    Shanahan is a JOKE!!  All the money Dan Snider has spent and talent Shanahan has drafted, and STILL Washington cant do squat. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_W6SPO3KFOPOOEMY5NAS2FECRCQ ARNIE

    Aint gonna talk no crap about Davis or Shanahan like the rest of you know it alls but this much i will say…..Al Davis rubbed some people the wrong way because the man proved throughout his carear that he kissed no ass nowhere nohow, noway……he didnt have to cause in most cases he knew what was and he was gonna do it his way like it or not, it was his team…………..

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_W6SPO3KFOPOOEMY5NAS2FECRCQ ARNIE

    His Son, also Davis wasnt the only owner of the raiders he was the general managing partner……A lawyer named Brooks used to own them also but am not sure he still does

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Terry-Bliers/1697410895 Terry Bliers

    98.76% of you are idiots. The story isnt known fact. Shannahan denied it ever happened. At the time Grbac was cut and upset and looking for retaliation. We’ll never know 100% the truth but you idiots will read any story and deem it to be so. I’m not a Green Day fan but American Idiot sure comes to mind.

  • Anonymous

    Sharpe and Elway were’nt drafted by Shanahan, he only drafted Davis in 96′ out of those 3. And Elway and Sharpe were in the lineup long before Shanahan became coach.

    Shanahan, now with Washington, is a Vice President there and get to pick the players drafted. Yet, with all the money Dan Snyder has spent on draft picks and free agents that Shanahan wanted, Washington STILL has not done anything. They Suk!

    Shanahan as a head coach is terrible. As an off. cord., he is excellent.

  • Anonymous

    Shanahan got to complacent in Denver.  He was a good coach for a while, but got too comfy in his control.  Tim Tebow being named starting quarterback in Denver for the Maimi game, now that is good news!!!

  • Anonymous

    He won 2 super bowls as a head coach.

    Stick to the fashion articles if you don’t know anymore than that about football.

    John Elway lost 3 SB’s until Shanny came in, and then he won 2 in a row, so you may want to check your sources.

  • Anonymous

    The Crips or the Bloods most likely.

  • Anonymous

    Shanny didn’t draft them, but he sure as hell coached them to back to back Super Bowl victories.

    People say Shanahan could not win a SB without Elway, but it was actually the other way around.

  • Anonymous

    The Redskins are 3-1 and leading the NFC East.

    Tell the truth…you just started watching football this season didn’t you?

  • Anonymous

    And they are doing it with Rex Grossman. If that is not good coaching then what is?