Raiders’ Al Davis Chose Gruden Over Belichick in 1998

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Raiders' Al Davis Chose Gruden Over Belichick in 1998 Raiders owner Al Davis has made some questionable football decisions in his 40-plus years at the helm in Oakland, but none may be more painful these days than one he made about a decade ago.

In Saturday's news conference introducing Richard Seymour, Davis dropped a bomb of a story to the media. According to the 80-year-old Brockton, Mass., native, the Raiders chose Jon Gruden over Bill Belichick in 1998. Davis wanted Gruden while Oakland CEO Amy Trask preferred Belichick.

Three years later, Belichick's New England Patriots beat the Raiders in the "Snow Bowl" playoff game at Foxoboro Stadium (see also: tuck rule). Just weeks after that miraculous win, Belichick led New England to its first Super Bowl title — his first of three over the next four years. In addition to the three championship rings, Belichick owns a 102-42 career regular-season record and a 14-3 postseason record in nine seasons as Patriots head coach.

After Gruden led Oakland to a 38-26 record in four seasons as Raiders head coach, Davis traded him to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002 for four draft picks. The young head coach led the Bucs to a Super Bowl XXXVII victory in his very first year in Tampa.

Nice moves, Al.

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