Tim Keown’s ESPN The Magazine feature on Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis is a highly entertaining, well-reported read. Like many other highly entertaining, well-reported articles, Keown absolutely crushes his opening paragraph describing Davis. In short, Davis is the NFL’s best soccer
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.
The van with the custom license plate. The fanny pack. The cellphone. P.F. Chang’s. Davis is just your everyday American hero who so happens to own an NFL franchise that used to belong to his father, Al Davis.
The entire piece is worth your time and filled with all sorts of gems. At one point, Keown refers to Davis’ hair as “not so much a haircut as a feat of engineering.” Of course, there’s also that whole thing about possibly moving the Raiders out of Oakland to Los Angeles. That’s ultimately what will define Davis’ legacy in Oakland.
That, and the hair. And the fanny pack. And the van.