Davidson from 1960 Washington Huskies College Yearbook
June 14, 1940|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Died||July 2, 2012
San Diego, California
|NFL Draft||1960 / Round 4 / Pick 46
(by the New York Giants)
|Jersey #(s)||72, 75, 83|
|AFL All-Star||1966, 1967, 1968|
|Honors||National Football League Champion: 1961; and American Football League Champion: 1967|
|NFL Green Bay Packers
NFL Washington Redskins
AFL Oakland Raiders
NFL Oakland Raiders
WFL Portland Storm
Benjamin Earl Franklin "Ben" Davidson, Jr. (June 14, 1940 – July 2, 2012) was an American collegiate and professional football player who was active between 1961 and 1972.
Davidson was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Avis (née Wheat) and Benjamin Earl Franklin, Senior. He attended Woodrow Wilson High School in the El Sereno neighborhood of Los Angeles, but did not play football in high school; because of his height (6 feet 8 inches), basketball and track were more to his liking. While attending East Los Angeles Community College, he was spotted by the football coach and asked to join the team. He was subsequently recruited to play at the University of Washington where he flourished as a member of two Rose Bowl winning teams and gained entry into professional football.
He was part of the 1961 champion Packers, who beat the Giants 37-0 in the championship game. He was then traded to the Washington Redskins for a fifth round draft choice, playing there in 1962 and 1963, until he was waived in 1964 after not meeting the team's strict weight guidelines.
Davidson is best remembered for playing in the American Football League with the Oakland Raiders, who signed him as a free agent and where he thrived as a pass rusher under coach John Madden. He played in Oakland from 1964 through 1972, and was part of the league merger in 1970.
On November 1, 1970, the Kansas City Chiefs led the Raiders 17–14 late in the fourth quarter, and a long run for a first-down by Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson apparently sealed victory for the Chiefs in the final minute when Dawson, as he lay on the ground, was speared by Davidson, who dove into Dawson with his helmet, provoking Chiefs’ receiver Otis Taylor to attack Davidson. After a bench-clearing brawl, offsetting penalties were called, nullifying the first down under the rules in effect at that time. The Chiefs were obliged to punt, and the Raiders tied the game on a George Blanda field goal with eight seconds to play. Davidson's play not only cost the Chiefs a win, but Oakland won the AFC West with a season record of 8–4–2, while Kansas City finished 7–5–2 and out of the playoffs. After the season, the NFL changed its rules regarding personal fouls, separating them from ones called during the play, and ones called after the play.
Davidson appeared in a few films including The Black Six, M*A*S*H and Conan the Barbarian. He portrayed Porter the Bouncer in Behind the Green Door and a convict football player in Necessary Roughness. He played himself in Miller Lite ads featuring John Madden and Rodney Dangerfield. He also appeared in the short lived 1976 show Ball Four, the 1977 pilot for Lucan and the 1984 TV series Goldie and the Bears.
Davidson and fellow Oakland Raider teammate Tom Keating were avid motorcycle riders and completed both a ride from California to the Panama Canal and a four-month, 14,000-mile trip across the United States while with the Raiders.
Ben Davidson died of prostate cancer on July 2, 2012, at age 72. At the time of his death he was retired and living in San Diego, California. He is survived by his wife Kathy, and daughters Janella, Dana and Vicki.
- "Family Tree Maker's Genealogy Site: Genealogy Report: Descendants of Benjamin (Frank) Franklin Davidson". Familytreemaker.genealogy.com. Retrieved 2012-07-26.
- 1961 NFL Championship Game at NFL.Com
- KC Chiefs website
- DtchMastr (2011-02-07). ""Big" Ben Davidson - Oakland Raiders". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-07-26.
- "Ben Davidson, Defensive End, Dies at 72". The New York Times. July 3, 2012.
- Dillman, Lisa (2012-07-04). "Ben Davidson dies at 72; Oakland Raider, fixture in beer commercials". latimes.com. Retrieved 2012-07-26.