Ben Davidson

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For other people named Ben Davidson, see Ben Davidson (disambiguation).
Ben Davidson
refer to caption
Davidson from 1960 Washington Huskies College Yearbook
No. 72, 75, 83
Position: Defensive end
Personal information
Date of birth: (1940-06-14)June 14, 1940
Place of birth: Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Date of death: July 2, 2012(2012-07-02) (aged 72)
Place of death: San Diego, California
Height: 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)
Weight: 275 lb (125 kg)
Career information
College: Washington
NFL draft: 1961 / Round: 4 / Pick: 46
Career history
Career highlights and awards
  • AFL All-Star (1966, 1967, 1968)
  • National Football League champion (1961)
  • American Football League champion (1967)
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

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.

Early years[edit]

Davidson was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Avis (née Wheat) and Benjamin Earl Franklin, Senior.[1] 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.

Professional career[edit]

Davidson was selected in the fourth round of the 1961 NFL Draft by the New York Giants, but was traded before the season started to the Green Bay Packers.

He was part of the 1961 champion Packers, who beat the Giants 37-0 in the championship game.[2] 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.[3]

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.

He was an AFL All-Star in 1966, 1967, and 1968. In the mid-1970s, he also played for the Portland Storm in the World Football League .

Dawson-Taylor incident[edit]

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.[4][5] 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.

Entertainment career[edit]

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.

Personal life[edit]

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.[6]

Ben Davidson died of prostate cancer on July 2, 2012, at age 72.[7][8] 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.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]