Ben Davidson, 1940 - 2012

Posted: Wednesday, July 04, 2012 by Travis Cody in

Former Oakland Raider defensive end Ben Davidson has died from prostate cancer.  He was 72.

Big Ben was the typical Raider player from the late 60s and early 70s...mean and nasty, playing up to and sometimes through the whistle.  He wasn't a prototypical end at 6'8" and 275lbs, but he was fast on the outside and could run down quarterbacks and had enough speed to chase down running backs from the weak side.

He used his forearms as clubs.  He speared downed runners with his helmet.  He tackled high and wrapped up quarterbacks by the head.  If he jumped offside, he went ahead and rolled an offensive lineman, because it was a 5 yard penalty anyway so he might as well get his money's worth out of it.

You know what?  So did a lot of defensive players of that era.  I don't say it was right or wrong.  That's how defense was played in the 1960s and 1970s.  Don't look at the era through today's prism.

He was a 3 time AFL All Star.  He was a prime member and proud instigator of the Raiders' fearsome 11 Angry Men defense that started the Raiders on the long history of practically owning the lead in penalty yardage every season.  He retired in 1971 and forged a career as a pitch man and an actor. 

Raider Nation mourns a true Raider. 

Benjamin Earl Davidson
14 June 1940 - 3 July 2012


  1. i hate to hear of someone dying from cancer. it's a terrible disease. may his family find healing and may Ben rest in peace.

  1. Sorry to hear that. he was a helluva hitter and one of the folks I remember from the Raider's teams I really enjoyed watching.