I can't believe I had never heard this story before. This is classic. But allegedly Mike Shanahan once ordered QB Elvis Grbac to throw a ball at Al Davis' head during pregame warmups.
This occurred, I believe, the year after Shanahan was fired, and he was a coach on the 49ers staff. Read the story here.
Ryan Wilson did a solid job presenting the story. So I don't want to steal all of his thunder as you should just read his version, but I will say that Davis ducked just before the ball hit him, and immediately flipped off Shanahan.
I love this story. It was also confirmed by a Raiders assistant. But this pretty well sums up why the Shanahan-Davis working relationship didn't work. There just isn't enough room for two fiercely competitive egos like that.
It also sums up Grbac! That dude threw a beautiful pass, but he lacked the balls and attitude to lead a team.
To Shanahan's credit he was respectful in his comments after Al Davis passed on. Here is Shanahan from the Washington Post:
"I got a chance to be around him, I was 35 years old. I never met a guy with more passion and worked harder than Al Davis. He was just relentless in his approach to the game, and he had a great understanding from Xs and Os and personnel and knew it extremely well. I wasn’t around him extremely long – a year and four games – but I learned a lot from him."