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My 1988 Meeting With Former Oakland Raider Ben Davidson

Ben Davidson
Courtesy of Steve Kaplowitz

I was saddened by the news that former Oakland Raider great Ben Davidson died Monday night of prostate cancer at the age of 72. Davidson is best remembered for his trademark handlebar mustache and his menacing defensive line play for the Raiders in the late 1960s and 70s. After his football days were over, Davidson was a spokesman for Miller Lite and appeared on a variety of commercials in the early to mid 1980s.

His relationship with Miller Lite was the reason he appeared at the 1988 Sun Bowl between Army and Alabama. I was at the game and noticed this 6 foot 8 giant signing autographs in the end zone side of the stadium. I thanked Davidson for signing my game program, and he responded “sure, kid” in that gruff voice of his. Then he was gone, and left the stadium with his large chested Miller girl escorts. When I heard the news that he died from prostate cancer, the vivid memories from that December 1988 day came back to me. I still have that Sun Bowl program from 24 years ago, and it is a great reminder of my chance meeting with the great Ben Davidson.

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