William Delford Davis (born July 24, 1934) is a former American football defensive end for the Cleveland Browns and the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League (NFL)….as Davis graduated from Grambling State University in 1956. Davis wore number 87 during his career with the Packers for 10 seasons as the anchor to the Packers’ defensive line by playing 138 consecutive regular-season games….and part of 162 regular-season games for his NFL career. Davis was a member of all five of Lombardi’s NFL title-winning teams and played in Super Bowls I and II.
Davis played in an era when neither tackles nor sacks were official statistics….however, John Turney, a member of the Professional Football Researchers Association, reports that Davis had in excess of 100 sacks during his 10-year Green Bay career from 1960–1969….saying “possibly more than 120″….which included a minimum of 40 over the 1963–65 seasons alone….as Davis himself is quoted as saying, “I would think I would have to be the team’s all-time leader in sacks. I played 10 years and I averaged in the ‘teens’ in sacks for those 10 years. I had 25 one season. Paul Hornung just reminded me of that the other day.” Davis earned All-Pro honors 5 times (1962, 64–67)….and he was voted to the Pro Bowl five times (1963–67)….for Davis recovered 21 fumbles over his Packers career….which, more than three decades removed from his retirement….still remains a team record. The Packers honored his retirement with a Willie Davis Day on December 21, 1969….and he remains on the team’s Board of Directors.
In the early 1970’s, Davis worked as a color commentator on NFL telecasts for NBC. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981. In 1986, Davis was named the Walter Camp Man of the Year….and in 1987, he was given the Career Achievement Award from the NFL Alumni….and in 1988 he was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame. In 1999, he was ranked number 69 on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.
Davis is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity….who received his MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business in 1968….and is a member or former member of the boards of Alliance Bank, Dow Chemical (1988–2006), Johnson Controls (1991–2006), K-Mart, L.A. Gear, Manpower (2001–), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (1999–), MGM Mirage, Rally’s Inc., Sara Lee (1983–), Schlitz Brewing, and WICOR Inc. He has been president of All-Pro Broadcasting, operators of radio stations KHTI, KATY-FM, WLDB-FM, WLUM-FM, and WZTI since 1976.
Any way you cut the pie, Willie Davis is a champion who has excelled on and off the field way beyond the normal rhealm of ex-jocks…..but most important to Imasportsphile is the fact that Steve Sabol and NFL Films saw through their lense that he was truly special as the “Men Who Played the Game”.