If Al Davis had his way, Las Vegas long ago would have been the home of a National Football League franchise.
His Las Vegas Raiders.
“He would have loved to have moved the Raiders here. He told me that many times,” said David Humm, who played in the NFL from 1975 to 1984, seven years with the Raiders, after starring at Nebraska at quarterback.
“He loved this town,” Humm said in a telephone interview. “But there’s no way commissioner Pete Rozelle would have allowed it because of the sports books and gambling.”
Davis, who was born on the Fourth of July, loved Las Vegas so much he would hold his birthday parties here almost every year.
Humm, who was cut three times by Davis and re-signed three times, recalled Davis’ 75th birthday party when Steve Lawrence and Edyie Gorme performed. Lou Rawls entertained at Davis’ 80th.
The Raiders’ Hall of Fame owner died Oct. 8, 2011. He would been 85 today.
Invitees to Davis’ birthday parties would follow “the same game-day schedule as if it were a regular Sunday,” said Humm.
The itinerary, said Humm, included the words “chapel (men only) and we all gathered. Mr. Davis got up and said, ‘I’d like to introduce each one of you and tell you what each meant to the Raiders.’ And after he went through the whole room he said, ‘I’d like each of you to tell your feelings of what the Raiders have meant to you.’
“After the last player spoke, you could hear a pin fall on the carpet,” said Humm.
The former Bishop Gorman standout was recruited to Nebraska to play for coaching legend Bob Devaney. Joe Namath even pitched Humm about playing at Alabama for Bear Bryant.
Humm was a three-year starter and a First Team All-America his senior season. The Raiders chose him in the fifth round of the NFL draft. He was a backup quarterback for most of his career.
Four years after his NFL career ended, Humm was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 36. He lost the ability to walk in 1997.
“Mr. Davis and I would ride in a limo up and down the Strip. He admired the courage and creativity of the men who built it into what it is today,” said Humm.
FOURTH OF JULY romance
The Fourth of July is a romantic anniversary for Food Channel star and Las Vegas restaurateur Giada De Laurentiis and her husband, Todd Thompson.
They met at a Fourth of July party 24 years ago in Los Angeles. She was 19.
He was smitten but didn’t make the best impression.
“There was a full moon at the time and I said, ‘You wanna come outside and look at the full moon?’ She said, ‘Yeah, sure.’
“So I started talking to her outside, and she was super shy. I said, ‘What’s your name,’ and I heard, ‘Johna.’ So I called her ‘Johna.’ Some friends of mine walked up and she just split.
“Two nights later, I see her at another friend’s house and say, ‘Johna, how are you?’ And her friend says, ‘It’s GEE-ADA!’” Thompson recalled.
They married May 25, 2003. Thompson, a fashion designer, assisted in the interior design of Giada, his wife’s new restaurant at The Cromwell.
They have a 6-year-old daughter, Jade. Giada is Italian for Jade.
MAY I RECOMMEND …
The High Roller at The Linq is offering a July Fourth fireworks special from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., including a complimentary drink in the Sky Lounge. The 30-minute ride offers a 360-degree view of fireworks displays throughout the Las Vegas Valley. The daytime price until 6 p.m. is $19.95; nighttime (6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and after 9:30 p.m.) is $34.95.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
Goalkeeper Tim Howard’s game-worn and autographed Everton game jersey brought $1,500 on Thursday, the last day of bidding at an Opportunity Village fundraiser. …
UFC president Dana White, at Surrender (Encore) on Wednesday at a table with UFC former light heavyweight champ Rashad Evans. … Decked out in a black leather jacket, Ian Ziering of “Beverly Hills 90210” fame, got a big ovation during a walk-on at Olivia Newton-John’s show Tuesday at the Flamingo. Ziering is guest-starring with the Chippendales (Rio) until July 20. Vivica A. Fox, Ziering’s co-star in “Sharknado 2,” attended the Chippendales’ show on Thursday.
THE PUNCH LINE
“It’s hard to lose to a nation of pacifist chocolatiers.” — Jimmy Kimmel, on the U.S. soccer team’s loss to Belgium in the World Cup.
Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke. “Norm Clarke’s Vegas,” airs Thursdays on the “Morning Blend” on KTNV-TV, Channel 13.