Born: September 15, 1945
Town: Long Branch
Robert Ellersie Davis Jr. was born September 15, 1945 in Long Branch and grew up in Neptune. Tall and rangy with quick feet and a strong arm, Bob excelled in basketball and football, playing quarterback for Neptune High. He accepted a scholarship from the University of Virginia and won the starting job as a sophomore in 1964.
Bob’s first college game was one for the books—literally. He torched Wake Forest for 334 passing and rushing yards to set an ACC record. Bob’s running ability created difficult match-ups for the Cavaliers’ opponents. As a junior, he moved to halfback for several games when the Virginia backfield was depleted by injuries. As a senior in 1966, he nearly led Virginia to a road upset over #5 Georgia. Bulldog coach Bobby Dodd said he was the best back they faced since World War II. Bob graduated with nine ACC records, including 39 career touchdowns. Bob’s pro prospects were somewhat diminished by a knee injury suffered on his final play as a collegian. He would undergo four surgeries over the next 8 years.
Bob was taken with the 30th pick in the 1967 AFL Draft by the Houston Oilers. The only QB drafted higher to sign with an AFL club was Bob Griese of the Dolphins. He played backup to Pete Beathard as the Oilers won the Eastern Division. A loss to the Raiders in the title game kept Houston from playing in Super Bowl II. He continued in that role for the next two seasons.
Bob joined the New York Jets in 1970 as Joe Namath’s backup. He only got into one game, but in 1971 Namath and AL Woodall were injured and coach Weeb Ewbank gave Bob the ball. He started 7 games and led the Jets to two wins over the Bills and one over the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs. He finished the year with 10 TD passes and 8 interceptions. Namath returned to the field in 1972 and hobbled though a 7–7 season. Bob saw limited action and felt he should have been given a chance to guide the team. The Jets didn’t agree and released him.