Trying to select the top players from the Oakland Raiders is like trying to pick a winner of the Kentucky Derby. They all look good on paper, they pass the eye test, and they have performed well on the field. What separates the chaff from the wheat is what happens when the lights come on. Some players step up and some step back.
The following is a listing of the top players of the Oakland Raiders. No order just some stats and a few comments. Its nice to go back once in a while to see what once was, and can be in the future.
Kenny Stabler: He came from Alabama with a bandage on his knee. A hybrid cross between Bobby Layne and Willie Nelson. Stabler was a hard-drinking, skirt-chasing country bumpkin who would pull out games no one thought possible, on an hour of sleep the night before, all with a ‘shucks it was nothing’ good ole boy bravado.
Otis Sistrunk: Otis Sistrunk a defensive end for the Oakland Raiders for seven seasons, including one in which he made the Pro Bowl.
Sistrunk went from high school to the US Marines. He was one of the few to make the NFL without going to play college ball. One Monday Night Football game, Alex Karras made on of those ‘great MNF moments’ when the camera zoomed in on Otis Sistrunk sitting on the bench with his helmet off. Otis had his head shaved and steam was rising from his head. Karras suggested that the out of this world looking Sistrunk was from “The University of Mars.”
Daryle Lamonica: “Howard Cosell hit me with that ‘Mad Bomber’ nickname … in 1967 or ’68,” Lamonica says of the legendary late Monday Night Football announcer. “But that very next game, I got under center and, just before I started my cadence, the cornerback made eye contact with me. And then he backed up two steps. Lamonica threw it 30-40 times a game. We were night and day from the (more conservative) NFL. … Attacking deep was Daryle’s mind-set.”
The Raiders scored 35-40 points every week. That was a brand-new, exciting type of football for the fans.” Lamonica, who went 36-4-1 in his three years as Oakland’s starter in the AFL days, earned the league’s MVP honors in 1967 and 1969 when he threw 30 and 34 touchdowns, respectively.
He led the Raiders to three consecutive Western Division titles and that 1967 league crown, though it’s often overshadowed by the beating Oakland took in Super Bowl II, a 33-14 defeat at the hands of Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers.
Ted Hendricks: Ted Hendricks has taken a lot of crap over the years about his antics, but his accomplishments should be enough to make the naysayers shut up. He shares the record for the most safeties with four, he was selected to the Pro Bowl eight times, he intercepted 26 passes, returning two for touchdowns, he set the post-season record for the most recovered fumbles with four, and during his 15-year career he never missed a single game. Not one.
John Madden, coach of the Raiders during their glory days, was asked to describe Ted Hendricks. After a moment’s thought, Madden said: “Ted’s elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top.” In a similar vein, Stabler said: “Most Raiders loved to party, but Ted Hendricks was a party all by himself.”
He stood six-seven, weighed over 200 pounds, and physically punished his opponents to a degree that would be considered felonious in any other context. On his first day as a Raider, he rode a horse onto the practice field wearing his full uniform and pads, a spiked German Army helmet he’d painted silver and black, and carrying a stack of traffic cones as a lance.
Jack Tatum:Jack Tatum was one of the hardest hitters in the NFL, a Pro Bowl safety who intimidated opposing players with bone-jarring tackles that
helped make his Oakland Raiders become one of the toughest teams of its era.
He’s also a player who will always be tied to one of the game’s most tragic moments — a hit in a preseason game that left new England Patriots receiver Darryl Stingley paralyzed from the neck down. The collision with Stingley happened Aug. 12, 1978, at Oakland Coliseum. There were never words of consolation or an apology from Tatum, and the two players never spoke after the hit.
Raiders safety Michael Huff sent a message on Twitter after learning of Tatum’s death: “R.I.P. Jack Tatum the assassin. One of the best safeties to ever play this game, his legacy will live forever.” Tatum passed July 27, 2010, he was 61.
Bo Jackson: “Bo” Jackson came to fame as a multi-talented athlete, who excelled in baseball, football and track at an early age. Recruited by the New York Yankees before he was out of high school,Jackson decided instead to attendAuburnUniversity.
A combination of unprecedented speed and power created Bo Jacksons legacy on the field. He evaded initial attempted tackles at the defensive line and outran the rest of the defense en rout to his final destination, the end zone. His unforgettable run with the Raiders against the Seattle Seahawks for nearly the length of the football field and into the tunnel displayed his blazing speed. In the same game, his display of sheer power provided and other sensational moment when he ran over Seahawk LB Brian Bosworth at the goal line for a score on MNF.
Jackson signed on with the L.A. Raiders in 1987. In his first season he ran a record-breaking 221-yard rushing performance on Monday Night Football. He spent four seasons in the game before an injury sidelined Jackson in 1991. He never returned to the game.
Jackson became a popular figure for in the 1980s and 90s with his popular “Bo Knows” Nike campaign.
Marcus Allen: The Oakland Raiders made Marcus Allen the tenth player selected overall in the 1982 National Football League Draft. Marcus Allen’s best season came in 1985, while he was still with the Oakland Raiders. He rushed for 1,759 yards and 11 touchdowns on 380 carries, and caught 67 balls for 555 yards and three touchdowns.
College Highlights:• Heisman Trophy (1981)• Walter Camp Award (1981)• Pac-10 Player of the Year (1981)• All-Pac 10 (1980, 81)• Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame (2000)
NFL Career Totals-Rushing 12,243, and 123 touchdowns on 3,022 carries
Receiving- 567 receptions for 5,411 yards and 123 TD’s
NFL highlights- NFL Rookie of the year, 1982 Super Bowl 18 MVP, All-Pro 82-85, Six pro bowls 83,85,86,87,88,94, Hall of Fame 2003
Tim Brown: Tim Brown was drafted in the first round of the 1988 NFL Draft, sixth overall, by the Los Angeles Raiders.
College Highlights: Left Notre Dame as the school’s all-time leader in receiving yards (2,493)• Accounted for 5,024 total yards, averaging 116.8 yards per game.• Named Consensus All-American (1987) • Won the Walter Camp Award (1987)• Awarded the Heisman Trophy (1987)
Best NFL Season: Brown put together an amazingly consistent career, so one season doesn’t stand out as being far-and-away his best. However, his best season statistically from a receiving standpoint came in 1997 when he topped the 100 mark in receptions (104) for the only time in his career, and he recorded a career-high 1,408 yards receiving.
NFL Highlights: Put together the third-longest receptions streak with catches in 179 consecutive games. • Raiders All-Time leader in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns.• Became the 16th player in N.F.L. history to reach 10,000 receiving yards. (1999)• Third player in NFL history to eclipse the 1,000-reception mark. (2002)• Put together 42 100-yard receiving games.• Named to nine Pro Bowl teams.
These are a few of the many Oakland Raiders that have made an impact on the Nation. Next week check, and see if your favorite Raider of the past, present or future shows up. Check it out for the next few weeks, give me a shout if I’ve missed your favorite, I’ll check em out and get them posted. Looking forward to see who’s in the mix.
Until then, be nice to each other and I’ll see you at the goal post.
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