Although the Oakland Raiders have been experiencing hardships these past few years, that does not take away from the fact that they are one of the most storied franchises in NFL history.
So with the Raiders owning three Super Bowls and numerous Hall of Fame inductees, who deserves to be on their Mount Rushmore? With limited spots on their historic monument, I have identified four people whom I believe should be honored.
The first person in my book would have to be the great Raiders owner Al Davis. His “Just win, baby!” motto along with branding the Silver and Black culture in the 1960s was unmatched. An owner who speaks his mind, Davis was never scared to go against the norm, evident by naming African-American Art Shell their head coach. In addition to being brash, Davis was a winning owner during the late 1970′s to early 1980′s. During that time span Davis won three Super Bowls in 1976, 1980, and 1983, and in 1992 was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. An owner that also won five AFC Championships (including 1 AFL), Davis remained loyal to the Raiders organization to the very end, as he passed away on October 8, 2011.
The second person to be chiseled has to be 2006 Hall of Fame inductee John Madden. A former head coach whose video game is more popular than his NFL track record, Madden helped guide the Raiders to a 112-39-7 record. In 1969 Madden made history by becoming the youngest NFL head coach at the ripe age of 32, and the move seemed to be the right one. During Madden’s tenure with the team, he had the Raiders playing in five AFC Championship games over the course of seven years. And although the Raiders lost most of those games, Madden was highly regarded as one of the best in the game. In 1978 Madden retired from the coaching ranks while in the process becoming the youngest coach ever to reach 100 regular-season wins.
The first player honored and arguably the greatest Raider of all-time has to be offensive guard Gene Upshaw. The player more commonly known as “Uptown Gene,” would be elected to six straight Pro-Bowls from (1972-1976) during his 15-year career. A two-time Super Bowl champion with the Raiders, Uptown Gene was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987. Also, he was named to the NFL 75th Anniversary Team.
The last player was a hard one, as I narrowed my choices to wide receiver Tim Brown, Fred Biletnikoff, and Willie Brown. And although Willie Brown has the ring, I have to go with other Brown, as in Tim Brown. And how can you argue? Tim was arguably the best wide-receiver of his time while also being a dual-threat in the return-game. A player that was known for his versatility, Brown could do it all. A nine-time Pro Bowl selection, Brown finished his career with 14,934 receiving yards, which ranked as the second-highest total in NFL history. In addition, Brown racked up 1,094 receptions (3rd), and 100 touchdown receptions which also ranked third on the all time list.