As we approach the dog days of summer, it can be hard for media outlets to come up with any NFL-related news.
So, Mike Florio of NBC’s ProFootballTalk is going through each team and creating a Mt. Rushmore, or the four most important figures in franchise history.
They released the Raiders’ Mt. Rushmore on Monday night, and selecting the last two spots apparently wasn’t very easy for them.
Owner Al Davis, head coach John Madden, offensive lineman Gene Upshaw, and wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff were chosen to the Raiders’ Mt. Rushmore.
Davis was obviously an easy selection, and he should be on the Mt. Rushmore of the entire NFL. The longtime owner led the Raiders to three Super Bowl wins and established the “mystique” of Raider football.
“Every story needs a good guy and a bad guy, and [Davis] reveled in being the owner of the bad-guy team,” said Florio.
John Madden was another easy choice. You may know him now as an announcer and his very successful video game, but Madden was hired back in 1969 at age 32 to coach the Raiders, becoming the youngest head coach in NFL history. The Raiders went to five AFC Championship games under his tenure, and won it all in 1976. Today, Madden still holds the record for most wins in Raiders’ history.
The last two choices were difficult. The fans selected defensive end Howie Long and running back Marcus Allen, but Florio went with Upshaw and Biletnikoff.
Upshaw, or “Uptown Gene,” spent 14 seasons anchoring the offensive line for the Raiders. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987, and is the only player in history to participate in three Super Bowls in three different decades with the same team. Upshaw is a two-time Super Bowl champion, and a three-time member of the All-Pro team.
Biletnikoff was Florio’s final selection. He helped the Raiders win their first Super Bowl in 1976, and made the All-Pro team six teams during his 14-year career, all with Oakland. Biletnikoff recorded almost 9,000 receiving yards and 589 receptions during his time in the NFL.
Questions should be raised about the choice of Biletnikoff over Allen. Florio points out that Allen did not make the list because of his spat with Davis, who tossed aside his star and as a result, Allen saw his stats decrease.
Other legitimate choices for the Raiders’ Mt. Rushmore were punter Ray Guy and center Jim Otto, but there are plenty more.
Who is on your Mt. Rushmore for the Raiders? Do you agree with PFT’s decision?