The Oakland Raiders

The Raiders are threatening to leave Oakland.  A travesty.

Founded in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League, the Oakland Raiders are one of pro football’s most storied franchises.  Brandishing a Commitment to Excellence, Raider Nation expects only one thing – to Just Win, Baby!

John Madden celebrates his 83rd birthday today.  In honor of the best coach in franchise history, we bring you the greatest players ever to wear the Silver and Black.

Fred Biletnikoff overcame his lack of size and speed with great hands and precise route-running.  A superb possession receiver, the gritty Biletnikoff led the NFL in receptions in 1971.  The MVP of Super Bowl XI is second on the Raiders all-time receptions list.

Art Shell protected Ken Stabler’s front side and Jim Plunkett’s blind side as both quarterbacks led the Raiders to Super Bowl wins.  One of the greatest left tackles ever to play the game, Shell was named to eight Pro Bowls before landing in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989.

The first pure punter to be drafted in the first round, Ray Guy is the best in football history.  Guy invented “hang time.”  A six-time All-Pro and three-time Super Bowl champ, Guy is a member of the NFL 75th Anniversary Team and was elected to both the college and pro football halls of fame.

Ken Stabler is the most clutch Raider of all time.  He wore the Silver and Black for ten years and was 1974 NFL MVP.  Snake led the Raiders to some of the most exciting comeback wins in team history, earning him a spot on the 1970s All-Decade Team.

A fifth-round draft pick out of Texas A&M in 1977, Lester Hayes helped the Raiders win two Super Bowls.  A superb bump-and-run cover corner, he played in five Pro Bowls and intercepted 39 career passes.  The 1980 NFL Defensive Player of the Year made the 1980s All-Decade Team but is the only Raider on this list not in [or soon to be elected to] the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Winner of the 1987 Heisman Trophy, Tim Brown joined the Raiders as the franchise began its decline.  Touchdown Timmy led the league in receptions in 1997.  He holds franchise records for touchdowns, receiving, punt returns and all-purpose yards.

As a defensive end at the University of Miami, Ted Hendricks was voted 1968 UPI Lineman of the Year.  As an outside linebacker for the Raiders, The Mad Stork was voted to the NFL All-Decade teams in both the 1970s and ‘80s.  Hendricks won four Super Bowls, played in eight Pro Bowls and was voted to the NFL All-Time team in 1994.

Howie Long was one of the most dominant defensive lineman in the league against both the run and pass during his hall of fame career.  He played nose tackle, tackle and end, earning eight trips to the Pro Bowl.  A member of the 1983 Super Bowl champs, Long ranks second on the Raiders all-time sack list.

Willie Brown redefined the cornerback position.  At 6’2”, 220, he was a master at playing bump-and-run coverage.  A member of the AFL All-Time and NFL 1970s All-Decade teams, Brown is tied with Hayes for most interceptions in Raiders history.

Big, strong and fast, Gene Upshaw is one of the finest guards ever to put a hand in the dirt.  A five-time All-Pro, Highway 63 reached the Super Bowl in three different decades, winning twice.  A fixture at left guard, Upshaw played alongside Art Shell for 15 seasons as a Raider.

The best Raider player of all time, Marcus Allen could run, throw, block and catch passes.  The leading rusher in franchise history is the only player to have won the Heisman, NCAA championship, Super Bowl and be named NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP.  Allen was also named 1982 NFL Rookie of the Year.

Jim Otto played 15 seasons, all as a Raider.  He was named All-AFL in each year of the league’s existence and anchors the offensive line of the AFL All-Time Team.  Jim Otto – Double Oh – exemplified Commitment to Excellence more than any Raider in history.

Honorable mention goes to Dave Casper, Jack Tatum, George Atkinson, George Blanda, Steve Wisniewski, Mike Haynes, Jim Plunkett, Khalil Mack and Charles Woodson.