Top 10 Oakland Raiders in NFL History
They're the bad boys of the NFL. Today I rank the top 10 Oakland Raiders of all time.
Over the span of 54 seasons, the Raiders have experienced considerable success. Under owner Al Davis, the Raiders have appeared in five Super Bowls with three victories. Since 1960, the team has won fifteen division titles, three Super Bowls, four AFC titles and an AFL Championship. 13 former members of the team have been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
For this list, I look at the talent of the individual, what they meant to the team, and status as a pro bowler or Hall of Famer.
10. Marcus Allen
He is arguably the greatest goal line runner ever.
A first round pick in 1982, Marcus Allen rushed for 697 yards and led the Raiders to the best record in the AFC in the strike shortened year. Allen was named the NFL MVP in 1985 after he rushed for 1,759 yards and scored 11 touchdowns. He is best remembered for his heroics in Super Bowl XVIII as he ran for 191 yards, caught two passes for 18 yards, and scored two touchdowns in the Raiders 38-9 victory over the Redskins including a 74-yard touchdown run which was a Super Bowl record.
The big reason he isn't higher on this list, is the final five years he spent with team rival Kansas City. Allen was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003 after rushing for over 12,000 yards and scoring a then record 123 rushing touchdowns.
9. Ray Guy
When you discuss the greatest players at their position, you typically have a heavy debate about who the greatest quarterback, running back, and others are. However, there seems to be no dispute that Ray Guy is the greatest punter in NFL history.
As the only punter ever to be selected in the first round, Guy became just as important as anyone on the Raiders defense. The league had to start keeping track of hang time and punts inside the 20-yard line because of him. It's often been said that Guy is the only pure punter in NFL history who could feel he actually won games for his team.
He was a seven time pro bowler, six time All-Pro, and a member of all three of the Raiders Super Bowl teams. In 2014, Ray Guy became the first punter in NFL history to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
8. Howie Long
His very rare combination of size, strength and quickness made him a fearsome force on the Raiders defensive line.
Long collected 91.5 sacks during his career. His best year was in 1983 where he recorded 13 sacks, including a career high five in one game against the Washington Redskins. Long helped dominate Washington later in the Super Bowl allowing John Riggins to rush for lees than three yards per carry during the game. Long's signature defensive move was the "rip," which employed a quick, uppercut-like motion designed to break an opposing blocker's grip.
He retired after 1993 making eight pro bowls, five All-Pro teams, and the 1985 co-defensive player of the year. Long was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000.
7. Tim Brown
He may not have possessed the Raider attitude, but he definitely ranks as one of the greatest receivers ever.
A first round pick in 1988, Tim Brown was a force as a wide receiver and return specialist. He is the oldest player in league history to return a punt for a touchdown. Brown is the Raiders' all-time leader in games played with 224. In his career, he amassed over 1,000 receptions, nearly 15,000 receiving yards, and 105 touchdowns.
Brown is mainly criticized for his poor performances in playoff games as he never caught a touchdown in the postseason. He was a nine time pro bowler and was the first wide receiver in history to win the Heisman trophy.
6. Ken Stabler
"The Snake" was one of the greatest clutch quarterbacks ever to come along.
After beating out Daryl Lamonica, Stabler quickly became known for accurate passes and an uncanny ability to lead late, come from behind drives. During the peak of his career, he had a receiving corps consisting of sprinter receiver Cliff Branch, Hall of Fame receiver Fred Biletnikoff, and Hall of Fame tight end Dave Casper. Although Stabler lacked remarkable arm strength, he was a master of the long pass to Branch, and accurate on intermediate routes to Biletnikoff and Casper. As a starter in Oakland, Stabler was named AFC player of the year in 1974 and 1976, and was the NFL's passing champion in 1976.
The main reason he's not in the Hall of Fame is his poor final years spent in Houston and New Orleans. During his time in Oakland, Stabler was a four time pro bowler, the 1974 NFL MVP, and helped the Raiders win Super Bowl XI.
5. Willie Brown
He is one of the true lifetime Raiders.
After spending four years in Denver, Willie Brown was traded to Oakland in 1967 and developed into one of the leagues top shutdown corners. He served as defensive captain for 10 of his 12 years with the team. He was named to five AFL All-Star games and four NFL Pro Bowls. Brown's most memorable moment as a Raider came during Super Bowl XI, when he intercepted a Fran Tarkenton pass and returned it a then Super Bowl record 75 yards for a touchdown.
Brown retired in 1978, as the Raiders all time leading interceptor. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984.
4. Art Shell
He is one of the most dominant offensive linemen ever to suit up.
A third-round draft pick of the Oakland Raiders in 1968, excelled on the special teams for two seasons before winning the starting offensive left tackle job in his third campaign. Within a short time, he became widely recognized as one of the premier offensive linemen in the league. Shell was equally adept as a pass protector and a blocker on running plays. In Super Bowl XI, he eliminated Jim Marshall from making an impact in the game.
He played in eight Pro Bowl games and 23 post-season contests, including eight AFL/AFC championships and the Raiders' victories in Super Bowls XI and XV. She'll was inducted into Canton in 1989. He also served as Oakland's head coach for six seasons.
3. Fred Biletnikoff
His pair of hands are among the best the leagues ever seen.
Fred Biletnikoff played 14 seasons in Oakland. His statistics are even more impressive today when it is taken in account that he played most of his career when the team emphasized running over passing and 13 of his seasons were played in 14 game regular seasons. He was voted Super Bowl XI MVP after three of his four catches set up Oakland touchdowns. Biletnikoff finished his NFL career with a total of 589 receptions, nearly 9,000 receiving yards, 76 touchdowns, and record 10 straight seasons of 40 or more receptions. The passing combination of Ken Stabler to Fred Biletnikoff is one of the best the league as ever seen.
The six time pro bowler was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1988. The award for the best receiver in college football is named after him.
2. Gene Upshaw
He has made an impact on and off the field for the Raiders and the league.
Gene Upshaw is arguably the best left guard ever to play. He is the first player in league history to play in a Super Bowl in three different decades. As a member of one of the greatest offensive lines in history, Upshaw paved the wave for Oakland having one of the best running games of the 70's and gave his quarterbacks plenty of time to find receivers.
He was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1987 after being a six time pro bowler, seven time All-Pro, and two time Super Bowl champion. After his retirement, Upshaw became the president of the NFL Players Association.
1. Jim Otto
If you put an eye patch this guy, he would be the spitting image of the pirate on the side of Oakland's helmets.
Jim Otto is arguably the greatest center ever to play the game. For fifteen years, "00" became a fixture at center for the Raiders, never missing a single game due to injury. He was one of only 20 players to play for the entire ten-year existence of the American Football League. With Otto at the center of the line, Oakland constantly ranked towards the top of the league rankings of offense. He gave everything he had for his franchise and punished his body greatly during his NFL career, resulting in nearly 40 surgeries, including 28 knee operations, multiple joint replacements, amputations, and nearly dying on the operating table on one occasion.
The 12 time All Star and 13 All-Pro is best remembered for being one of the only players to wear the number 00 during his career. He was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1980.