The Oakland Raiders Mt. Rushmore

“Just win baby!” That’s all the Raiders have done in their 55 seasons as a Pro Football franchise. Photo Credit: Coliseum.com

“Just win baby!” That’s the slogan that has defined the Raiders organization since 1960, their first season of play. In 55 seasons, between Oakland and Los Angeles and back to Oakland again, the Raiders have won 444 games, 3 Super Bowls (XI, XV, XVIII), an AFL Championship (1967), 4 Conference championships, 15 Division titles, and made the playoffs 21 times.

The Raiders have produced 17 Hall of Famers who have done a majority of their work in the Silver and Black. Four of them I have chosen to represent the “Black Hole” on their Mount Rushmore.

CRITERIA:

  • No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for those contributors soon.  Just for the record, Al Davis will be on my Mount Rushmore for owners for what he did for the Civil Rights Movement by helping African-American players get opportunities in Pro Football, and by refusing to play in cities where black players weren’t allowed to stay at the same hotel as their white teammates. As well as his role in the AFL-NFL merger.
  • Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
  • Can you tell the franchise’s story without them? If no, they’re on the list.

John Madden (1969-1978) is more than the guy who’s name is on the cover of a popular video game, and the guy who has one of the most recognizable voices in sports broadcasting. He is the Raiders all-time leader in coaching victories (103) and delivered on owner Al Davis’ mantra with an AFC Championship (1976) and a Super Bowl title (XI). In his 10 seasons as head coach of the Raiders, he never had a losing season and was the youngest to reach 100 victories while leading the team to 6 AFC Championship games (5 consecutive 1972-1977). His combined regular season and playoff record (112-39-7) is the second highest win percentage in NFL history. Madden had a winning record against revered Hall of Fame coaches Tom Landry, Don Shula, Chuck Noll and Bud Grant. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

Marcus Allen (1982-1992) his career with the organization ended bitterly with owner Al Davis, but Allen’s name is littered across the team’s record books. He is still the team’s all-time leader in rushing yards (8,545), rushing touchdowns (79) and second in total touchdowns (98). In 1982 he won NFL Rookie of the Year, and followed that up by winning NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year in 1985 will with the team. A 3-time All-Pro and 5-time Pro Bowl selection with the team, he led the Raider’s to Super Bowl XVIII where he was named the game’s most valuable player. Allen holds NFL records for most consecutives seasons with a rushing touchdown (16), multiple rushing touchdowns (16) and multiple touchdowns (16). He is the first player to ever gain 10,000 rushing yards and 5,000 receiving yards in a career. In 1999 he was ranked 72nd on The Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Football Players, and in 2010 he was ranked 85th on NFL.com’s “100 Greatest Players” list. Allen was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003.

Tim Brown (1988-2003) had one of the most decorated careers in the game both in college and professionally. The 1987 Heisman Trophy Winner did not disappoint in Silver and Black. He is the team’s all-time leader in games (240) and seasons played (16), receptions (1,070), receiving yards (14,734), receiving touchdowns (99), total touchdowns (104), all-purpose yards (19,431), punt return yards (3,272) and punt returns for touchdowns (3).  He holds 8 NFL records. The 2015 Pro Football Hall of Famer could make the case for being the “Greatest Raider.” Hard to believe he wasn’t inducted on his first year eligible. I’m biased because I wore his jersey, number 81, in my first-year playing little league football for the Columbus (OH) Raiders in 1992.

Willie Brown (1967-1978) is remembered by most people under the age of 35 as the guy that was captured in the iconic NFL Films video intercepting a pass in Super Bowl XI and appeared to be running directly to the camera as he made his way to the end zone, for a then Super Bowl record 75-yard touchdown. Brown and the Raiders would go on to win that Super Bowl, he also was a member of the Raiders team that won the 1967 AFL Championship. A 2-time All-Pro and 2-time All-AFL selection with the team, he also was selected to 4 Pro Bowl’s and 3 AFL All-Star games. He finished his Raiders career tied for 1st in interceptions (39). He is a member of the AFL All-Time and NFL 1970’s All-Decade Teams. Brown was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984, and in 1999 he was ranked 50th on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Football Players. He was the highest player from the organization on the list. In 2010, NFL.com ranked him 66th on their “100 Greatest Players list.”

Raider Nation did I get it right? If not who would you have chosen? Jim Otto? Gene Upshaw? Jack Tatum? Ken Stabler? Or Howie Long? Let me know.
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