Remembering the Oakland Raiders' Good Times

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Remembering the Oakland Raiders' Good Times

Hey Kemo Sabe, here are three Raiders happenings you might enjoy from the dim past.

Remember one of my favorite Raider defensive players of the '70s, No. 41 Phil Villapiano, hard-hitting LB?

He hit ball carriers at the line of scrimmage and otherwise, sometimes hitting a receiver before the ball—you have to time it right, or the refs blow the whistle.

But you may not recall this little human interest factoid I observed several times at the Oakland Coliseum.

For the first several games of 1971 and perhaps 1972, Phil played in bright blue shoes, instead of the regulation black ones.

I googled his high school, the Asbury, N.J., "Blue Bishops"—so that must be where he got those shoes, from his high school football playing days! I'll bet none of you readers remember that!

Another favorite Raider defensive player and hard hitter of the '70s was Jack Tatum, hard-hitting safety.

He wore a little towel at his belt buckle with this slogan: "Assassin." When he hit a ball carrier, or maybe laid into a receiver who just caught the ball downfield, the guy would be slow to get back up, and lots of 'em left the game groggy.

But then in 1978 in a preseason game, I watched Jack hit Darryl Stingley of the Patriots. Darryl didn't get back up. Jack hit him hard in a legal hit just after he caught the ball. Darryl's neck was broken, and he never played again.

This incident kind of took the wind out of Jack's sails too. I could see in subsequent games that he did not want that kind of thing to happen again, so he hit a bit "softer" or something. Also he abandoned the "Assassin" towel.

In 1983-84, I had a yearlong training assignment in Washington, DC. I became acquainted with quite a few die-hard, fanatical Redskins fans.

In October 1983, when the Redskins beat the Raiders in a regular season game, the Redskins fanatics beat on me unmercifully as I tried to defend my beloved Raiders.

Then the Raiders faced the Redskins in the Super Bowl for the new year 1984. I laid on a five-dollar bet with 10 of those Redskins fanatics—I was 50 bucks confident the Raiders would win.

Sure enough, the Raiders came through BIG! 38-9!

Back at the classroom on Monday morning, I sneaked in early and wrote on the chalkboard, then pulled down the projection screen over it, leaving only a chalked arrow pointing up to what's under the screen.

Our instructor that day was one of the biggest die-hard, fanatical Redskins fans of all time.

Well, he's lecturing and lecturing, walking back and forth past his speaker's podium, and I can see he's glancing at my arrow on the chalk board.

Finally, he couldn't stand it any more and he pulls up the screen to see my words: "Kicked Their Ass!"

He saw that, whirled around, and shouted, "Kindel, you SOB!" I just smiled and said, "Hey, you owe me five bucks!"

More historical highlights to come (if my little grey cells can conjure them up), unless you don't enjoy them?

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