Top 10 Oakland Raiders Running Backs of All Time
With Darren McFadden now appearing to be as advertized, I couldn't help but reflect on all of the great backs that have come out of Raider Nation.
Being a great Raiders running back isn't just about stats. There is only one who has put up big numbers over his career with the Raiders.
But they all have one thing in common. They are all team guys and helped the Raiders win by any means necessary.
Let's get started!
No. 10: Kenny King, 1980-85
Kenny King isn't quite in the top 10 on the Raiders' all-time rushing list. However, he was supremely talented with blazing speed.
He displayed that blazing speed in Super Bowl XV on an 80-yard TD reception. Who can forget the sight of King carrying the ball like a loaf of bread during his then Super Bowl-record reception?
King was the ultimate team player. He gladly moved to fullback when the Raiders drafted Hall of Famer Marcus Allen.
He then helped pave the way for Allen's Super Bowl MVP performance. That was King's second Super Bowl victory.
Via run, pass, or blocking, King found a way to help the Raiders win two Super Bowls.
That's the look of a winner to me.
No. 9: Charlie Smith, 1968-75
Charlie Smith was another one of those big-play specialists. He was a threat in the run and passing game.
The play he is most known for was only seen by those who were at the 1968 game against the New York Jets. It was during the closing minutes of the game in which the Raiders were down 32-29, and the TV station switched to a kid's television show named "Heidi."
Smith scored on a 43-yard reception from quarterback Darryl Lamonica for the go-ahead score. Nine seconds later, the Raiders scored again, set up by the Jets' fumbling the ensuing kickoff.
The Raiders won the game 43-32. Unfortunately, it was the Jets instead of the Raiders that beat the Colts in the Super Bowl to end that year.
Smith is No. 9 on the Raiders all-time rushing list. He has no championships, as the Raiders were regular bridesmaids during his career.
No. 8: Pete Banaszack, 1966-78
Pete Banaszack did the dirty work from the Oakland Raider Backfield when he played.
The result of Banaszack's dirty work was usually a drive-sustaining first down or a short touchdown run. He led the team in TDs with 16 in 1975.
In 1976, Banaszack helped the Raiders get to Super Bowl XI. In the game, he scored two touchdowns from inside the two-yard line.
Banaszack is No. 8 on the Raider rushing list. His toughness exemplified Raider football.
He didn't go to Pro Bowls or have huge statistical success. However, he was a player who helped the Raiders win and was there when they needed him.
Fourth-and-goal from the one was his home.
No. 7: Marv Hubbard, 1969-75
We've all heard the story of Old Mother Hubbard. What about Daddy Hubbard? He was a grown man running with the football.
His only open-field move was to dip his shoulder and run through the defender. The word "beast" is overused when describing ball players today.
That would not be the case when describing Marv Hubbard, though. Almost never did only one guy bring this man down.
Hubbard caught the ball well out of the backfield. The fullback also blocked the same way he ran. He ran over people.
He was a ball-control runner who got it done. Anything you asked, he would do.
Hubbard is fifth on the all-time Raiders rushing list and went to three Pro Bowls. Unfortunately, he played during the Steelers era and has no championships.
It wasn't a lack of effort on his part.
No. 6: Clarence Davis, 1971-78
At 5'10", 195 pounds, Clarence Davis wasn't very big. However, he had the heart the size of a lion's.
Like other Raiders running backs, he was a team-first player. He had to be that right away, because the collegiate All-American had to adjust to being a Raider halfback.
The adjustment was the fact that the Raiders were a fullback running team. That meant Davis blocked for fullback Mark Van Eeghen most of the time and got ready to make big plays when the time came.
That he did. He ranks only eighth on the Raiders all-time rushing list. But when the stakes were high, he was there.
Davis was not known for his hands. Desire just happened to conquer all during his game-winning reception in a 1974-75 playoff game in Miami.
The play was named "The Sea of Hands." Davis found a way to catch that ball thrown into a sea of Miami Dolphin hands while quarterback Ken Stabler was on his way to the ground.
The Raiders then lost their next game in just as dramatic fashion, however. The "Immaculate Deception" stopped the Raiders' Super Bowl dreams.
Davis had to wait another two years to shine so bright again. In Super Bowl XI, Davis rushed for a then record 137 yards with some big-time runs.
Again, he was there when you needed him.
No. 5: Napoleon Kaufman, 1995-2000
He was only 5'9", 185 pounds, but the man had power. Napoleon Kaufman bench pressed 500 pounds and squatted 600 pounds.
Combine that with great vision, the ability to cut on a dime, and sub-4.4 speed. No wonder why Napoleon Kaufman was a big play waiting to happen.
This is how special he was. He had 16 runs of 40 yards or better in a six-year career. Smith, NFL's all-time leading rusher, had 16 in a 15-year career.
Kaufman was really on his way up every running back ladder. Then at age 27, Kaufman retired to become a preacher.
He broke the hearts of Raider fans with his sudden retirement. However, we can't fault him for his need to serve a much higher purpose in life.
Kaufman never went to a Super Bowl, as his early retirement prevented him from doing so. He finished as the Raiders fourth all-time leading rusher.
I can't help but wonder what would have happened if he'd kept playing.
No. 4: Clem Daniels, 1961-67
Clem Daniels was 6'1" and 220 pounds of brute strength. He ran though tackle after tackle on his way to first downs and touchdowns.
Beyond the power, he had great speed as well. You can definitely call him a typical Al Davis height, weight, and speed guy. He was also versatile.
In 1963, the NFL just wasn't ready for such a weapon. Daniels rushed 1,099 yards that year. He also caught 30 passes for 685 yards.
It isn't a misprint.
Daniels averaged 22.8 yards per catch. The AFL and NFL didn't know what hit them, as the Raiders were among the first to use running backs in the downfield passing game.
Daniels was also used in the return game. He averaged just over 21 yards per return for his career.
Daniels' career was decorated, as he went to four Pro Bowls and twice made the All-Pro team. He was also inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame.
Daniels ranks third on the Raiders all-time rushing list. His 1967 Raiders went to the Super Bowl but were beaten by Lombardi's Packers.
No shame in that.
No. 3: Mark Van Eeghen, 1974-81
Mark Van Eeghen was a smash-mouth fullback in the mold of Marv Hubbard. The dirt you see on his uniform signifies who he was as a player.
The 6'2", 223-pound Van Eeghen actually had a little wiggle when needed. However, his first option was to punish you.
He also blocked well for his halfback. To Van Eeghen, blocking was just another opportunity to punish opposing defensive players.
Van Eeghen punished opposing defenders en route to three 1,000-yard seasons, one of which led to the Super Bowl XI victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
He would also help the Raiders win another Super Bowl in 1980. That time, it was a 27-10 thrashing of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Van Eeghen is now No. 2 on the Raiders all-time rushing list. He got there in typical Raiders team-first fashion.
He did anything he could to win.
No. 2: Bo Jackson, 1987-90
Phenom is the only word I could use to describe Bo Jackson. A 230-pound man should not be able to run a sub 4.2 40-yard dash!
No one around at that time could forget the 221-yard breakout party Jackson had in Seattle on a Monday night in 1987. The party was capped off with a 91-yard run after which Jackson couldn't slow down before running into the tunnel.
He is the only guy I've ever seen run over a guy without breaking stride. Jackson used that blinding speed to get three runs longer than 80 yards for his career.
Compare that to Emmitt Smith (NFL All-Time Rushing leader), who only has one run over 70 yards in 15 years. Bo only played four years!
That is why he's not number one. His injury, along with his part-time duty, didn't allow Jackson to do all he could do for Raider Nation.
Jackson did manage to lead the Raiders to the AFC Championship Game at the end of the 1990 season. However, he couldn't play in it because of a career-ending hip injury.
Imagine what he could have done if he had stayed healthy.
No. 1: Marcus Allen, 1982-92
Every head must bow. Every tongue must confess. Of all the Raiders greats, Marcus Allen's the best.
It isn't close. Allen is the only Hall of Famer of this crew. He's No. 1 on the all-time Raiders rushing list and No. 1 in touchdowns.
He is also the most highly decorated Raider of all time. For my money, he's the most complete running back of all time.
His awards start in college with the Heisman. He then comes into the NFL and wins the NFL's Rookie of the Year Award.
The next year, he wins the Super Bowl MVP. Two years after that, he wins the NFL MVP.
In Super Bowl XVIII, Allen did the unforgettable. He reversed field on a 74-yard touchdown run that has to be considered the greatest run in NFL history.
During Allen's MVP year, he set a record for total yards from scrimmage. It was broken decades later by Marshall Faulk.
After all that, Allen showed himself to be the ultimate team player. Bo Jackson came to Raider Nation, and Allen volunteered to move to fullback.
That selfless move allowed the Raiders to have the best 11 offensive players the field. It might have been the best backfield ever too.
Even though Allen was different from the rest as far as accolades go, he was still the same in the way it counted.
He was a team player who wanted to win by any means necessary.
I hope you enjoyed the slide show.
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