In their nearly 50-year existence, few teams have produced as many Hall of Fame players as the Oakland Raiders. In addition to the outstanding individuals the team has produced, there have been other players who, by their great teamwork have earned a spot on this All-Raider team.
Some were quiet family men, some were colorful rogues, but all were great Raiders. Here is a the list of a longtime Raider fan old enough to remember the early days and resilient enough to continue following the team in spite of the miserable last five seasons:
WR, Fred Biletnikoff. A skinny, white guy who looked more like a musician or a guy behind the counter of an organic health food store. All Biletnikoff did was get open and catch the ball against seemingly more athletic opponents for many years.
WR, Tim Brown. Okay, the former Heisman winner often whined on and off the field and unlike Biletnikoff does not possess a Super Bowl ring. The numbers speak for themselves and Brown's career numbers are the best for a pass catcher in franchise history.
WR, Cliff Branch. Branch probably never got over 175 lbs. in his playing career, making his accomplishments all the more impressive. This mighty mite seemed to play his best in the Super Bowl.
TE, Dave Casper. Ghost to the post was one of Ken Stabler's favorite patterns and this former Notre Damer who spent three years of his college career at guard made clutch catches look easy. Todd Christiansen was another great one, just ask him, but for my money, I'll take the Ghost.
OT, Art Shell. Just don't bring him back as coach again. Shell was a great pass protector and the running game usually did most of their damage on the left side behind Shell and Upshaw.
OT, Lincoln Kennedy. One of the keys to the Raiders demise the last few years was the untimely retirement of Kennedy. Presidents come and go, but good offensive tackles are hard to find.
OG, Gene Upshaw. Shell's partner on the left side for many years was better at blocking than he is at negotiating, according to many current players. The embattled NFLPA leader didn't lose a lot of arguments on the field, however.
OG, Steve Wisniewski. Wiz, now a minister I believe, would pancake defenders and make them like it. The man was living proof that Christians aren't all wimpy Mister Rogers types.
OC, Jim Otto. Otto was the Raiders first Hall of Famer. Who else? Mr Raider.
QB, Jim Plunkett. One could make a case for Stabler, Lamonica or Gannon, but I've got to go with the guy with the two rings, Jim Plunkett. Nothing the guy did was pretty, but Plunk was a Larry The Cable Guy type of QB, he just got it done.
RB, Marcus Allen. One of the biggest disappointments for a Raider fan was the ugly feud between Allen and Al Davis, resulting in Marcus concluding his career in the uniform of the hated Chiefs.
That place former A's owner Charlie Finley referred to as a "cows#!* town" when he moved the franchise to the Bay Area in the 60's. There's no denying Allen's contribution to the Raiders' third Super Bowl title and his overall career in Silver and Black.
RB, Bo Jackson. Mark Van Eeghen, Kenny King and others could be considered here, but I gotta go with Bo. Jackson, if not for a bad hip, would have possibly been the best to ever tote the rock.
K, George Blanda. This one's tough, but I'll go with the ageless one, George Blanda, even if he did kick neanderthal style. As inconsistent as Seabass Janikowski is, this guy was his polar opposite. If Blanda was inside 50 yards and the game was on the line, you could put the points on the board. Blanda doubled as a back up QB, providing several heroic performances in the 1970 season.
I know, that's an extra guy, but I couldn't leave Branch out at WR. That's the offense. Check Volume II for the "D".