NFL History: Ted Hendricks Used His Head, Heart and Hands as an Oakland Raider

Honor Warren Wells TheTorchSenior Writer IIMay 6, 2011

Hendricks is a good role model for the young Oakland Raiders
Hendricks is a good role model for the young Oakland RaidersScott Boehm/Getty Images

All types of muscle are needed on the football field. Brainpower to out-think the opponent is a type of muscle that often leads teams to victories.

Ted Henricks was a physics major during his college days. Later, he relaxed by doing math problems during his leisure moments.

Hendricks has been described as eccentric, but certainly he was smart. An article says:

"Eccentric as they come: Born in Guatemala, where his father was employed at the time, Hendricks was a physics major at UM and was well-known for relaxing by doing math problems. He took the hardest classes off the field and took on the hardest assignments on it."

Here is an interesting fact about Hendricks' career with the Oakland Raiders:

"After Hendricks was traded to the Packers, he signed a 'future contract' with the World Football League. Hendricks was then in the option year of his NFL contract, and had one of his greatest seasons—five interceptions, seven blocked kicks, and a safety, again earning All-Pro honors."

"With the WFL bankrupt, owner Al Davis of the Raiders sent two first round draft choices to the Packers for the rights to Hendricks, signing him as a limited free agent. He went on to play nine seasons with the Raiders before retiring after the 1983 season."

Conflicts of opinions have occurred with the Oakland Raiders not once, but many times:

"In his first year on the Raider team, coach John Madden used him sparingly-partially as a result of a feud he had with Al Davis; however he eventually had him starting by the end of the 1975-6 season. The next year, with Hendricks as a full time player, he helped the Raiders win Super Bowl XI, the first in franchise history."

Again, Al Davis was misunderstood when he made a decision to keep Hendricks although all of the coaches voted in 1979 to release Hendricks. Those past victorious decisions are probably what fuel Al Davis in 2010. The article says:

"The end of the 1979 season, it appeared that "Kick 'em in the Head Ted"'s (his Raider nickname) career was over—a vote among Raider coaches showed that all of them had voted to release Hendricks at season's end.

However, Al Davis insisted on keeping Hendricks...and it turned out he was right! Hendricks responded with three straight Pro Bowl appearances, including All-Pro honors in 1980-81,and 1981-82 as helped the Raiders to their Cinderella win in Super Bowl XV."

Hendricks was called "indestructible." He was smart and strong. Here is what the archives say:

The seemingly indestructible Hendricks played in 215 straight regular-season games. He also participated in eight Pro Bowl games, seven AFC championships and four Super Bowls (V with the Colts , XI, XV, and XVIII with the Raiders). Ted was named All-Pro as a Colt in 1971, as a Packer in 1974, and as a Raider in 1980 and 1982. He also earned second-team All-Pro accolades five other times.

Hendricks was at his best over nine seasons with the Raiders. The Raiders gave him the freedom to roam the line, blitz on impulse, read the play and react. Nobody could key on him. Hendricks could disrupt the other team's offense like few others.

Now, what do you think made Hendricks so good. I'd argue that not only did he have physicality and  knowledge of football, but his abilities were enhanced by his love for physics and mathematics.

Hendricks' gifts help some of us make the point that in the game of professional football, a lot of tangibles and intangibles are at play, and a lot of covert and overt knowledge of physics, mathematics, psychology and other disciplines help to make the strong, stronger.

Hendricks' career was made more illustrious by his election to the Professional Football Hall of Fame, in Canton, Ohio. A quote:

"Hendricks last game was the Raiders' win in Super Bowl XVIII. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990, his second year of eligibility. He currently works on behalf of ex-players as part of the Hall of Fame Player's Association. He also was named as one of the members of the NFL's all time 75th anniversary team in 1994."

Go Raiders!