Bo Jackson. That name alone represents an era in Oakland Raiders history when the RB was feared by all opponents. Bo Jackson was a two-sport MVP player during the '80s and made a name for himself alongside the Oakland Raiders. Bo Jackson was also a machine on the gridiron. His powerful running attack swept aside would be tacklers as they stood or laid in the dust of NFL's most prolific player. Bo Jackson was a household name.
Bo Jackson may also have been the greatest athlete of all time. In high school, weighing over 200 lbs, Jackson could run the 100 meters in 10.39 seconds. Very rare indeed. Jackson then played college ball for Auburn, where he set the record for most rushing yards (1,786 yards) in 1985 and career total 4,303 yards. Jackson's number was then retired as he would win the Heisman Trophy in '85 and be voted the MVP of the Sugar Bowl.
Bo Jackson rocked the silver and black from 1987 to 1990. In his first season, Jackson scored four rushing TDs and caught two passing TDs for the then-Los Angeles Raiders. Bo Jackson averaged 6.8 yards per carry and simply humbled opponents as they were unable to bring down the powerhouse FB.
It should be noted that in his premier "hobby" season, Jackson rushed for 554 yards on 81 carries in just seven games!
Overall, in his five-year span as an Oakland Raider, Jackson scored 16 TDs, had 2,782 rushing yards, and pleased millions of fans as Bo knew how to run over Brian Bosworth and score a TD. At the time, Bosworth talked a lot about being the best defensive lineman. When the two players met in 1991, Bo ran 221 yards, including a 91-yard run and then upset the "Boz." What's tough to imagine is that Bo was backup to...Marcus Allen.
Marcus Allen was another Oakland Raider great however, he only played one sport, whereas Bo played two. Then there's also the "what if " Bo never got hurt theory. Marcus Allen however may be the greatest of all time, but for the purpose of this article, comparison is with Bo since McFadden plays hard ball. McFadden will hit would be tacklers as he did when he played the Kansas City Chiefs and at the same time score a TD like the Bo Jackson/Brian Bosworth scenario.
Bo was a media giant for the Oakland Raiders and the Kansas City Royals. The "Bo Knows" campaign was priceless and overall, Jackson represented everything Al Davis expected from him. He was a "Commitment to Excellence "player that always performed above most and was a thrill to watch. Bo Jackson was truly an Oakland Raider legend!
There hasn't been a finesse running back in Oakland since Jackson. The Oakland Raiders have had some great players like Napoleon Kaufman, Lamont Jordan, Tyrone Wheatley and of course Charlie Garner. In fact, Garner was the most complete of the bunch.
Enter the Oakland Raiders' newest star RB, Darren McFadden—a.k.a. D Mac!
McFadden was drafted No.1 by the silver and black in 2008. Unlike Jackson, however, his stats were low and he was even considered bust. In his first season, McFadden posted 499 yards, four TDs and had a 4.4 per yard average. The 2009 campaign saw less performance, as he suffered from injuries and was not a factor in the Oakland Raiders lineup.
Last season, McFadden (under Hue Jackson) not only played well, but won over the hearts of Oakland Raiders fans as he posted 1,157 rushing yards and scored seven TDs! His running ability has just been tapped into, and similar to Bo Jackson, Darren McFadden punishes would-be tacklers.
Darren McFadden has the talent to become greater than Bo Jackson but he must remain healthy. His running last season helped the Raiders rank second overall and his catching ability has been a great asset. McFadden has great hands and he has some decent media advertisements like Bo.
But to become greater than Bo? McFadden is not a two-sport player, so he can not win out in this competition. But his college stats are pretty close to Bo as he played for the Arkansas Razorbacks and posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.
Darren McFadden can become an Oakland Raiders legend if he continues to play well under Hue Jackson. The key for Darren McFadden to be great depends on the play calling. Should the Raiders decide to punish opponents with a solid running attack, both Darren McFadden alongside Michael Bush should post huge numbers.
Darren McFadden keeps the defensive line honest and this opens up the passing game. With a balanced passing/rushing attack, the Oakland Raiders will have a bright future. McFadden is also a pleasure to watch. McFadden has nice cuts in the line, he has great speed and as mentioned prior can catch the ball.
Last season, McFadden came on strong to beat out a lot of defenses as he tore through and ran down field (the Denver Broncos humiliation was spectacular). McFadden is definitely a volatile weapon on the field and once again, if he can stay healthy the next four years and post 1,000-yard seasons, he will become one of the Oakland Raiders greats. Maybe not a household name like Bo Jackson, but still an Oakland Raider great and even Hall of Famer.
I am betting that Darren McFadden will have another blowout year. Go Oakland Raiders and welcome Darren McFadden!