The quarterback struggles of today are nothing different for the Raiders than the in last six years. The last time the Raiders had a winning season, they had someone they considered to be a “franchise QB”. In fact, The Raiders’ AFL title, Super Bowl titles, and Conference titles all came with solid QBs. See a trend? But of all the Raiders QBs, who is the best? Here are five Raiders QBs I submit as candidates for the greatest in Oakland/LA Raiders history.
George Blanda – Primarily a kicker by the time he came to the Raiders, George Blanda bailed the Silver and Black out as QB a few times in some key games. Blanda filled in several times for an injured Mad Bomber (you’ll see his name in a bit), leading the Raiders to big wins over the Browns and Broncos, and heroically filling in for Lamonica in a losing effort in the 1970 AFC Championship game against the Baltimore Colts. Blanda excelled in two different positions and his legacy was cemented with his Hall of Fame induction.
Daryle Lamonica – I told you that you’d see his name on here. “The Mad Bomber” led one of the most exciting offenses ever in football. This year, people are talking about Drew Brees’ Saints team and their ability to score at will. Their point total in the first two games was second only to?... Lamonica’s Raiders. Lamonica finished his career as a two-time AFL MVP, and has the highest winning percentage of any QB in history except for Otto Graham. During one game, an injury forced Lamonica to sit down and the second-stringer came into the game. His name?...
Ken Stabler – The Snake. After filling in for Lamonica, Stabler became the Raiders’ starting quarterback, and is arguably one of the most popular Raiders ever. His carefree attitude and ability to win seemingly impossible games made him a fan favorite. In 1977, Stabler gave the Raiders what no other QB had done for them up to that point; a Super Bowl title. Stabler was also NFL MVP, and many consider him one of the greatest quarterbacks not in the Hall of Fame.
Jim Plunkett – Ken Stabler may have won one Super Bowl for the Raiders, but Jim Plunkett won two. Plunkett came to the Raiders as a backup in 1978, but soon found himself as the starter. Going along with his Super Bowl rings, he has a Super Bowl MVP and 1980 Comeback Player of the Year to his credit. Plunkett is one of the most overlooked quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl, and he did it twice.
Rich Gannon – Years before Rich Gannon would find himself as the most unwelcome man in Oakland since Warren Sapp, and years after his journeyman status began, Rich Gannon had a string of years unlike any Raiders QBs in over a decade. Rich Gannon, under the tutelage of Jon Gruden, led the Raiders back to glory with three straight AFC West titles, an NFL MVP award, two Pro Bowl MVPs, and a trip to the Super Bowl.
Gannon was the last true franchise QB the Raiders had. Will JaMarcus be next? He could learn a lot from these five greats. Which do you think is the best?