Ask any Raider fan over the age of 40 what he most remembers of the Raiders, a tight group of names will come out.
Some will speak of Ken Stabler's ability to move on the fly. Some will speak of Tatum hitting a guy so hard, he was knocked out cold. Some might even mention players like Daryle Lamonica, Tom Flores, Warren Wells or Tony Teresa long ago.
The younger generation, might make mention of the names, of Marcus Allen, Jim Plunkett, Jeff Hostetler, Tim Brown, the first coaching time of Art Shell or the efforts of Terry McDaniel in the good years.
Time, marched on.
For the Raiders, the lingering of these players happened, because the players won games, fought hard, took the NFL and AFL at times on, without flinching.
The present generation, has two issues to deal with.
The first issue, is the lack of focus. The last Super-Bowl winning club dated back to 1983, with a win over the favored Redskins. Since that victory, the Raiders have been to the AFC Championship four times, falling to the Bills twice in the 90's. The third, led by Jon Gruden, ended with Rich Gannon getting knocked from the game. The fourth....we played the same Jon Gruden
From those days, after the departure of Tim Brown, Rich Gannon, Jerry Porter and Ronald Curry, this generation of Raiders fans are seeing a team develop of free-agent hopefuls or lingering draft picks.
Granted, some guys do stick with you. The name of Asomugha is well-known, as a shut- down cornerback. Lechler, is simply the best punter in the NFL. Seabastian Janikowski, with his kicking ability, got moved into some select company, after a 61-yard kick was good.
Other names, still too early to call legendary, might be of Zach Miller, Mike Mitchell, Justin Fargas, or even Kirk Morrison are well known to the Raider Nation.
But what differentiates the Legends from today's heroes?
The days of Ken Stabler, Daryle Lamonica and George Blanda were simply impossible to compare with. In the last seven seasons, Oakland has mustered just 29 wins.
It took Daryle Lamonica two and a half years (1967-1969) to win that many games.
And in those seasons, there were only 14 games in a season and with ties to deal with as well.
Some opposing fans may like to make fun of the fact the Raiders seem to "live in the past" and that the present only matters now.
For our fans, one can only hope that the Raiders players of now, wish to play as the legends have.
Those legends, played without fear, called the bluffs and left the nothing back. The present players are the way for the Raider Nation to bridge to the present....and prove to the other fans, that we too, have modern-era heroes and legends.
However, I will never forget watching Willie Brown run back the interception for the Super Bowl, sealing the win against the Vikings.