Friday, July 5, 2013

Oakland Raiders

In 1971, The Oakland Raiders missed the post-season for the only time between 1967 to 1977. In 1972 they bounced back, finished 1st in the west at 10-3-1, but lost to the Steelers in the first round.  We have five future Hall of Famers in this group.

After 4 seasons in Buffalo, Daryle Lamonica was the Raiders' starting QB from 1967-72, and led the AFL in TD passes in '67 and '69. He finished his career as a backup to Ken Stabler in '73 and '74.

Marv Hubbard was drafted by the Raiders in 1968, but did not make the team. He returned in 1969, and was the team's starting fullback from 1971-74, making the Pro Bowl from 1971-73. After missing the entire 1975 season with injuries, he was a backup for the Lions in his last season (1977).

Fred Biletnikoff was Oakland's #2 pick in the 1965 draft, and played his entire career (1965-77) with the Raiders. He was a starting end in all but his last season. I wonder what is written in red on the football? Maybe it's "no stickum zone".  Fred was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1988.

Raymond Chester was the Raiders' #1 pick in the 1970 draft. He was their starting tight end for his first 3 seasons, making the Pro Bowl each year. After 5 seasons as the Baltimore Colts' tight end, Chester returned to Oakland for his final 4 seasons (1978-81). He was the starter in '79 and '80, and made a 4th Pro Bowl appearance in 1979.

Jim Otto was the Raiders starting center for every season in his career (1960-74), and never missed a game. He made the Pro Bowl every season except his first and his last two. He was selected as the all-time AFL center, and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980. He was one of 2 players back in the day to wear double-zero (with Houston's Ken Burrough).

Gene Upshaw was one of Oakland's Blocks of Granite back in the day, along with center Jim Otto (1960-74) and tackle Art Shell (1968-82). Upshaw was the Raiders' #1 pick in 1967, and was the starting left guard for his entire career (1967-81), although only starting 5 games in his final season. After his playing career, he led the NFL players' union.

George Blanda began his career back in NINETEEN FORTY-NINE as the Bears' 12th-round pick. He played for the Bears from 1949-58 (although spending part of 1950 with the Baltimore Colts). With the Bears, he was primarily a kicker, but also played some linebacker in 1951, and was the starting QB in 1953 and 1954 (leading the NFL in completions in '53).

George was out of football in 1959, but in 1960 the AFL came knocking, and he found a 2nd career as the Oilers' starting QB and kicker from 1960-66, while leading Houston to the AFL Championship in 1960 and 1961. He also led AFL in passing attempts and completions in '63, '64, and '65.

In 1967 Blanda moved on tho the Raiders, and was their kicker for 9 seasons. He played in Super Bowl II, but retired just before the Raiders' Super Bowl championship season of 1976. George was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1981.

Phil Villapiano was Oakland's #2 pick in 1971, and was a starting outside linebacker for 9 seasons (although missing all but 2 games in 1977). He also played for the Buffalo Bills in a backup role from 1980 to 1983.

Willie Brown began his career in 1963 with the Denver Broncos, and was their starting left cornerback from 1964-66, and a Pro Bowl selection in '64 and '65. He played for the Raiders from 1967-78, and was the team's starting right cornerback every season but his last. He made the Pro Bowl in each of his first 7 seasons in Oakland. Brown was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984.

Nemiah Wilson was a cornerback for the Broncos (1965-67), Raiders (1968-74), and Bears (1975). He started for Denver in '66 and 67 on the right side (with his lone Pro Bowl appearance in 1967), and was a starter in Oakland from 1969-73 (mostly on the left side) before losing his starting job in 1974 to Skip Thomas.

George Atkinson was drafted in the 7th round in 1968, and made the Pro Bowl as a punt and kick returner in his rookie season. George was the Raiders' starting strong safety from 1969-77. After missing the 1978 season, he ended his career in 1979 with the Broncos.

Also check out the 1968 and 1971 Raiders.



Erik said...

Lamonica really had some monster seasons in the AFL and I suspect if he was a starter earlier he might be a better candidate for the HOF.

Steve Anderson said...

Raider games on NBC vs other AFL teams were very entertaining to watch with their deep pass mentality and WR like Freddy B. and Warren Wells.