Posted by Bill Soliday, Raiders beat writer for ANG Newspapers
In honor, they claim, of Terrell Owens, SI.com, Sports Illustrated’s website, has culled what writer Andrew Perloff considers a list of the 20 most controversial NFL players of all time. I liked the idea, but didn’t care much for the list.
The No. 1 most controversial player on the list was Joe Namath.
Joe Namath? The right breast of that Jackson lady was more controversial than Joe. He was more beloved than controversial as I recall. And his recent slip on TV with a sideline reporter was more funny than controversial.
Conclusion: this rating is strictly a New York thing.
Owens made No. 2 on the list and I won’t dispute that. The rest of the list is as follows:
3. Jim Brown; 4. Conrad Dobler; 5. Ricky Williams; 6. Duane Thomas; 7. Paul Hornung; 8. John Riggins; 9. Randy Moss; 10. Jim McMahon; 11. Deion Sanders; 12. Lawrence Taylor; 13. Ryan Leaf; 14. Thomas Henderson; 15. Bill Romanowski; 16. Michael Irvin; 17. John Matuszak; 18. John Elway; 19. Mark Gastineau; 20. Warren Sapp.
You may note that four Raiders made the list, which isn’t too bad until you consider that the undisputed most controversial Raider didn’t even make the top 20. Uh, did somebody forget Jack Tatum?
As for John Matuszak down there at No. 17, I don’t get it. I suppose it’s so John Elway is No. 18. What was controversial about Elway other than the draft day issue where he said he wouldn’t go to the Colts? If that qualifies, I’d say Eli Manning belongs as well.
At this point I would like to issue an invitation for readers to submit a list of their own top 20 controversial Raiders. For argument’s sake, here’s one man’s list after having been exposed to Raideriana since 1969.
1. Jack Tatum. The hit on Darryl Stingley, the mystery of the Immaculate Reception and the style with which Jack played not to mention the accusations of Chuckles Noll that he was part of the NFL’s “criminal element” puts him atop any list.
2. Barret Robbins. Maybe time will un-do some of what has been done, but I have my doubts. So sad it almost makes you cry.
3. Ken Stabler. Namath didn’t do anything Stabler didn’t do and Stabler did it with just as much machismo, if not more. Put him in New York and watch his rating jump.
4. Chip Oliver. The younger generation probably isn’t even aware of him, but old-timers are. He was his generation’s Ricky Williams. He quit to be an organic hippie and the smoke that came out of that was very big in 1970.
5. Todd Marinovich. All I can think to say is “wow, dude. Gnarly”
6. Bill Romanowski. What he did on just one afternoon in his two year tenure in Oakland earns the nod.
7. Ben Davidson. How could anybody leave the guy out?
8. Darrell Russell. Unbelievable headline-maker, unbelievable waste of talent.
9. George Atkinson. Radio Free George was the other half of Noll’s criminal element accusation. Ask Lynn Swann about the guy teammates called “Weasel.”
10. Lyle Alzado. A badder boy, if a bit less goofy than Matuszak. Of course, the machete that Hayward police found under Tooz’ car seat one night on Hesperian Boulevard does get Matuszak brownie points. Let’s make them an entry.
11. Sebastian Janikowski. He’s cleaned up his act, but for a while there, between the controversy of his selection in Round 1 to his night time achievements, nobody could touch him.
12. Dan Birdwell. The day this defensive tackle vomited all over the ball (and the Denver center’s hands) after a night on the town, may have been the top fable in 45 years of Raider trivia. Let’s not forget the time he tried to cheat on bed-check by sticking a floor lamp under the covers of his bed at the El Roacho Tropicana in Santa Rosa to go out on a carousing binge. Didn’t work. When the bed-check coach got to Birdy’s room and flipped the wall switch, he nearly keeled over when what was supposed to be Birdwell’s snoozing body began to glow.
13. Randy Moss. Although he’s been anything but controversial in Oakland so far, his mighty reputation precedes him.
14. Phillip Buchanon. Yikes. The Raider Nation is famous for sticking up for its Raiders but Showtime didn’t get a hall pass. Controversy is his middle name.
15. Cole Ford. And in case you need evidence, you might put together an animal act and move to Las Vegas. Also once hijacked the team bus in Kansas City and wrecked the thing. Once told me not to write about him because he didn’t want his name to appear on the same page of the newspaper as the penile enlargement ads. A genuine space cadet.
16. Jeff George. Hello. How’s your groin? Goodbye.
17. Rickey Dudley. Living proof how difficult it is to replace Andrew Glover.
18. Chester McGlockton. Tried to woo Marty Schottenheimer to trade for him during a game, wore a trench coat to practice and once hinted to me that he was right when he jumped offsides. Hes now serving burgers in Pleasant Hill. As for his cable company, don’t ask.
19. Steve Wisniewski. Killer on the field. Man of God off.
20. Marcus Allen. Still two words not mentioned in the House of Al and all sorts of theories as to why it is so.
List of honorable mentions: Warren Wells (what talent, what a waste); Billy Cannon (what a character, what a lousy counterfeiter); Frank Middleton (came with a reputation he rarely failed to live up to); Andre Rison (a one-eyed girlfriend, a burning house, a rebirth and pffft, he was gone); Charles Woodson (Just ask Bill Callahan).
Eyes and Ears
Not much to report with a light workout and a travel day, but here are a few notes to feed the beast.