Who would be Raiders’ first HOF class?


Received an e-mail from the 49ers during a weekend off with a headline worthy of “The Onion.”

It read:

Al Davis wasn’t in the first class of inductees, although maybe he should have been. (Now that would have made for a great headline).

Al has regaled the media more than once with the story of how he helped broker the deal that allowed DeBartolo the elder to purchase the 49ers from the Morabito family, with Eddie Jr. yipping at his father’s heels, saying, “Can I have it? Please Dad, can I have it? Please!”

So maybe those weren’t his exact words, but I doubt Davis would mind if that’s the way it was portrayed.

That’s a long way of pointing out the 49ers are opening their own Hall of Fame, while the Raiders, who kicked the idea around in public upon their return to Oakland in 1995, still don’t have one.

Nor do they have a “Ring of Honor” or anything else for a with a team that considers tradition such an important part of its existence. With the original AFL teams being recognized this year in “legacy” games, it would have been a perfect year for the Raiders to have their own introductory class.

I wrote about this back in 2005, but I’ll take another crack at the first 10 enshrinees, with one stipulation for the first class of players:

Only true “Raiders” go in first. That means you were either drafted by the Raiders or became a star with the Raiders. And it also means George Blanda (a cast of thousands), Ted Hendricks (Colts, Packers), Jim Plunkett (Patriots, 49ers) and Art Powell (New York Titans) become eligible next year.

Before getting to the players, four men enter the non-player’s wing:

Al Davis, coach, owner: The architect of a brand name that has fallen on hard times, but in its prime played with a singular style and purpose which placed it alongside the Yankees and Celtics.

John Madden, coach, 1969-78: Record was 112-39-7 overall, and only the Pittsburgh Steelers prevented Madden from more than one ring.

Tom Flores, coach, 1979-1987: Twice as many rings as Madden and was the last Raiders coach with the ability to operate effectively while in a true partnership with the boss.

Bill King, radio play-by-play: 1966-1992: If you grew up in the Bay Area and followed the Raiders during the days when sold out home games were blacked out, your memories are even more vivid than if you saw the games on television. Unless you experienced it through King’s voice, you’d never understand.


Jim Otto, center, 1960-74: The only All-AFL center the league ever had, Otto sacrificed his body but not his spirit and remains a Raider to the core. If he’s not the toughest man who ever lived, he’s in the top five. Named to Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980.

Gene Upshaw, guard, 1967-81: Before he started running interference for the players as the union chief, Upshaw was one of the greatest pulling guards in NFL history. Named to Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.

Art Shell, tackle, 1968-82: Entire career distilled into a single afternoon when he made Jim Marshall disappear in the Raiders’ first Super Bowl win, Shell remains the standard by which his position is judged. Named to Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989. (No need to make mention that whole second coaching go-around in 2006).

Willie Brown, cornerback, 1967-78: Acquired from Denver along with quarterback Mickey Slaughter for defensive tackle Rex Mirich and a third-round draft pick, Davis thought Brown perfect for the bump-and-run defense. Brown played it as if he invented it. Named to Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984.

Dave Casper, tight end, 1974-80, 1984: If he’s not the best tight end of all time, he’s in the conversation. Dominant as blocker and receiver, participant in two plays which should be shown in an endless loop somewhere in the imaginary Hall of Fame facility “The Ghost to the Post” and the “Holy Roller.” Named to Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002.

Marcus Allen, running back, 1982-92: Before he committed the cardinal sin of a Raiders player by publicly feuding with Davis over money, Allen was the dominant running back in franchise history and without peer as an all-around back (running, receiving, blocking), saving his best game for the last Raiders’ win in a Super Bowl. Named to Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003.

Fred Biletnikoff, wide receiver, 1965-78: Did Biletnikoff ever measure off a pattern so that he came up an inch shy of a first down? Not that I remember. MVP of the Raiders first Super Bowl win and one of the great route runners and possession receivers of all time. Named to Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988.

Howie Long, defensive end, 1981-93: Didn’t matter whether Long was aligned as an end in a 3-4 or a 4-3 defense, whether teams went at him or away from him, whether they run or passed. Few players consistently whipped the man in front of him as consistently as one of the last throwback defensive linemen. Named to Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000.

Cliff Branch, wide receiver, 1972-85: This is what Davis was thinking about when he drafted Darrius Heyward-Bey. One of the byproducts of the team superiority of the Steelers over the Raiders was that they put both Lynn Swann and John Stallworth in the Hall of Fame, when neither man had the impact Branch had on the Raiders. Will never get a sniff at Canton, but he goes in with honors here.

Jack Tatum, safety, 1971-79: The personification of the intimidation factor the Raiders used to live by in their glory years, Tatum’s Super Bowl blow-up on Minnesota wide receiver Sammy White remains an NFL Films classic. Still among the standards by which hard-hitting safeties are judged, Tatum was so feared the league slowly legislated his style of play out of the league through rules changes.

Ken Stabler, quarterback, 1970-79: OK, we’ll make it 11. Inadvertently edited Stabler out of my initial list, and wasn’t willing to take anyone else out . . . no-brainer as the quarterback who finally delivered a Super Bowl win in addition to being the master of the two-minute drill.


The Raiders will hold the first of their organized team activities this week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Media access will be Wednesday following a 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. practice.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • CupertinoRaider

    What ? No Ray Guy ?

    Come on… at least in our own HOF he should be there.


  • Nnamdi21

    Mods are up.

  • M Lonetree

    Dave Dalby.

  • CantstandtheHaters


    QB Jeff Garcia
    –>brings knowlege, experienced sounding board for our franchise QB, solid backup

    RB Gary Russell
    FB Lorenzo Neal
    FB John Paul Foschi

    WR Darrius Heyward-Bey
    WR Louis Murphy
    WR Samie Parker

    TE Brandon Myers
    TE Chris O’Neill

    OT Khalif Barnes
    OT Erik Pears
    OT Marcus Johnson
    C Samson Satele
    –>they bring power, better protection/time in the passing game, are young, experienced with the potential to eventually replace Green and Carlisle. i like this group. they could all start in the near future (Johnson for Carlisle)


    DE Matt Shaughnessy
    DE Stryker Sulak
    –>Stryker pressuring QBs while Nessy setting the edges

    DL Desmond Bryant
    DT Ryan Boschetti
    –>one is practice-squad bound with great potential and the other brings hustle

    LB Slade Norris
    LB David Nixon
    LB Frantz Joseph
    –>anyone who replaces Sam Williams should be an upgrade

    SS Mike Mitchell
    SS Jerome Boyd

    wow, there could be 8-9 starters in this offseason additions. we basically went for need everywhere

    thats why it was hard to grade RRS so I just went down the list and broke it down to the positions with the guys I think could stick and help

  • OAKlifer

    RAY GUY is in my top ten good call CR….

  • Dakota Says:
    May 18th, 2009 at 9:32 am
    “Joe Aska can be in the one-eyed wing of the Raiders’ HOF.”


  • Eric Turner and Leon Bender get honorable mentions.


  • OAKlifer

    CantstandtheHaters Says:
    May 18th, 2009 at 10:54 am

    RB Gary Russell

    I don’t think he will stick…although he does have a SB touchdown…(i think) he wont stick we have power in bush and a pinball in fargas…..maybe Al thinks we can net a 4-6th rounder for Fargas after camp starts and will want to keep Russel (gary) for the thunder to go with our lightning…..hmmm intresting concept!!!

    What do you guys think we net in a fargas trade and are we willing to go with Dmac/Bush/Russell/

  • RaiderRockstar

    What do you guys think we net in a fargas trade and are we willing to go with Dmac/Bush/Russell/


    Fargas might be worth a 6th or 7th rounder at best. Teams know Fargas will be 3rd on the depth chart behind McFadden & Bush. Plus we are high on Rankin and/or G. Russell

    I think Fargas sticks and Rankin will be gone unless we can add him to the practice squad again … Russell will be 3rd on the depth chart elsewhere

  • OAKlifer

    I think Fargas sticks and Rankin will be gone unless we can add him to the practice squad again … Russell will be 3rd on the depth chart elsewhere

    good assesment…..I would prefer Fargas over Russell as 3rd guy personaly….And I hope we sneak Rankin on the practice squad again he might be Fargas replacement!

  • OAKlifer

    Teams know Fargas will be 3rd on the depth chart behind McFadden & Bush.


    That might be so in Oakland but what about some other teams he might not be worth that much in terms of “deemed value to us” but deemed value to another team two weeks into the pr-season and a brandon jacobs gets hurt or a steven jackson…then fargas might be 3rd on our Depth chart but could start on a few other teams barring injury…….

  • CantstandtheHaters

    OAK you right Russell (Gary) probably wont make the cut… slipped in there like a good RB lol

  • RaiderRockstar

    OAKlifer: It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if Fargas were cut or traded

    Cable/Davis might want to find out if DMC/Bush can both be healthy and form a Fred Taylor/MJD or Adrian Peterson/Chester Taylor monster type of duo first before they part ways with the ultimate team player and crash test dummy

  • OAKlifer


  • RaiderRockstar

    as much as the Raiders plan to run the football while Russell learns the offense we should keep as many decent RB’s as we can get our hands on.

    If McFadden or Fargas get hurt in camp or preseason it’d be nice to have somebody that knows the offense and can execute. Who knows what a Bush/Rankin or Bush/Russell tandem would look like? I’d rather have these guys than a few scrubs off the street like Selvin Young or Tatum Bell!

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    Unfortunately, Fargus is worth zilch as far as draft choices. That was proven on draft day. I can see them hiding him on the injured list if they want to try Rankin.

  • RaiderRockstar

    new post!

  • Sactown Frank

    Ron Wolf. Oakland’s GM during the glory years from 1966-1990, Green Bays GM during thier glory years. Except for the Gannon era, Al has never succeded without Wolf.

    I don’t know the story behind why he left, though. Anyone know?

  • CJ Legend 34

    Ummmm….Could someone tell me why all time Raider Legend #34 no other than BO JACKSON himself was left off this list?

  • BDAtlanta

    Jerry, or anyone. Is it possible to get game film from the old games in the 60’s and 70’s? If not, how about the radio annoucer giving the play by play?

    I’m sure you’d have to pay for it but that is a goldmine for the teams.

    Well, maybe not the Seahawks or the Chargers. Muahahahaha

  • hoodedswan

    I see the following names for the next 10 guys in the Raiders HOF:
    George Atkinson
    Dave Dalby
    Ray Guy
    Lester Hayes
    It’s all good. More for the list:
    Tim Brown
    Todd Christensen
    Rich Gannon
    Henry Lawrence

  • maryf

    What about Plunk???? Only the MVP of Super Bowl 15, 2 rings!!!! What is the deal NOBODY seems to recognize his greatness. I don’t understand. Also missing: Ray Guy, Timmy Brown,Todd Christensen and Mike Haynes.