I love Raider fans because of the appreciation they have for the past. The Glory Days of the Raiders was the foundation of the greatness of the franchise. More and more young people are learning just how great and fun these players were and to understand the great connection the city of Oakland and the east bay had with the Raiders and the players.
Yesterday the Oakland Raiders announced the passing of one of the all time fan favorites during the glory years of the Raiders. I wanted to take a moment and remember him and another great Raider who was lost recently.
Marv Hubbard (1946-2015)
Raider fans were well known during the glory years for their many posters and signs that they would hang up on the walls of the end zones. The two favorite ones for most fans was “speed kills” in honor of the great Cliff Branch; with his #21 in the Raiders shield; and “take it to the cupboard Hubbard” in honor of Raider icon Marv Hubbard. Many also liked the “OL Mutha Hubbard” too.
Many fans reacted on twitter and other social media sites last night to the sad news that former Raiders fullback Marv Hubbard had died at the age of 68. There is no listed cause of death as of this writing.
During the glory years of the 1970’s, there were few players on the Raiders that were more popular than Marv Hubbard. After a great career at Colgate, the Raiders picked him in the 11th round with little to no expectations. Right away the Raiders were impressed with his tough and aggressive style of running, as well as his great production and vision.
Hubbard had an amazing 4.8 yards per carry during his career. In fact in his 6 years with the Raiders, his LOWEST yards per carry average in a season was an astounding 4.6 yards per rush. He was a good all around player who could catch the ball and block as well. He used tough running and great vision to get every yard he could.
Marv became a fan favorite due to his fun personality off the field along with his punishing running style on it. He was not fast or athletic but he loved contact. He played with little to no regard for his body and he played 6 productive years for the Raiders and one year for the Lions. His shoulder was permanently injured due to his physical play and it cut short his career. Bill King once said the collisions between Hubbard and Kansas City great Willie Lanier was worth the price of admission alone.
He was a 3 time all pro, and was extremely well respected around the league. During the greatest decade of the NFL in the 1970’s, the Raiders dynamic duo of Marv Hubbard and Charlie Smith were key cogs in the Oakland offense. Fans loved the way that Hubbard squeezed every yard out of his runs, and that he loved to run over people.
Many fans remember him around town where he was like many players of the day who were staples at local pubs and bars around the bay area. He was a funny and outgoing person who was loved by all. Later in life he was at various fundraising golfing events and he never left without making someone smile.
Art Powell (1937-2015)
On April 6 the Raiders lost one of their classiest players of all time in Art Powell. He had been in failing health due to heart problems. One of the first AFL stars, he teamed up with Don Maynard for the New York Titans (soon to be Jets), and they became the first 1,000 yard tandem in football. Powell was a key member of the turnaround for the Raiders, signing with them in 1963, the same year Al Davis arrived.
Originally Art Powell did not want to come to Oakland but he agreed to have dinner with new coach and general partner Al Davis. After he and his wife had dinner with Mr. Davis, he agreed to sign with the Raiders. Al Davis just happened to have a signed contract with him that night so he signed him on the spot.
Powell was a great leader on and off the field. In 1963, Bo Roberson, Fred Williamson, and Clem Daniels joined Art in boycotting an exhibition game at Ladd Stadium in Alabama which still had segregated seating for fans. After meeting with Al Davis, Mr. Davis told the League they would not play the game unless it was moved. The game was then moved to Frank Youell Field in Oakland instead. Mr. Davis respected their stance and most felt none of the other owners would have ever supported Powell.
Powell requested a trade to Buffalo of all places because he wanted to start a business there. He later regretted it. He stated that he always wondered how things would have turned out if he stayed in Oakland but he said you just have to live with decisions and learn from them even if they don’t work out.
Even though Powell only played 4 years for the Raiders, he amazingly is their 7th leading receiver of all time. He was a 4 time all star and with 17% of his catches being touchdowns, he is one of the all time leaders in that category.
Respected on the field for his amazing talent, and off the field for his great character and leadership, Art Powell takes a rightful place in the history of the Oakland Raiders.
I hope that all Raider fans will think of these players and their families and appreciate all that they did. May they rest in peace knowing they gave a lot of pleasure to so many fans.