“A Good Day to be an Oakland Raider; Tim Brown & Ron Wolf Elected Into Pro Footballs Hall of Fame”
With the addition of Tim Brown and Ron Wolf, the Raiders again showed the football world the greatness and importance that the Raiders franchise has in the history of the NFL.
Tim Brown was a great high school football and basketball player. Although he played on some of the state of Texas’ worst high school football teams, schools like Oklahoma and Notre Dame recruited him. He chose Notre Dame.
At Notre Dame he quickly gained the nickname of “Touchdown Timmy” with his great playmaking skills. Tim could do it all scoring on various plays including runs, receptions, kick off returns and punt returns. In 1987 he became the first wide receiver to ever win the Heisman Trophy. He would prove to be as valuable for the Raiders once he was drafted with the sixth pick in the 1988 NFL draft.
After a great rookie season with 43 catches and leading the NFL in most punt and kick return statistics, Brown had a terrible knee injury that made him miss his sophomore campaign. When he came back, he did not have the same blazing speed, but it forced him to become a better receiver. He became a student of the game and learned the intrinsic things needed to take him to the next level including proper route running techniques and body positioning.
In 1994 Brown and Al Davis weren’t seeing eye to eye and he stated in an interview that he was prepared to leave. He signed an offer sheet with the Denver Broncos but the Raiders quickly matched it. After his sophomore season, Tim Brown never missed another NFL game playing almost every season for the Raiders.
Tim Brown was a constant reminder that hard work and talent together creates greatness. He now takes his rightful place among other great Raider pass catchers like Fred Biletnikoff and Dave Casper. The only hope is that Cliff Branch soon is added to the list.
If you say the name Ron Wolf, most Raider fans will shrug their shoulders. In reality though he may be the most important figure in the almost 3 decades of Raider dominance in the NFL.
Al Davis made Ron Wolf his right hand man, and for 23 years he created an empire in Oakland. As a scout, Al Davis found out quickly what a great evaluator of talent Ron Wolf was. He became the Player Personnel Director and was in charge of the Raiders drafts. Al Davis and Ron Wolf had a formula for success. Rush the passer, have a strong physical running game, and throw the deep pass. When both were asked once why they didnt share game films with other teams, they both would say, “Why would we? We know more than everyone else.”
Many writers, and ex coaches and players close to the Raiders said Al Davis listened to one guy; Ron Wolf. In a famous story that John Madden likes to tell on his local CBS radio commentary, he tells of a brittle kneed quarterback named Ken Stabler. He was being evaluated for the NFL draft. Most NFL experts didn’t have much confidence in Stabler being a good NFL player. Many said Stabler’s knees were like a 70 year old man and it would be pointless to draft him with a high pick. Al Davis asked all of the people in the Raider draft room if they should pick Stabler. They all said no. Al finally asked Wolf. Wolf paused for a second and nodded and said yes. Al Davis drafted him and the rest is history.
Famous picks that Al Davis gave credit to Ron Wolf for including Stabler, Jack Tatum, Gene Upshaw, Art Shell, Howie Long and Marcus Allen.
Ron Wolf went on to the Green Bay Packers. A team that was being compared to the Cubs for their years of losing play. Wolf hired Mike Holmgren to coach, traded for Brett Favre, signed Reggie White, and shored up the team with solid drafts and they won the Super Bowl.
Wolf was perfect for Al Davis. He was quiet, didn’t want publicity or credit and wanted to be behind the scenes while Al Davis enjoyed being out front and in the limelight. Together they created an amazing team that will never be duplicated.
Both of these inductees were vital parts of the great tradition of the NFL and Raider football. Today is a good day to be a Raider.