Category Archives: Health

“The Passing Of Legendary Raider Ken Stabler Shocks a Nation”

Kendra: @JimJaxMedia this is an amazing article and tribute to my Dad. Thank you. He would have loved this. The love & support has amazed us all.

Marissa:  @JimJaxMedia  Thank you so much for honoring my dad with such beautiful words.
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“Some People need 8 Hours of sleep and some need 3 hours.  I didn’t need much sleep and sometimes studied my playbook by the light of the jukebox”

Ken Stabler

“He was the perfect quarterback and the perfect Raider.  If I had to pick one quarterback to win a game in the final drive, it would be Ken Stabler”

John Madden

“It’s a Travesty of sports justice that Ken Stabler is not in the Hall of Fame.  He was as good as any quarterback I ever saw”

Former Bronco Great, Tom Jackson

“Joe Namath was the greatest athlete at quarterback that I ever had, but Ken Stabler was the best quarterback that I ever coached.”

Paul “Bear” Bryant, legendary Alabama Coach

“He was such a gentleman.  He wanted to fight it quietly without bother.  That’s who he was”. 

Ted Hendricks, HOF Raider Linebacker

“I never saw anything like it.  He was like Madison Bumgarner the way he could throw fastballs or sliders with pinpoint accuracy.” 

Lester Hayes, Former Raider Cornerback

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“The Passing Of Legendary Raider Ken Stabler Shocks a Nation”

A leader and true Southern Gentleman to the end.

I’m the big brother people call when there is a tragedy or a problem. There isn’t a week that goes by where someone won’t call me between midnight and 3 am with either a problem or wanting to talk.  Call it the John Boy Walton in me.  For this I don’t cry much in front of people and I try to be strong. And to be honest I never cry over a celebrity or an athlete’s death. Famous people have never impressed me that much and when people drop their names I just kind of shrug.  Unfortunately after hearing the fiasco which is the internet tell me finally that the matriarch of the dynasty which was the Oakland Raiders was gone, I was filled with emotions that shocked me.

Kenny Stabler; Snake; passed away yesterday at the age of 69 due to complications of stage 4 colon cancer sending a shock wave of sadness throughout the NFL world. In death, as he did in life, Kenny took on the pressure himself and many of his teammates didn’t even know he was sick. Stabler, until the end; was the classy leader that took on the pressure while lifting the load off of others.  Later in life he did color commentary for Alabama games and the state is in mourning for their favorite son.

I slowly walked down my hiking trail and just wanted a minute alone with no sounds. I looked out over the water and for the first time in my life I cried over the loss of a professional athlete.

Ken Stabler; like many; was my favorite athlete. In fact I often either wanted #12 on my teams or the #21 for Roberto Clemente. As an adult I would often write both numbers on professional contracts at the bottom of pages. I remember my parents and coaches getting mad at me as a little boy for wanting to use my left hand like Kenny. I remember praying to God to make me have special powers so I could use my left arm like Stabler did.

For a young fan to even grasp in a small way what Stabler meant to the Raiders would take a lot of effort on their part. If you ever get the chance, read the book Snake. It’s the candid account of the lifestyle and crazy ways of the Raiders of that time. In the greatest era of the NFL in the 70’s, George Clooney and Clint Eastwood had nothing on the Snake.

In high school Stabler was 29-1 as a starter.  He averaged 29 points a game as a high school basketball player and was drafted by two major league baseball teams.  At Alabama he was 28-3-2.  For the Raiders he was 69-26-1.  126-30-4.  I’m speechless.

To see how dominating the Raiders and Ken Stabler were, look at this stat.   In Stabler’s first 69 games as a regular starter for the Raiders, the Raiders were 56-13. I actually had to check the numbers 5 times to make sure they were right. That is unreal. That’s greatness.

The Stabler Kindness:

Stabler’s generation is amazing. Many times under the darkest of circumstances, they are so selfless. This is seen especially in sickness and death.  When he was sick he didn’t want to be a burden and again, was as selfless and giving as a man can be. Kenny and his family have helped countless people through the XOXO Stabler Foundation. Kenny also was amazingly giving of his time and his efforts in many charities and causes. Like most of his generation he didn’t want much fanfare and didn’t call the presses every time he helped someone. He was a great person. He never turned down a fans request to sign something or talk to him.

I often feel bad for his daughters, grand kids & his long time Partner Kim who have shown great patience with some of us loving Ken so much. They have been as caring and kind as he was. In death they also showed the selfless Stabler spirit. The Stabler family announced that his brain and spinal cord will be donated to Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center to support research for degenerative brain disease in athletes. People forget that the Snake was involved in the concussion lawsuit against the NFL.

The Bond:

People often say why does it matter where the Raiders play? I always tell people outside the Oakland bay area that the Raiders are your team but they are our family.

The stories about the fans and players interactions during the glory days of the Raiders in the 70’s are of legend and will never be seen again.   The Santa Rosa area would be up all night during training camp, and many times Ken Stabler was up with them. My father actually got to drink with Mr. Stabler once in Santa Rosa when the Raiders were holding court in one of the watering holes.

People forget that during the 70’s the players weren’t getting rich off of the NFL. Many players had extra jobs and did other things to make money. Often times they would meet, work with, or become friends with the fans.   You can still see it with some of the Raiders kids and grandkids who are online still repping the silver and black.   With fans. the Raiders were not considered celebrities but literal family members.

The fans were close to the players but the most beloved player of them all was Ken Stabler. Mix part Clint Eastwood, part Johnny Cash, part Sammy Baugh and Part Johnny Unitas and you had Ken Stabler.

I laugh now when fans say the NFL and other teams hate the Raiders. They really have no idea what hate is. Back in the 70’s there was no internet, and there wasn’t even an ESPN. The only way to get national news on any team was to watch it on television and most news services were based on the east coast and they were extremely biased. There were times that you would get more coverage about the Jets and Yankees than you did on your local teams.  If they covered the Raiders, it usually wasn’t very positive.

The Raiders were flat out hated; by everyone; including some in the media. Since the merger Raider owner Al Davis felt screwed by the AFL and the NFL because he felt they had told him he would become their commissioner.   Al Davis from then on was a renegade and it was us against the world. The Raiders constantly had one of the best teams in the NFL and the loudest home crowd but because they never had won a Super Bowl, they were shredded in the media.

The media often said there was a reason for their apathy towards Oakland.  “The Raiders and Ken Stabler can’t win the big one; they choke in the big games; the road to the Super Bowl easily goes through Oakland; The Chokeland Raiders”; it was hard for fans at that time to take, and only a Super Bowl win would fix it.

The animosity for the Raiders was so bad that even after Stabler won the 1974 MVP trophy (and even opponents were shocked he didn’t win it in 1976); many times announcers would have to remind people during the game all the things that Stabler had accomplished. If you were west of the Mississippi in those days, you had to really fight for respect.

Stabler was Joe Montana before Montana. Montana often said Stabler was the guy he tried to be like and that was someone he looked up to. Stabler was a master at game management and his pinpoint passing accuracy was of legend.   Because the Raiders were so good he never got the credit for being as great as he was and that often bothered other players, but not Snake. Remember this was during the time where there are no HD high speed camera and videos on the sidelines, or radio transmitters in the helmets. Quarterbacks actually did call their own plays. From Stabler to John Madden, to Ron Wolf to Al Davis; they all told the media the same thing. We don’t care what the other team does; we are going to do what we do and they can’t stop us. Supreme confidence with results.

Players often have wondered how someone as great as Stabler could not be in the Hall of Fame. My friend Tim Casto who I really enjoy; founder of Raiders Homeport; reminded me of a nasty situation between Stabler and quality sports writer Bob Padecky.  There were rumors of a drug set up and most writers supported Bob and turned on Snake. Writers around the country helped ruin Stabler’s reputation and tried to keep him out of the hall of fame.  They said they did not want to be intimidated into writing fluff pieces on athletes.  Ken Stabler is still the only Super Bowl winning QB of the 1970’s not in the HOF.  He’s also the only all decade QB not to be elected into the hall.  Travesty.

I rarely get into twitter wars but I got into 2 of them yesterday. Two clueless east coast writers said Stabler wasn’t all that talented. Are you kidding me? Bear Bryant, the Alabama coaching Icon called Stabler the greatest quarterback he ever coached. John Madden said the same thing and said even today if he needed to have one quarterback for one drive, he’d pick Ken Stabler to run that drive.   Raider hater and Denver Bronco great Tom Jackson said Stabler was as good as any QB to ever play the game.

We fans are too young but what about the 1967 “Run in the Mud” Stabler did to beat Auburn in the Iron Bowl when he was at Alabama? His 53 yard run was the longest of the season and is a Crimson Tide legend. The Sea of Hands game; the Holy Roller; Ghost to the Post and the countless other games that he lead comebacks in. In fact if the call were reversed, Stabler would have won the game in the Immaculate Reception fiasco with his long run for a touchdown against the Steelers.

Some say Snake didn’t have the numbers but it was a different game then. The rules allowed defenders to do anything they wanted to quarterbacks and wide receivers and passing wasn’t a huge part of the game. It got so crazy with the violence that Chuck Knoll once called the Oakland Police Department to arrest Jack Tatum and George Atkinson for assault. It isn’t like today where Wide Receivers roam free skipping over the middle like school kids while QB’s can’t be touched. The numbers you see now are comical and the passing game is much easier.

Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton reiterated that yesterday on KNBR. “In fact a rule change changed the NFL.  After the 1979 Season, the NFL stopped allowing players to hit Wide Receivers after 5 yards down the field. This literally was directly attributed to George Atkinson and Jack Tatum.  This made the game much more wide open and easier for quarterbacks.”

The 70’s also was the most talented era of all time. The Steel Curtain; the Doomsday Defense; The Orange Crush; the Purple People Eaters; the No Name Defense; no era was dominated with so much talent in NFL history. There was no salary cap and teams were loaded with talent. In one game in the 70’s between the Steelers and Raiders there were 21 future hall of fame players, owners and coaches on the field. Try naming 10 hall of famers in a game today.   I usually don’t hold grudges but I will always hold a grudge against the Hall of Fame Voting Committee for not voting the Snake in while he was still alive.

Someone close to my heart; my friend Mike Yokum; has lead a valiant effort to try and get Kenny Stabler into the Hall of Fame. Anyone reading this article hopefully will take one minute to sign his petition.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/541/199/738/petition-to-induct-ken-stabler-into-the-pro-football-hall-of-fame/?taf_id=12432385&cid=fb_na#

“It may sound corny”, Mike said, “but Kenny’s effect on my childhood was profound. Just this week I received some signed merchandise from him. He thought of me even though he was dying. I didn’t even know he was sick. He was so giving. A man’s man to the end.”

Tim Casto also gave light on what he thought would happen in regards to the hall of fame. “He was born to be a Raider. I think this finally will be the year that he gets into the Hall of Fame. People forget that Ken was the 3rd fastest to get to 100 wins taking only 150 games. If you look only at his statistics as a Raider, they are pretty amazing. People also overlook what a kind man he was. He was very giving and did a lot through his great foundation and many other charities that he helped. The Steelers and Rooney family; the Raiders hated rivals; are actually pushing for Ken to be in the hall of fame and they have a lot of pull”.

http://xoxostablerfoundation.com/

After I sat for a few hours and just kind of wondered about things I thought to myself, what would the Snake tell me now if he were here. I then imagined Ken Stabler’s voice; a cool guy with his smooth southern accent say,

“Jim I’ve had a wonderful life; I had 3 amazing daughters that are the light of my eye and the beat of my heart; I have grandkids that make me proud every minute of the day; I played for the greatest organization and college in sports in front of the greatest fans in the world.   I have loved and lived hard. I had fun every step of my life and now I’m with my maker with no more pain or worries. So get up and go live life to the fullest and don’t worry about me.   Live it with a wink in one eye and a twinkle in the other.  I’m fine.”

final stabler

All of a sudden I smiled broadly, quickly got up and I felt like a million bucks. I walked half way up the hill, stopped and then looked up into the sky into the lights across the water. For some reason I took a picture although it was pitch black, and said out loud, “Thanks Kenny. For everything.”

Like I said. A leader and true southern gentleman to the end.

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“Remembering Three Young Raiders, Gone Too Soon”

memorial

History is so important.  The smartest people I know have great knowledge of history.  We need to never forget and remember that our history lays the foundation for us all, and that we should learn about it and learn from it.  I thought about that today.  Today marks the 20th anniversary of the great Tejano singing star Selena’s passing.  She touched millions with her spirit and her amazing heart and talent.

What does that have to do with football?  Well it reminded me of the great loss that is felt when someone in their prime passes away.  Unfortunately death has been a cruel mistress in our large family, and in reality the pain never goes away, it just gets a little easier to tolerate. The Oakland Raiders have known pain; a great deal of it.

I wanted to write about three young lives that were lost to the Oakland Raiders far too soon.  I hope that all Raider fans; young and old; will remember and appreciate their lives and their part in creating the history of the Oakland Raiders. Eric Turner

Eric Turner, CB.  9/28/1968 to 5/28/2000

Charles Woodsen would look at Eric Turners photo before he would go on the field.  Ray Lewis as a young linebacker said that he loved watching Eric Turner play. Eric Turner was a Southern California legend.  A great player and leader.  He starred at Ventura High School and UCLA.  He was a hard hitting playmaking safety that at times seemed to be everywhere. E-Rock was the second overall pick in the 1991 draft going to the Cleveland Browns.  Still the highest draft pick for a defensive back in the modern era of the NFL.

He soon became an all pro for Cleveland and for the Baltimore Ravens when they moved. The Raiders picked up Turner later in his career and he still played well, but he was not the same Eric Turner.

When Turner played though the Raiders winning % was shockingly near 80% and he became a fan favorite.  He could still make plays.  He complained about an ulcer to many but towards the end of his life he lost a lot of weight.  When he took a leave of absence in 1999, he would not disclose his illness to his friends or the press.  Like some selfless people, he just didn’t want to be a burden.

In May of 2000 many people were worried about him but he stated in the press that he was not gravely ill.  Two weeks later, a stunned NFL world heard the news that Turner was gone.  He was only 31 years old.  It sent a shockwave throughout the NFL.

To have someone so young and physical to be gone so quickly.  Rumors swirled but in the end, he died of intestinal cancer that was just found too late.  Many believed he played with cancer during the last part of his career.  It remains a sad ending for a good man and a great player.  His leadership and his selfless mentoring will never be forgotten by those who played with him.

leon bender

Leon Bender, DL;  8/8/1975 to 5/30/1998;

Leon Bender’s family were Raider fans so they were thrilled when he was chosen by the Raiders in the 2nd round of the 1998 NFL draft.  Along with first round choice Charles Woodsen, the Raiders felt they had immediately upgraded their defense.  He was the type of player Jon Gruden loved;   passionate, athletic, and always hard working.  He had a great attitude and was constantly trying to please his coaches.  He was fun loving and always had a smile on his face. Leon was still somewhat raw but most scouts said the same thing; the sky is the limit.  In regards to Bender, at worst he would be a good NFL player for 7-10 years.  At best?  Who knows.

The Raiders were looking forward to Bender teaming up with USC’s Darrell Russell on the defensive line.  He was big, athletic and had a big motor.  It wasn’t meant to be though.  Bender died before playing for the Raiders and Russell was soon out of the league due to failed drug tests. Bender was one of the key contributors to the resurgence of the Washington St. Cougars football team.  He helped them reach the Rose Bowl for the first time in 67 years, with quarterback Ryan Leaf leading the way.  The excitement in the Palouse had never been higher.

The Raiders were very excited to add Leon to their roster but sadly he died of an epileptic disorder at the friend of his agents house.  He was found in the bathroom.  An ambulance was called and efforts to revive him failed.  He was 22 years old.  No alcohol or drugs were found in his system and no foul play was suspected.  Bender had been treated for epilepsy since childhood but it had been under control for the most part for years.

Benders lifestyle reminds me of the present Raiders QB Derek Carr.  Bender was married with a child and had a loving spiritual family.  He volunteered at times at a drug rehab wanting to help others.  Two weeks before his death, the Raiders paid Bender his 1.2 million dollar signing bonus which his family got.

His mother Antoinette and his cousin Brantley attended the AFC championship game against the Tennessee Titans in Oakland.  When the public address announcer called the starting line-ups, they sobbed uncontrollably.  On Super Bowl Sunday, Antoinette didn’t watch the game of her Raiders; instead she visited Leon’s grave to say how proud she was of him.

stacey toran

Stacey Toran, Safety;  10/11/1961 to 8/5/1989;

Stacey Toran was a long shot to make the NFL.  He was a 6th round pick for the Raiders in the 1984 draft.  Al Davis saw in him though a great deal of toughness and athleticism and was excited to get him at that low of a draft choice.  He would be a project that would soon pay dividends and Al Davis called him the steal of the draft.

Toran started out slow but after 3-4 years he started to show a grit and toughness that was needed in the Raiders defensive backfield. The Raiders were changing their scheme to an attacking style of defense and that suited the physical Toran just fine.  He was now entrenched as a starter and big things were expected of him.

Toran was an amazing athlete and a born leader.  He had great size for a safety too; 6’ 2” 205.  He was a high school basketball and football all American and in the semi finals of the state basketball championship at Broad Ripple High School, he hit a 57 foot shot to win the game at the buzzer, eventually leading them to the title. He was the captain of both his high school football and basketball team.  He soon went to Notre Dame and was a tough, hard nosed player that greatly improved the Notre Dame defense.  At Notre Dame he was the co-captain of the team and an All American.  The NFL combines felt he wasn’t fast enough to play in the NFL but Al Davis didn’t agree.  People were excited about what the future held for Stacey.

At approximately 11:30 pm on the night of Saturday, August 5th, 1989, Toran lost control of his 1984 BMW on Glencoe Avenue near Marina del Rey; a block from his home. An officer at the scene said the car jumped a curb and struck a tree, flipping over several times. Toran was ejected from the vehicle, struck his body and head on the pavement and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Later it was found out that his blood alcohol level was .32.  Stacey Toran was only 27 years old. Al Davis was devastated.  He said that Stacey was going to be a major part of their defensive scheme that year and he called him a friend and a great Raider.

Below is a list of prominent Raiders that are no longer with us in body, but always in spirit.  I hope that Raider fans of all ages never forget the contributions that these men made to the greatness that is the Oakland Raiders, and that they will keep their families and friends always in their thoughts and prayers.

Once a Raider, always a Raider. Rest in peace.

Thomas Howard, linebacker, 2006-10: Died November 18, 2013, age 30 (auto accident).

Todd Christensen, tight end, 1979-88: Died November 13, 2013, age 57 (liver surgery complications).

Errol Mann, kicker, 1976-78: Died April 11, 2013, age 71 (unknown).

Demetrius Davis, tight end, 1990 draft pick: Died December 15, 2012, age 45 (heart attack).

Tom Keating, defensive tackle, 1966-1972: Died August 31, 2012, age 69 (prostate cancer).

Ben Davidson, defensive end, 1964-1971: Died July 2, 2012, age 72 (prostate cancer).

Chester McGlockton, defensive tackle, 1992-1997: Died November 30, 2011, age 42 (heart attack).

Al Davis, coach/owner, 1963-2011: Died October 8, 2011, age 82 (natural causes).

Charles “Bubba” Smith, defensive end, 1973-74: Died August 3, 2011, age 66 (natural causes).

Alonzo “Skip” Thomas, cornerback, 1972-77: Died July 24, 2011, age 61 (heart attack).

George Blanda, quarterback/kicker, 1967-1975: Died September 27, 2010, age 83 (unknown/natural causes).

Jack Tatum, safety, 1971-1979: Died July 27, 2010, age 61 (heart attack).

Elijah Alexander, linebacker, 2000-2001: Died March 24, 2010, age 39 (bone marrow cancer).

Marquis Cooper, linebacker, 2008: Lost at sea March 1, 2009, and presumed dead March 6, 2009, age 26 (boating accident).

Brad Van Pelt, linebacker, 1984-1985: Died Feb. 17, 2009, age 57 (heart attack).

Gene Upshaw, guard, 1967-1981: Died Aug. 20, 2008, age 63 (pancreatic cancer).

Curtis Whitley, center, 1997: Died May 11, 2008, age 39 (unknown/natural causes).

Jimmy Warren, cornerback, 1970-74, 1977: Died August 9, 2006, age 67 (unknown).

Darrell Russell, defensive tackle, 1997-2001: Died Dec. 15, 2005, age 29 (auto accident).

Scott Whittaker, offensive tackle, 1997: Died Dec. 2, 2003, age 29 (auto accident).

Dave Dalby, center, 1972-1985: Died Aug. 30, 2002, age 51 (auto accident).

Dwayne O’Steen, defensive back, 1980-1981: Died Sept. 15, 2001, age 46 (heart attack).

Neal Colzie, defensive back, 1975-1978: Died Aug. 19, 2001, age 47 (heart attack).

Bo Roberson, wide receiver, 1962-1965: Died April 19, 2001, age 65 (unknown).

Dan Turk, center, 1989-1996: Died Dec. 23, 2000, age 38 (testicular cancer).

Eric Turner, safety, 1997-1999: Died May 28, 2000, age 31 (abdominal cancer).

Eldridge Dickey, quarterback/wide receiver, 1968-1971: Died May 22, 2000, age 54 (stroke).

Tim Hall, running back, 1996-1997: Died Sept. 30, 1998, age 24 (drive-by shooting).

Leon Bender, defensive tackle, 1998 draft pick: Died May 30, 1998, age 22 (epileptic incident).

Bob Chandler, wide receiver, 1980-1982: Died Jan. 15, 1995, age 45 (lung cancer).

Dave Waymer, safety, 1992: Died April 30, 1993, age 34 (drug-related heart attack).

Mike Wise, defensive lineman, 1986-1990: Died Aug. 22, 1992, age 28 (suicide).

Lyle Alzado, defensive lineman, 1982-1985: Died May 14, 1992, age 43 (brain cancer).

Stacey Toran, safety, 1984-1988: Died Aug. 5, 1989, age 27 (auto accident).

John Matuszak, defensive lineman, 1976-1982: Died June 17, 1989, age 38 (heart failure).

Roger Hagberg, fullback/tight end, 1965-1969: Died April 15, 1970, age 31 (auto accident)

Thank you to the Silver and Black Report for the Memorial Wall.  You can follow them here @ http://oak.scout.com/

“Who is Bill Musgrave? The Raiders Hire a new Offensive Coordinator”

012114-600-bill-musgrave

“Who is Bill Musgrave? The Raiders Hire a new Offensive Coordinator”

The Oakland Raiders yesterday added ex Jack Del Rio hire and Jacksonville Jaguar Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave as their new Offensive Coordinator.  It was a surprise hire to many people.

Local fans may remember Bill Musgrave as a backup quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers and a few other teams.  After his playing days, the Raiders hired him in 1997 as a quarterbacks coach.  He had 4 really good years as a quarterback at the University of Oregon.

Musgrave is a journeyman coach who has never stayed at one place very long.  He has been the OC of 5 teams in 17 years and in between that he’s been quarterbacks coach or an assistant.

As offensive coordinator with those 5 teams, he has had very mild success.  His best year was in 2013 when the Vikings offense was 13th in total yards and 14th in scoring.  As an OC, his offenses have never been in the top 12, and most have struggled.  Before his job at Minnesota, he had never had a top 21 offense.  He has had some good moments though and he’s a well respected and hard working guy.  He’s also very well liked which definitely doesn’t hurt.

To his credit; even though it’s hard to give QB coaches all the credit; he did also have some nice years as quarterbacks coach.  He was QB coach when Matt Ryan first started out and did well.  Byron Leftwich was never great but his best year was when Musgrave was at Jacksonville.

Some like to give him a moderate amount of credit for Mark Sanchez having his best QB rating in his career in 2014 when Musgrave was QB coach of the Eagles.  If you do that though, then you also have to give him the blame for Nick Foles who played half of the year before he got hurt.  Foles threw for 27 touchdowns and had only 2 INTs in 2013 before Musgrave arrived.  Last year in half a season with Musgrave as QB coach, Foles threw 13 TD’s with 10 interceptions and looked lost at times.  Foles now is a question mark for the Eagles and they are debating whether to give him a big money long term contract.

As offensive coordinator it’s a much clearer picture with shaky results.  He was no longer allowed to call the plays after only 4 games when he was the OC at Carolina in 2000.  He was also let go by Jack Del Rio at Jacksonville after only 2 years of being an OC with near the worst offense in the NFL.  In his defense he has never had great quarterbacks as a coordinator, but his style is pretty clear.  He’s always had a conservative style of running the ball and running it often with a WR heavy passing game.

He did have some west coast influence with Mike Shanahan but he’s never truly instilled it into his offenses.

When he was first hired at Minnesota, the Minneapolis-St. Paul newspaper did two articles on him asking him about his philosophy.  Most of it was just vague answers saying that he liked to mix up things and do a little bit of everything. He liked to talk about making communication between QB and play callers more simplified.

At Minnesota the offense was very straight forward.  Run Adrian Peterson on first and second down, and then pass on third down if needed.  The offense was a little more conservative than the approach at Kansas City with Alex Smith.  With Adrian Peterson as your running back, there are worse options.  Chris Ponder was the quarterback for most of the time, and he never grew into a good player.

Is he the right fit for Oakland?:

I think if the Raiders hired him as a quarterbacks coach, that this would have been a good hire.  I think he’s solid and even with some fails he’s had some success too, and he’s a hard worker.  The hopes are that he can help David Carr grow into a pocket quarterback that can command an offense.  If he can do that alone, this will be a good hire.  For those that cringed every time they saw Greg Olsen call a play, this is an upgrade by subtraction.

As an offensive coordinator this seems to obviously be a Jacksonville reunion with Mike Tice and Bill Musgrave working with head coach Jack Del Rio in the past.  It’s hard to think Del Rio wasn’t the reason for the Musgrave hire.  Musgrave struggled a lot though so it’s a surprise.

As an offensive coordinator, he was a nightmare in his first 4 jobs and his teams have mildly improved as he has gotten more experience.  He’s never had a top 12 offense and to think that all of a sudden the Raiders are going to turn into juggernauts is hopeful at best.  Let’s face it; it’s a league of talent though and if you have the talent, success will follow.

I think the love for some fans with Mark Trestman was strange.  Trestman never called the plays or made the game plans when Jon Gruden was here; Gruden admitted he did.  Trestman was supposed to fix the Bears and his lack of leadership and passive demeanor was ripped apart by both fans and the press alike in Chicago.  Epic fail.  Trestman wanted the Raider OC job; he said so in the press; but the Raiders obviously didn’t want him and it was a good move not to hire him.

This is another head scratcher in a long decade of head scratching hires by the Raiders.  I like Mike Tice but this one is puzzling. Del Rio obviously feels comfortable with him and hopes that he can help David Carr grow.

I think Jack Del Rio is an upgrade at head coach.  Even though they are a train wreck right now and 3-4 years away from being good, it’s hard to watch the Chicago Bears hire John Fox and DC Vic Fangio; two coaches with Super Bowl experience and who have had a ton of success; and then watch the Raiders hire Bill Musgrave; well, as they say, it is what it is.  The hope is that somehow with the Raiders rebuilding their talent pool on offense, this will work out in Oakland and Carr and the offense will grow with Musgrave at the helm.  I think he may do well for a while and be a stepping stone, but it’s hard to think of Bill Musgrave taking them to the highest level and raising Super Bowl trophies any time soon.

“SUPER Fast & Easy Amazing Authentic Fettuccine Alfredo”

fetuccine alfredo

ANYONE CAN MAKE THIS, EVEN TEENS!

I hope that everyone’s New Year has started out well. It’s time to get back into the swing of things and I’m starting out with a bang!  Jim Jax

Fettucine Alfredo is thought to have been invented by Alfredo di Lelio I in 1914 at his restaurant, Alfredo, in Rome.  It was made famous when newly wed A list movie star couple Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks fell in love with the dish on their honeymoon in 1920.  It’s been a huge favorite world wide ever since.

This is actually the original recipe from Chef Alfredo.  It is so simple, easy, fast and amazingly delicious.  Wow your date or special someone or create a great family dinner treat.  Use variations.  It’s not for every night but everything in moderation!  People will never forget you after you serve this one!

SUPER Fast & Easy Amazing Authentic Fettuccine Alfredo:

-2 heaping tbsp of whipped sweet butter (land of lakes is one; its found where the butter section is; you can use regular butter but whipped tastes best)

-box of fettuccine, cooked.

-1/2 cup cream

-pepper to taste (lots of it for most)

-3 tbsp parmigiano-reggiano or parmesan cheese (or any other hard cheese)

Optional:

-broccoli florets or roasted veggies

-chicken pieces

-frozen peas

-roasted vegetables

-chopped up cooked Bacon or Pancetta

Put the butter and the cream on medium heat in a large pan and begin to melt the butter.  Don’t brown it and be patient.  When the butter is near melted add in the COOKED fettuccine.  Then add 3 tbsp of cheese.  Add optional items such as chicken, peas, broccoli or roasted veggies.  I love it with broccoli and chicken.

*cook very quickly.  After the fettuccine is in the pan, cooking should only take a couple of minutes and then you are done.

Put it on a plate and top with freshly ground pepper and optional cheese.  Serve with crusty French bread and wine.  Wow!

“The Potion of Motion; An Exotic & Easy Drink to Wow Adults & Kids!”

Cherry Orchard 1 crop

“Potion of Motion” 

My love for champagne is of legend and I can inhale a bottle pretty easily.  I thought of this great and tasty drink that is amazing for parties.  You can also make it non-alcoholic and use mineral water, flavored mineral water or sparkling non-alcoholic wine! Make it with or without alcohol for a special and fun drink to please the adults and the kids.  Add cut up fruit so people can add it to their drink!

Ingredients:

-Drinkable bottle or bottles of brut champagne or mineral water or sparkling wine depending on how many people are drinking.

(FOR KIDS OR NON-ALCOHOLIC VERSION, Use sparkling water; flavor or unflavored; or try sparkling apple cider)

-for one part of the juices you can use cherry, pomegranate, cranberry, guava, mango, orange, grapefruit, or any other juice that you’d like.

-large can of pineapple juice

-tall glasses filled with ice

-sliced fruit of your choice

Directions:

Put as much ice as you’d like in a tall glass of any kind.  (per your taste) Add 1/2 to 1 ounce of pineapple juice. Then add 1 to 1 1/2 ounces of your favorite (or exotic) fruit juice (look above).  Fill the rest of the glass with champagne or sparkling wine.  For the kids, substitute flavored or non-flavored sparkling water or sparkling apple cider. Enjoy!!

Tips:

-Add exotic fruit juices like Mango, Guava, Cherry, or other types for a unique and great flavor.  Use your imagination!

-put all of the juices and sliced fruit on a side table.  Put the chilled juices and champagne on ice next to it and let your guests serve themselves.

Awesome!!

*It’s cool NOT to dink and drive.  You and someone else’s family will greatly appreciate it!

“The Greatest Defensive Backfield of all time! The Oakland Raiders Soul Patrol”

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There will never be a defensive backfield like the Oakland Raiders Soul Patrol of the 1970’s ever again.  They were the most intimidating and greatest group of all time.

The 70’s will always be remembered as the greatest era for the NFL.  It’s the era when there were many great teams and great quarterbacks.  Without a salary cap some backups on the great teams could start elsewhere.  Defenses could do as they please with little to no protection for QB’s and WR’s.  Television helped make the Superbowl become a must see event.  Teams like the Raiders, Steelers, Dolphins, Chiefs, Cowboys and Vikings made this a decade of excellence.  The Steel Curtain, the No Name Defense, Doomsday, and the Purple People Eaters are all revered names in NFL lore.  When the Steelers met the Raiders in the mid 70’s, there were no less than 22 hall of fame coaches, owners, and players on the field at one time.  That will never happen again.

“There was nothing like them”, said HOF QB Fran Tarkenton about the Soul Patrol in a KNBR radio interview.  “In 1979 the NFL created the 5 yard chuck rule because of Atkinson, Tatum, Brown, Thomas and the Raiders.  Wide Receivers could not get off the line of scrimmage against them.  Atkinson and Tatum and the rest of the gang were so physical and strong that I’d have to wait and hope my guys could get open before I got killed”.

The wide receivers of the 70’s never get their due because their numbers weren’t the pinball numbers of today.  In today’s NFL, if you exhale near a receiver it is a penalty.  In the 1970’s it was literally survival of the fittest.  They had to worry about the great physical play of the era and you could not be a wide receiver unless you could go over the middle. I’ve seen pass interference penalties in today’s game where a defensive back literally brushed by a player.  The rules are so comical now that records are being broken almost weekly.  The 70’s on the other hand was an extremely brutal and tough era, and the most talented and toughest defensive backfield of them all was the Soul Patrol in Oakland.

Oakland the King of Professional Sports:

The center of the sporting world in the 70’s was Oakland California.  In 1975 a team lead by superstar Rick Barry silenced all the east coast and their writers by sweeping the Washington Bullets for the NBA title after writers practically laughed at their chances.  The Oakland A’s dynasty had an amazing 3 straight World Series Championships beating national league royalty in the Dodgers, Reds, and NY Mets.  And then oh by the way, for a 25 year stretch the Raiders were the winningest team in all of US sports with several division titles, and 3 superbowl wins.  No city ever had so many titles in such a short time.

The Soul Patrol embodied what the Oakland Raiders were all about.  They were tough, borderline dirty, intimidating and extremely confident.  Each member played their role in a defense that still today is revered.

atkinson4

George Atkinson Jr.:  (“Butch” 6’ 0”; 180 lbs.)

There may have never been a tougher Raider than George Atkinson.  Listed as 6 feet tall, many say it was more like 5’ 10” but no one had the guts to tell him that.

Atkinson was an intimidator that roamed the field like a lion ready to pounce.  He was the trash talker of the group often seen taunting and intimidating players that were much bigger than he was.  He once broke Russ Francis nose with a vicious forearm hit, and his hits against Lynn Swann of the Steelers are a part of NFL history.  He had blazing speed and in fact still holds the single game record for punt return yardage for the Raiders at 205 yards.

Atkinson took it very personally when someone tried to block him low.  He learned from Tatum to go after a Wide Receiver if they tried to hit their knees or ankles.  In some films you can actually see Raiders defensive backs going towards blockers to actually hit them after they tried to hit them low.  All time great Paul Warfield once said when you went over the middle against Oakland and didn’t account for Tatum and Atkinson, you would not be in the game long without being carried off the field.  Against the run, he could go through blockers and make amazingly hard tackles.  If you ran wide against the Raiders, their DB’s would make you pay.  Atkinson loved to make players pay.

willie brown

Willie Brown:  (6’ 1”; 195 lbs.)

Amazingly Hall of Famer Willie Brown was never drafted when he graduated from Grambling St.  He was signed by the Buffalo Bills who cut him and then he was picked up by the Denver Broncos.  He soon became an all star but was traded to the Raiders in 1967 where he played for the rest of his career.  Unlike the other 3 members of the soul patrol, Brown was fast, graceful and laid back.  He wasn’t a talker but a great defender who was a shut down corner. He had good size and played the run very well, but he was a master of the bump and run, man to man game that the Raiders loved so much.  His famous interception in the Superbowl with the great announcer Bill King’s call of old man Willie is as famous as any highlight NFL films has.

skip thomas

Skip Thomas CB (Dr. Death; 6’ 1”; 205 lb.):

In a day when cornerbacks were just as important in attacking the run as they did the pass, Skip “Dr. Death” Thomas role was to make everyone that came near him remember that he hit them.  What is funny is he was nicknamed Dr. Death by Raiders great Bob Brown who said Skip Thomas looked like the cartoon character Dr. Death.

Skip Thomas was a vicious tackler who was the king of the clothesline tackle.  Many times his padded arm was seen knocking the ball out of wide receivers hands.  When he hit people, sometimes he would actually launch his whole body and his arm swung like a Russian sickle.  It was intimidating, violent and sent the message to not come his way.  He had a two year stretch of 6 interceptions per year.  Due to the great talent of Willie Brown, teams would try to pick on Skip Thomas and usually the results were not good.

People forget that in the Super Bowl, Minnesota moved their fine wide receiver Sammy White around so that Thomas mostly guarded him in the first half.  White didn’t  catch a pass in the first half and Thomas was on him like glue.  As the great Raiders announcer Bill King once said, “the Raiders have 3 safeties when Dr. Death was playing cornerback”.

Sadly and ironically he passed away too soon in 2011 also at the age of 61, but he will always be remembered for his talent, toughness and personality as one of the great members of the Soul Patrol.

jack tatum

Jack Tatum Safety (Assassin; 5’ 10”, 205 lb.):

Ronnie Lott called him his inspiration and the standard bearer for NFL safeties.  John Clayton said there was never a harder hitting safety in the NFL.  Once during the Super Bowl break, the NFL show with Cris Collinsworth was discussing players that should be in the Hall of Fame, and to a man they all said the same name.   Chris Berman and many others kept bringing up one man; Jack Tatum.

He may have been the most intimidating force in NFL history this side of Dick Butkus. John Madden said many times he was mentally saddled with the hit on Darryl Stingley which paralyzed Stingley for the rest of his life.  Many close to Tatum said he really never got over it up to his death in 2010 at the age of 61 due to complications from diabetes.

Earl Campbell said no one ever hit him harder than his touchdown run where he and Tatum hit head on.  Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton said he thought Tatum knocked Sammy White’s head off in the Superbowl hit that Tatum laid on him when the Raiders dominated the Minnesota Vikings.  Even his counterpart George Atkinson said once, “he hit a tough Denver TE Riley Odoms so hard it sounded like a gun shot.  Odoms was in agony and his eyes rolled back.  I thought he had killed him”.

I remember a story that Ahmad Rashad told.  He said that days before the Vikings were to play the Raiders in the Superbowl, Tatum had walked into a room where the Vikings were relaxing and playing cards.  Tatum walked into the room and into the closet and just stood there for a couple of minutes.  He then walked out of the closet and left.  Rashad said that not one Viking laughed or said a word until they saw Tatum walking out of the building.  Rashad said that it was a mind game of intimidation and he said it worked.  He said, “we laughed; we just made sure Tatum couldn’t hear us”.

Tatum was a linebacker playing safety.  He also was dominating against the run and would take on guards and tackles at any given notice.  Many game films show Tatum chasing blockers trying to hit them before the blockers would try to block them.  Tatum was vicious, fearless and ready to hit anyone.  He epitomized the great physical play of the day, and what the Raiders defense always tried to do; stop the run and make the quarterback go down, and go down hard. With a good pass rush, the Raiders defense was hard to beat as was seen in their dominance.

Jim’s Jamz:

With today’s rules there will never be hits and aggressive play like the Soul Patrol did.  Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers pretty much do as they please and the Soul Patrol would not be allowed to do what they did best; intimidate, make plays, and be legends.  In the most physical era, the Soul Patrol was like a pack of wolves ready to take down any sized prey.  They remain the greatest defensive backfield of all time.

“Mama Dips Famous, Show Stopping Easy Pecan Pie”

mama dip

“Mama Dips Famous, Show Stopping Easy Pecan Pie”

From Chef Mildred Council (Mama Dip)

This recipe is so easy that anyone can do it.  This will be the scene stealer at ANY gathering.  For thanksgiving make this a staple that they all will remember.  You might want to make two because seconds are the norm.
Ingredients

  1 stick butter or margarine, melted

  1 cup sugar

  1 cup light Karo syrup (corn syrup)

  3 eggs, beaten

  2 cup chopped or whole pecans (or walnuts or macadamia nuts)

  1 9-inch unbaked pie shell

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In saucepan, melt butter, but do not brown.
  3. Mix in sugar and corn syrup until sugar dissolves. Let mixture cool and stir in eggs by tempering them. (if you don’t let it cool, you will get scrambled eggs). Tempering means to put a little bit of the hot mixture into the eggs to make them come to temperature. Mix well. Stir in pecans or whatever nuts you choose to use.
  4. Pour into the pie shell (store bought or hand made) and bake for 1 hour. I cover the entire pie crusts edges with tin foil for the first 45 minutes and then uncover for the last 10-15 minutes.

Watch your pie when you are baking!  If you’re oven runs hot, make sure you take it out a little early. Many overbrown the pie when they first make it.  The filling will be “jiggly” until it cools so dont be fooled into over cooking.  The original recipe has only 1 cup of nuts but I don’t think it’s enough.  I love nuts so I add 2 cups.  You will be a show stopper with this one.  Thank you Mama Dip!!!!