In the medical field; and in life; you see so many amazingly brave and kind people battling diseases. Their courage is never seen or talked about. They worry about their families and are selfless in their battle. People in the news also have those battles. Some choose to fight them publicly; some privately.
For Craig Sager he somewhat had no choice. In today’s hyper sensitive society which judges anything that is seen or done; especially on television; Craig Sager was seen all the time. For him though he wanted to show that you can fight things with strength. determination and with a sense of humor. He knew every move he did would be watched but that he would always just be himself. Little did anyone know how much this would touch people.
Craig Sager was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in 2014 and it was obvious that he was not going to be working the 2014 NBA playoffs. The severity of the disease and the diagnosis hit the NBA and Turner television family hard. Without treatment he had 3 to 6 months to live. Even with treatment this form of cancer was very aggressive and the long term prognosis was not good.
While his father was out, in a moving scene Craig’s son Craig Jr. interviewed the surly coach of the San Antonio Spurs Gregg Popovich. His nastiness to reporters is of legend. During the interview Gregg was very kind and showed a lot of love to Craig Jr. but he added that he would rather have Sr. there instead.
Along the way #sagerstrong began to pop up on Twitter. People would see news stories of Sager in his extremely upbeat battle with the disease. He was positive even through the worst of times. He had an amazing 3 bone marrow transplants and went through chemotherapy along the way.
His daughter Kacy didn’t seem too pleased with her dad at one time on Twitter. In the middle of an 8 day chemotherapy session Craig drove 3 hours to do the Oklahoma Thunder-San Antonio Spurs game after a treatment.
“My dad is in the middle of 8 days of chemo, drove 3.5 hours from HOU to SA to work this game, driving back in the am. Absurd. Meanwhile my roommate called out of work because she feels like crap”
The whole NBA community was pulling for Craig. During the playoffs that he missed, for one day the entire Turner team dressed in crazy suits like Craig. Many even from other networks did it. It was an amazing show of support to a man that was battling so hard.
Charles Barkley had hip replacement surgery and was told he could not fly for a while. When he heard Craig’s wife Stacy had a cold and could no longer be in the room with Craig, Charles hopped on a plane and visited. “Craig Sager is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. You go to visit him to cheer him up and his attitude is so upbeat he cheers you up”.
Craigs shining moment was his story and then speech about fighting cancer at the Espy’s, the annual award ceremony ESPN does. He was given the Jimmy V award in honor of former North Carolina St. coach Jim Valvano who passed away of cancer. The Jimmy V foundation has raised millions for cancer research.
His appreciation to the Turner broadcasting team for helping him to keep working was one of the first things he talked about. In a day when corporations seem to have no morals, character or heart, he appreciated their amazing support.
Craig talked about living with passion and having fun. Fighting it with a great attitude and fire and how that attitude can help the way you act.
When Craig first started he took a lot of ribbing. Some didn’t take him seriously due to his crazy suits. But in time people realized he was real. He was fun, kind, hard working and loyal. He loved life and loved and appreciated people. He took his job seriously and loved the NBA and the whole experience. He loved the hustle and bustle of his job but he never took himself too seriously.
In reality what we loved about Craig Sager is he was how we wanted our athletes and our news people to be. In a day with so many scandals, arrogance, pettiness and dysfunctional actions, we loved that Craig was kind, caring and full of fun. He was vulnerable and humble and kind in a way that made us feel connected to him. An everyman.
Craig was given a terrible sentence and he battled an amazing 2 years. I’m sure the doctors didn’t expect him to last that long but Craig did it in a way that inspired millions. Our family like all of yours, has probably been through the pains of cancer. I’ve sat with patients as they died. I’ve sat with loved ones as they took their last breath. The torturous battle that is sometimes seen in cancer is a battle that so many have endured.
But in the end it’s not how people die that matters; it’s how they lived. How we fight the battles and how we touch others doing it. We’ve seen the tragedies but we’ve also seen the courage and triumph. The passionate battles and the perseverance through treatment and adversity. The amazing human spirit that is seen in people that never get the publicity or the attention during their quiet battles.
To all of you battling, I pray for you deeply and hope that one day they will find better treatments which lead to finding cures. And for loved ones and those with cancer, I say one thing. Stay Sager Strong and live with all you have no matter how long the time.
Final Oakland Raider Grades @ Kansas City Chiefs; Week 14:
Kansas City Chiefs 21 (10-3)
Oakland Raiders 13 (10-3)
In a cold winter night that resembled days of old, the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Raiders 21-13. Maybe traveling Raiders fans knew something when a flight from Oakland to Kansas City actually ran out of alcohol serving thirsty fans; this would be a tough one. The Raiders lost to the Chiefs and went from the #1 seed to the #5 seed in a NY minute.
Maybe though it was having 3 turnovers in KC territory and ending up with only 6 points from it. Maybe it was a bad day for the offense and Derek Carr. The Raiders found out living on the edge against bad to average teams is a lot easier than magical comebacks against a good team like the Chiefs.
I thought annoying Cris Collinsworth was going to start a Gofundme account for Derek Carr’s pinkie. His over dramatics make Jack Buck seem pleasant. Carr was interviewed after the game by ESPN and others and he said he was fine. Funny how he was fine against Buffalo and now some fans have him near death. Carr said he wasn’t cold and his hand felt so good he didn’t even wear a glove. “I just had a bad game”.
Carr is now 1-5 against the Chiefs and in the last 2 games at Arrowhead he has been off target amazingly on 29 passes. This wasn’t a one time thing. Why do they have his number? In the first game the Chiefs blitzed constantly. In this game with Justin Houston back they didn’t have to. Since high school Carr’s weakness is throwing under pressure. For most of the year he hasn’t had any pressure. Kansas City’s pass rush had him off balance all night. Carr floated 2 long passes that were wide open; too much loft.
Since last year against Minnesota, some teams try to take away the deep ball by playing 2 deep zone; the safeties playing back to protect the CB’s. Kansas City has done that a lot against Carr. When you don’t have to blitz to get a pass rush it makes it even more successful.
Carr was 17 for 41 for 117 yards with no TD’s or interceptions. In 2 games against KC he has 1 TD pass. NOT a coincidence. There were several times when KC was a sucker for a screen and I thought Carr didn’t audible as well as he has in past games. Just a bad day all around.
The second the Chiefs leader LB Derrick Johnson blew out his Achilles heel, the Raiders run game excelled. The Chiefs really don’t have a solid LB backup to replace Johnson and it showed. Latavius Murray ran for over 100 yards and the Raiders avg. 4.3 yards a carry for RB’s. Not a bad night with 135 yards.
The Raiders RB’s never got too involved in the passing game which hurt the Raiders. Part of that was Carr but it was an issue.
When I wrote last week that the Raiders offensive line was the co MVP of the NFL some laughed. No one’s laughing now. When they don’t protect Carr well, he struggles.
With Cris Collinsworth’s dramatics about Keleche Osemele not playing, you would have thought the Raiders should just forfeit and give up. The Raiders run game rushed for 135 yards without him. In the passing game at times they struggled protecting Carr which is job 1 for this unit and that’s where he was really missed. Carr was flushed out of the pocket for much of the night and was uncomfortable for most of the game.
Just like in the first game, Carr was forced out of the pocket and had to throw quicker than he wanted to. Not a bad game on the ground but the pass protection didn’t cut it.
The television media sure isn’t saying much, but on the long pass to Amari Cooper, many KC Chiefs fans online have said that it was obvious that the ball hit a wire coming from the tv camera that floats around the stadium for better views. They didn’t say a word during the game about it. Cooper said he was ready to catch it and then suddenly it just dropped straight down.
Overall a tough game. With Carr being off and catches being dropped, this was the worst passing game for the Raiders. Seth Roberts dropped 2 passes in the red zone and Crabtree and Cooper had their issues too. Bad game all around.
The worst game of the year for this unit.
Overall a good game. The Raiders obviously made it a point to stop the run and they did. Dan Williams clogged the middle and Justin Ellis even pitched in. Bruce Irvin did have his issues at times against the run but the Raiders pass rush was pretty good with Kahlil Mack causing another turnover.
One of their better games. Even with the Chiefs quick passing game and getting only 1 sack on the night, the Raiders put pressure on Alex Smith often.
Another rough game. The Raiders plan for TE Travis Kelce was to put a LB on him and then if needed have a Safety give help. The help was often not there or late and Kelce over matched the LB’s. They played better in the run game this week but part of that was the excellent play of the DL.
The Raiders had to stop Kelce and they didnt.
All year David Amerson has struggled against fast WR who can go deep. He was burned again this week. In the medium to short passes he’s good; the deep ball though; not so much.
TJ Carrie seems to have gotten his confidence back; he had 2 solid plays and a key interception that helped the Raiders get back into the game. The safeties again struggled with help on deep balls. Nate Allen’s angles were as bad as Nelson’s have been. Alex Smith was 3-3 on passes 30 yards or longer. Again, Alex Smith.
The Raiders defense was torched in the 1st half but played better in the second including the DB’s.
The Raiders need to come out no huddle right from the beginning. Against Buffalo and in other comebacks, the no huddle has been highly successful. Why not use it early? You can’t expect to start slow every game and come back and win. Punting to Tyreek Hill at all was another head scratcher.
The worst blunder though was with 2:06 to go in the game with 3rd and 1 at the KC 14. Instead of running the ball the Raiders threw to Andre Holmes in the corner which was well defended. On the next play Austin Howard commits a penalty and now it’s 4th and 6. Pass defended to the left side; game over. The Chiefs without Johnson could not stop the run anymore and to not run the ball was a huge mistake. There was plenty of time and the Raiders had 2 time outs. The Raiders on their last drive ran the ball 6 times for 30 yards. You can’t run the ball twice for 1 yard?
All Jack Del Rio’s jokes about the Raiders penalties didn’t seem so funny anymore. Austin Howard’s penalty on the last drive really hurt them. They have to start better on offense; go no huddle immediately.
Janikowski was perfect on the night but then it got ugly. Jack Del Rio admitted that the Raiders were trying to punt to the left but then Marquette King kicked the ball in the middle of the field and Tyreek Hill ran the punt back for a TD against only 4 defenders. Travis Kelce’s riding the horse dance in front of King was loved by the media and Chiefs fans alike. The Raiders gave up 172 yards in the return game and their own return game was invisible. Worst game of the year for this group.
Raiders long snapper Jon Condo had a poor snap that was muffed by Marquette King which cost the Raiders 3 points. King didn’t do a good job of securing it either.
Janikowski good; everything else a train wreck.
Alex Smith is 9-1 in games against the Raiders and Derek Carr is 1-5 against KC. Until the Raiders can solve the Chiefs quick passing game and keep defenders off of Carr, this trend will continue.
Why This Loss Isn’t as Bad As First Thought:
Dry your eyes Raider fans. Let’s look at why this loss isn’t as bad as you think.
First, to the fans that said it was too cold for the Raiders to play well, I’m sorry but that is ridiculous. Al Davis didn’t say “Just Win Baby Unless It’s Cold”. The weather was a steady 20F and if you can’t play in cold then you are not going to do much in the post season. KC torched the Raiders in the first half. Funny how the cold didn’t hurt them.
No, Derek Carr’s finger wasn’t falling off. He just had a bad game. Against Buffalo he was just fine. In Kansas City he was harassed all night; it happens. Even Carr said he was fine and they will bounce back.
DENVER: Denver has the hardest schedule in the NFL the last 4 weeks. They go to Tennessee Sunday and then host New England. They also have to go to Arrowhead on Christmas day and then host the Raiders on New Years day. Hard to think with their struggles with run defense and QB that they will sweep.
KANSAS CITY: KC has an easier road but they are not the same team without LB Derrick Johnson. If people think they are going to stop the run with backup LB’s and hybrid safeties playing in the middle, they are crazy.
The Chiefs have Tennessee and DeMarco Murray at home next week; they host Denver and then they are on the road to SD who were destroying them in week 1 until the Philip Rivers express swallowed the olive late in the game. If Denver concentrates on their run game, I see the Chiefs losing to Denver.
RAIDERS: The Raiders lick their wounds and travel to SD. They’ve won 3 in a row there and tend to score at will against the Chargers who have given up over 30 points in the last 3 meetings in San Diego. It won’t be easy but its very winnable. They then host the Colts who have little to no defense and a poor OL but they also have Andrew Luck who can carry them to a win against anyone. Then the game in Denver on New Years Day. Yes it will be cold.
Obviously you go week by week (save the emails) but for the sake of looking ahead, Denver probably loses at least another game and the Raiders should win at least 2 of those games. Again SHOULD. I see the worst case scenario is that the Raiders finish 1 game behind or tied with KC. If that happens the Raiders will be in the playoffs. I don’t see KC sweeping but there is a possibility because they always play Denver tough and have already beaten them once on the road. I just think the Broncos will gut out a win with no Johnson at LB. They can’t look past the running game of Tennessee.
Outside of New England; just like most of the NFL; the rest of the AFC just isn’t very good. Houston is tied for first place in the AFC South at 6-6 with a -50 point differential!
Look for a big game from the Raiders in San Diego. They weren’t ready for prime time yet and that was a bad loss in KC, but a Chargers game is just what they need.
During times like these, fans either throw players under the bus or blindly make excuses. The Raiders will do neither. They will own up that they lost, and will come back with a great effort next week. If my scenario rings true and Denver beats KC, then the Raiders can win the west in Denver on the last game of the year. Wow won’t that be fun. Get ready for a wild ride. The fun is just beginning and with every week, comes a new story and scenario. Even after a bad loss, I’m sure for Raider fans this sure beats NFL draft talk this time of year.
Who will win the AFC West? Let’s look ahead to the rest of the season and see what may be in store for all of the teams.
In the history of social media, there has NEVER been a tweet or Facebook post about the Raiders being in a playoff game. Let that sink in. In their glory days, for 25 years the Raiders were the winningest team of any Pro Sports team in the U.S. For the last couple of decades, they’ve been the worst. In their glory years, the Cowboys and the Raiders for almost 3 decades were the two most popular teams on tv ratings. Love them or hate them, it’s good that they are back.
The Cowboys Dak Prescott and Oakland’s Derek Carr are having great years. They also are behind the 2 best offensive lines in the NFL. NOT a coincidence. Carr is the best protected QB in the NFL this year and that is important to his success.
The Raiders are now #4 in the NFL in rushing yards and #3 in passing yards. Even though their skilled position players get most of the credit, their OL has been as dominating as any in the game this year and it’s the heart and soul of this team.
On defense it’s another matter. They struggle against good teams and occasionally look good against bad ones. The Raiders are 28th in sacks, 30th against the pass and 27th against the run. And that is after a good performance against a bad Denver offense.
The Raiders have only played 3 teams with winning records; all at home; and are 1-2. They have not played a team who presently has a winning record on the road.
The Raiders schedule is interesting. They struggle against teams that can score points and they really don’t play a lot of good offenses the rest of the way. They still have a game in Denver, in KC and @ San Diego. Outside of that they have Houston, Carolina and Buffalo. These are all good match-ups for them because those teams don’t have great offenses. Even with their bad OL, the Colts will be a tough game because they can score.
Right now the Raiders have the upper hand in the AFC West and barring injuries to their OL; and even with a limited defense; they still should be considered favorites to win the division. This is not a Super Bowl defense in any way and offense may make headlines and put butts in the seats but defense wins championships. Remember this is the salary cap era so every team has some sort of issue or weakness, but for now, the West comes through Oakland.
The Broncos are fading fast due to injuries and a poor offensive scheme.
On offense I really like their 2 young running backs. Rookie Devontae Booker hasn’t had much of a chance to run the ball but he has a lot of potential. Kapri Bibbs showed his playmaking ability on a 68 yard pass and catch late against the Raiders. On defense they still have an excellent pass rush but now they can’t stop the run. The other problem on offense is head coach and play caller Gary Kubiak.
The Denver media; which is fairly soft; has been griping about him for 2 weeks. They have brought up great points. In the first 15 plays against the Raiders, Denver threw 13 times. In the last 5 games Denver has thrown almost 70% of the time in their first 15 plays. Denver is 2-3 in those games. With Siemian as a starter, Denver throws 72% of the time. That’s not Denver football.
Siemian is limited; he throws a nice deep ball but he needs protection; and lot’s of it. The offensive line at Denver has been inconsistent protecting the QB. He does not feel a rush at all and struggles under pressure as was seen with a loss at San Diego and again in Oakland.
Denver needs to go back to the ground and pound with young RB’s that are hungry. Both have mildly complained about their lack of touches in the running game. Kubiak is a borderline arrogant guy though when it comes to coaching and he can be stubborn. Analyst Cris Collinsworth brought up what I said last year. Why don’t they double team Kahlil Mack more? Last year in Mack’s epic game in Denver, they would not help out their tackles and Mack went off. Their tackles are not that great and it took until late in the game last Sunday for them to finally start helping out on him.
When asked about Siemian after the Raiders game, Kubiak said he was still making plays so there is no problem with the QB position. Now Paxton Lynch might not be the answer but if Denver throws 70% of the time for the rest of the year, they are toast. Kubiak acted this way in Houston when Matt Schaub started to tank. Instead of using Arian Foster & Ben Tate with his run game to help him, he threw even more.
The Denver defense is now 30th against the run and can’t stop anybody. The offensive line has also struggled. There may be changes there soon. Even so the Broncos have to go back to being a running team and take their chances. Their LB’s are no longer a strength of the team with changes there this year. Injuries have just killed the Broncos. Aqib Talib and Kayvon Webster are still hurting and Brandon Marshall is hobbling badly. DL Derek Wolfe’s injury is not as bad as first thought but he is another one on the mend. And those are just the bigger names on the list.
The rest of their schedule is rough. Their last 3 games are at home against New England, on the road to KC and back home to play the Raiders. Before that they also have to play the Chiefs in Denver. Denver has a great home field advantage so they will need to use that to keep in the playoff hunt. Get healthy and run the ball should be their mantra.
Kansas City Chiefs:
The Chiefs are a classic Andy Reid team. They are tough, disciplined and they find ways to win. If you watch their games and look at the stat sheet, you wonder how they can be 6-2. They are 22nd in rushing and 25th in passing offense. Their offense doesn’t scare anyone. On defense they are ranked 13th against the pass and 25th against the run. Their once feared pass rush with Justin Houston and Tamba Hali is now 21st in sacks. Houston is set to return this week or next and 33 year old Hali’s days are numbered as he has no cartilage in one knee and tries to play in a specialist pass rushing position. Pass rushing project Dee Ford has shown glimpses of great play and has come on of late, as has DB Steven Nelson who made the game winning defensive play against Jacksonville last week.
KC has had so many injuries; Charles, Maclin, Ware, Houston, Hali; a who’s who if you are a Chiefs fan.
The AFC West has pretty easy schedules this year and KC has played only 2 teams with winning records and are 1-1, and that obviously has helped them.
ESPN seemed to fall in love with the Chiefs last week but slow your roll. The Chiefs have a brutal second half schedule that includes 2 games with Denver, a rematch with Oakland, and road games with San Diego, Carolina and Atlanta. They STILL might make the playoffs though because most of the AFC outside of the West is awful. Their second half schedule will greatly test them and may expose them.
I’ve never been an Alex Smith guy. He’s the Ichabod Crane of the NFL. He and Andy Reid play not to lose with their extremely conservative passing game and you can’t win big with 1-3 yard check down passes. They may make the playoffs but they are not going far. What they will be though is hard playing and competitive. They have owned the Raiders this decade, and play Denver well so you can’t sleep on KC. Their home field on a cold winter day is not the place to be if you are an opposing team.
San Diego Chargers:
You have to give it up for the Chargers. With all of the turmoil surrounding their possible move, the terrible season ending injury to star WR Keenan Allen, and the drama with first round draft choice Joey Bosa, the worst was expected in San Diego. A funny thing happened. Bosa has been a breath of fresh air and has greatly helped the defensive line and pass rush and RB Melvin Gordon has had a great year behind an improved offensive line. If they don’t implode late against KC and go into a coma in the 4th in Oakland, their season could be much different. Their win in Atlanta was impressive and was not a fluke. They earned it.
Their schedule has been the hardest in the AFC West by far. They are 2-3 against teams with winning records. They split with Denver so they just have the Raiders and KC at home along with Houston on the road as their toughest remaining games. The AFC only has 5 teams with winning records and 3 are in the AFC West. Watch out for the Chargers. Stranger things have happened and a playoff push may not seem eminent but they could make some noise. Their slow start really hurt them.
Philip Rivers is a good QB but just like Alex Smith I just don’t think either will win anything significant in their NFL careers. In Rivers San Diego career, the Chargers so often fall short in the second half of games, especially in the fourth quarter. They always seem to do just enough to lose. Sometimes it’s not all Rivers fault but he’s the captain of the ship. A very good QB with great stats who never will win anything who I personally think gets a little too much love. Gordon and Bosa though could be great building blocks for the near future. Add a healthy Keenan Allen and next year looks much brighter in San Diego.
If you sleep on these guys, they can beat you. I don’t think they make the playoffs but they could hurt someone else’s chances if they are taken lightly. They are intriguing.
The NFL has what they want. No more great teams; lots of average to good teams who all have a weakness. Odds now show Seattle to be the #2 choice to win the Super Bowl and they have a bad offensive line that struggles in protection and at times running the ball. Parity and average teams to keep all fans interested is what they want and they got it. Everyone has issues, and what that means is that it is a toss up on who will get to the post season and who will win it all. Most everyone has a shot if they get hot.
Can the Raiders offensive line stay healthy and will their defense hold up? Can the Broncos stop supplying bodies for their medical staff? Will Head Coach Gary Kubiak forget about Siemian’s stats in the Cincinnati game and actually start running the ball again? Can the Chargers play 4 quarters of good football and come through in the second half of games? Can the KC Chiefs get healthy and their pass rush be restored with the return of Justin Houston? And will Alex Smith ever get over his deepballaphobia and throw the ball downfield in big games?
These are all questions that will be answered in the second half of the season. Right now the Raiders look like the odds on favorite but this is the NFL and things could change quickly. Its’ not the good ol’ days when the AFC West dominated in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, but for now it will definitely do.
A person who claims or pretends to have certain beliefs about what is right but who behaves in a way that disagrees with those beliefs.
Wow did I miss this one. I once told my niece, “when dealing with guys, what they do shows their heart. What they say shows what they want you to think. Always look at what they do.”
During the time when the mild controversy regarding the NFL HOF Nomination of convicted serial rapist and ex all pro safety Darren Sharper was going on, famous SI sportswriter Peter King took to twitter to defend the HOF voters. I was taking some time off and relaxing and I didn’t comment on it or write about it. Recently though people have shown things that Peter King said and I was floored.
I’ve given the Deadspin article link to you; the only one that I could find; that repeated Kings serial tweets.
Here are some of his EXACT quotes.
The 46 HoF voters are asked to consider only on-field factors for ex-players. That is what I do.
We would be shirking our duties if we did not consider him. What has happened since should not be factored in.
The bylaws of the Pro Football Hall of Fame forbid the 46 voters from considering players’ off-field lives.
If I said, “I will not consider Sharper for induction because he has been accused of multiple rapes,” I would resign from the committee.
For the sake of not giving Peter King’s worshipers fuel, I say don’t even read the article. Just read his comments.
For almost 3 decades starting in the 70’s, the most popular teams in the NFL were the Cowboys and the Raiders. Their ratings were always on top. People loved them or hated them. Sports Illustrated sold a lot of magazines with Raiders stories. Here is a great one on Ken Stabler from 1977 after the Super Bowl win.
Paul Zimmerman was a friend of Bob Padecky. He was the king of east coast media and was a voting member of the HOF and senior committee until his stroke in late 2008. He was the first expert to be used by ESPN during the NFL draft coverage. He was the man at SI (Sports Illustrated) and is revered today by most sports writers. He was the one that had a vendetta against Ken Stabler because of the incident with Bob. Peter King every year honors Paul Zimmerman for an entire week near the time of the HOF ceremonies. He did it again this year.
Below is Peter Kings article trashing Ken Stabler’s HOF credentials. He said that he only had 5 good years. Remember one of his best friends and his mentor is Paul Zimmerman.
Peter King probably didn’t vote for the Snake but he was in the minority. Players, coaches, owners and teammates all said he was HOF worthy a long time ago.
Why Peter Kings Words Are So Hollow:
Peter King brags about his integrity. He sticks out his chest saying that if he took into account things off of the field, he should resign as a voter in the HOF.
The Hall of Fame Voters should be called out. Their votes SHOULD ALL be released to the public. There is no accountability in their votes and there needs to be transparency. I respect the fact that you don’t vote people in; but the fans, media and teams need to know why.
Cris Carter was left out of the HOF for 5 years. Why? Carter was a tool at times. Even fans didn’t like him.
After his first 4 years in Philadelphia, the media, team, and the fans were sick of him. He was their leading WR and he was cut. He also took a beating from writers who talked about his drug use of marijuana, ecstasy, and cocaine. He stopped talking to the media.
He regrouped in Minnesota and had amazing numbers. At the end of his career some said he softened to the media because his numbers might be HOF worthy and he wanted to find favor with them. Sportswriters have long memories though Cris.
Terrell Owens was another one. Of course he’s a HOF player. But he was dramatic, demanding and nasty to the media. One year during a contract dispute in Philly, he refused to LOOK AT media members let alone talk to them. He threw teammates under the bus, blamed coaches for losses and even told Playboy that QB Jeff Garcia was gay.
Why do I bring these 2 up? These are just 2 examples of obvious HOF players who weren’t voted in by the writers. I thought anything off the playing field didn’t matter? Well obviously it does.
Stabler is the worst example of all. Anyone that is buds with Zimmerman knows how much he hated Ken, blaming him for the Bob Padecky fiasco. How can you leave Stabler out of the Hall? Only 5 good years? Are you kidding me?
Are Hall of Fame Voters Really Biased?:
I was being interviewed by a small radio station in Pennsylvania and they thought I was nuts. “Jim you actually believe that HOF voters will hold grudges for years against a player?”
My answer was simple.
“Yes. Look at people who are staunch Republicans or Democrats. They would blindly support Charles Manson if he was part of their political party. And if Mother Teresa was in the other political party they’d rip her to shreds with negativity. They have grudges for a lifetime.
Same with some HOF voters. I’m giving you facts not opinions. Zimmerman said in an SI article in 1979 after the Bob Padecky situation that he would NEVER vote Ken Stabler into the HOF as long as he lived. He also admitted Stabler was the only player he ever lobbied AGAINST. Zimmerman was one of the most; if not the most; powerful writers in the country. SI was king and ESPN was just starting and he was chosen as their NFL and draft guru. Thirty years later in 2009, Zimmerman told the NFL Network again; “I’ll never vote Ken Stabler into the HOF. Facts gentleman; facts”.
Jim drops the mic. Ok I didn’t do that, but I would have if I was in studio!
Just the very fact that Zimmerman; after 30 years; STILL said he wouldn’t vote for Stabler into the HOF shows how right I am about some sportswriters. Most are great I’m sure; but some?
Frank Cooney; who has covered football for over 5 decades; wrote a great article earlier in the year. EVERYTHING I said from Randall Watson to Padecky, to Dr Z to Nick Dudich was confirmed by Frank; and countless others; and my articles were written way before theirs, last summer.
A tidbit that I never knew was Frank finding out that the voters to the HOF “innocently” received a huge binder of information on this years candidates.
One piece was a blog from 2012 by Andy Barall of the NY Times with the famous quote that supposedly Dave Casper said. “Ken took football back 50 years. He didn’t work hard enough at it. He fooled em his whole life”.
Yes I found the blog. Here it is. Magically it has a link to a book by………..Paul Zimmerman, one of his buddies. This stuff writes itself friends.
Dave Casper has been very angry over being misquoted. “I’ve never said Ken set back football. I would vote him into the HOF”. Below is Franks article with Dave Caspers angry retort.
I’m a realist, and I know nothing is going to change in the voting process. So what needs to happen is that if you are a fan of a player that is deserving of the NFL HOF, it’s time to act. Through petitions, writing emails, responding to social media posts and articles; in reality it’s up to you. So many are working hard for players from the Raiders that deserve to be in the HOF. But everyone needs to be involved. Think of the loyal fanbase, families and children of these great players.
Some will say Ken got in so get over it. But I remember the pain in the Stabler’s families eyes. I don’t want ANY other Raider or NFL family to go through that. If you grew up in the bay area the Raiders were not our team; they were family.
How a petition for a Ken Stabler or a Cliff Branch can’t get 50,000 signatures in a month is beyond me. I see a lot of posts online talking about fan loyalty, but in reality it’s going to be up to ALL fans actions to carry the torch. Keep doing what you are doing to inspire others. And for those that haven’t been a part of the support, it’s never too late to get on board. Do your part for these players that gave generations of people so much enjoyment and pride. Make NFL HOF voters do the right thing; because without you; some won’t.
In a night that went as perfect as a last minute Ken Stabler drive, Ken Michael Stabler took his rightful place in the NFL pro football hall of fame. For one last time, Ken Stabler lead everyone on a magical ride that will never be forgotten.
With decades of Raider tradition all around mixed in with a little Southern warmth from the state of Alabama, Canton looked more like Oakland, Ca than the sleepy town that wakes up for a week every year before the NFL season starts.
With several Raiders by their sides and HOF WR Fred Biletnikoff giving support, Ken Stabler’s grandsons unveiled the HOF bust of their beloved grandfather. In one action, all of the emotions that have built up from decades of frustration, anticipation, sadness and hope was released. Tears flowed, and closure began to fill the air slowly like a soft mist on a hot night. All the years of waiting; all the unjust votes and comments came out in a healing moment that hopefully now brings closure to an amazing career by an amazing man.
I have many good friends from around the country who ask me, why was there so much emotion and love for Ken Stabler. I think the answer is easy.
When the Snake saw a fan he didn’t care what color you were. He didn’t care if you were famous or rich. He truly appreciated the adoration that was given him. I think Ken always knew how important he was to the City of Oakland, Alabama and the bay area. That’s why he was so kind to so many. He never judged; never lashed out; he was always good to those that supported him, and shrugged off those that hurt him. Many saw a little of themselves in Ken. Sometimes misunderstood, often doubted, and occasionally misjudged. Ken was an every man and in reality so many people related to the things he went through.
Ken was real. He made mistakes; he failed at times; he was ripped in the media at times; but he ALWAYS dusted himself off and kept coming. He never quit and the harder someone pushed, the harder he pushed back. The Raiders and Ken Stabler smashed people in the mouth and never gave up. That’s why when most teams would have quit, the Raiders usually won due to the never give up attitude of the Snake. Ken was a lot like the fans that supported him. He was a lot like the City of Oakland and the East Bay; always fighting, never quitting.
Why Younger Fans Should Be Excited:
Some younger Raider fans seem to be in a fog at the great adoration for Ken and this amazing era. Let’s face it, we live in a society where history to some is what pokemon go character you caught last night. If it’s old, society seems to not care about it.
If you are a younger fan, look at the extreme excitement that is seen in social media today for the upcoming season. The Raiders were 7-9 last year and some are nearly losing their minds with excitement. Nothing wrong with that especially with all the improvements, but put it into perspective.
Think about going 56-13 in Ken’s first 69 starts. Think of going 18-1-1 on Monday night football. Think of having the highest winning % of ANY professional team in the U.S. of ANY sport for a 25 year stretch. Think of 3 Super Bowls in 7 years and 5 straight AFC Championship games. For almost 3 decades the Raiders and the Cowboys were consistently on top of the NFL ratings for most watched teams on television. Oh and don’t forget having more wins in the greatest NFL decade of all time, the 1970’s. Could you imagine what Ken and the Raiders offense could do with today’s rules? Now you understand OUR excitement. As Raider great Tim Brown said Friday, “When Ken walked into our locker room you saw everyone change. It was like royalty had just come into the room. The Raiders of that time were just that good; people adored him.”
A Leader to the End:
The reason this meant so much to so many is because Ken really was the Raiders leader in every way. He was a leader on the field and off. Players felt he was invincible and looked to him when things got rough. Even after his death he inspired. Raiders greats like George Atkinson, Art Thoms, and George Buehler followed in Ken’s footsteps and decided to donate their brains to the study of CTE and give them to the Concussion Legacy Foundation after they passed away. Truly unselfish acts inspired by the Snake’s selflessness and the encouragement of his partner Kim Bush.
“When you see your teammate deteriorate a lot through the end of his life, to see him go out like that, it brings us together,” Thoms said in a Mercury News article. George Atkinson has complained often of his memory issues. “Ken meant so much to us and we felt we needed to do this.”
The Closest Team in the NFL:
Many of the retired Raider players talked about how close they were to each other. Many stated how no team was as tight as they were. Even after retiring, they would meet for dinner often and even if players were out of state, they would fly back to join their fellow teammates. It was important to them to stay in touch with an incredible time that gave them so much enjoyment.
We have many older patients and one is Mr. & Mrs. C who live deep in the wine country (I wont give their name for health privacy reasons.) They used to be a Raiders season ticket holders in the 60’s and 70’s. I visited them recently.
Mrs. C is the classic sweet nurturing elderly woman who still feels a good meal will solve any problem. Mr. C was a successful businessman who’s health is failing. I go to their house so he doesn’t have to go into the office. I also know they enjoy my visits. Mr. C usually holds court with a scotch in his hand while I get my usual pay for a house call. A cold beer with a roast beef or turkey sandwich or the occasional German Chocolate cake and cold glass of milk.
“You know something James, those times were so special and those guys meant the damn world to us. Players like Tom Keating and Art Thoms; Tony Cline, Warren Wells, Charlie Smith, Raymond Chester. Tatum and Atkinson, Skip and Willie. Otto, Beuhler and Dalby; Upshaw and Shell; Sistrunk and Kinlaw; Rod Martin and Vilipiano. Sumner, Wolf, and Al Locasale. So many great men that gave their all to win. And Kenny was everyone’s favorite. No group of players and fans were closer. The minute you forget this son, you won’t be worth a damn as a writer, or as a fan.”
After a pregnant pause, Mr. C showed a moment of rare emotion. Pointing his finger at me he said softly while winking, “Ken in the Hall of Fame? This one means something son; this one means something.”
Joy, Pride, & a Little HOF Controversy; Everything on Oakland Raiders Ken Stabler:
Saturday it Finally will happen. A long time coming.
Never Forget The Greatness of Ken Stabler & Oakland:
As people wait for Saturdays induction ceremony, watching Friday’s Gold Jacket ceremony was very emotional. I was happy for Ken’s family to be able to have that great moment. He should be remembered in so many ways.
It’s sad that our society doesn’t respect history much anymore, because the greatness of the Raiders and Ken Stabler doesn’t get it’s due. In the greatest era in NFL history, the Raiders had more wins in the 1970’s than any other team. For a 25 year period, the Raiders had the highest winning % NOT only for all NFL teams , but of any team in any professional sport in the U.S. If any New York or Boston team had ever done that they’d have statues for it.
The NFL did a contest with fans voting on NFL.com on who the greatest team in NFL history was. With over 5.2 million fans voting, the 1976 Oakland Raiders were voted the greatest team of all time. And if you ask John Madden and the Raider players, the Raiders 1977 team was actually better. A huge amount of injuries and the Rob Lytle fumble debacle in Denver derailed that.
A frustrating thing for the Raiders that never is brought up, is the huge amount of key injuries the Raiders had during the mid to late 70’s. The Raiders had a hard time getting home field advantage during the regular season with so many key players out. That made them have to go on the road in the post season. If the Raiders were at full strength in many of those seasons, one to two more Super Bowls would have been achieved.
When people say Stabler and the Raiders should have won more championships, to their credit, the Raiders rarely if ever talk about the frustration of all those injuries.
Ken Stabler Mania in Oakland:
During my off season down time, I read many things on Ken Stabler & the 1970’s Raiders. I enjoyed the stories about the crazy book signings Ken would do locally. Most athletes would get hundreds of people to show up and it was a mad house. But when Ken did a book signing, the stores were usually full before he even got there and sell outs of his books were the norm. When the store would run out of books, people would go across the street and get grocery bags so Ken would sign them. Ken would sign peoples hands, their kids heads, or any piece of paper a person could find. Some women would use their back, breasts or any other part to make sure Ken’s signature wasn’t wasted.
People of today really don’t understand the love and passion fans of the East Bay had for Ken and the Raiders in the glory years. The press at times would try to get Ken and other players in trouble by trying to find dirt by asking fans and bar owners about wild partying and the crazy times the players had. That was a mistake. Messing with Ken and the Raiders in the East Bay was akin to messing with someone’s mom.
There will never be a pro sports fan base like the Oakland Raiders of the 1960’s, 1970’s & 80’s. I was just a little kid but even then I got it. Most people of today look up to players as hero’s and that’s great, but for fans back in the day the Raiders and Ken Stabler were more than hero’s; we literally loved them and they were family. We mowed their lawns, and saw them in stores. We went to their restaurants and our parents bought insurance from them. Most lived locally and had to have jobs because they didn’t make a lot back then. They were a part of us. Add the same adoration from the unequaled Alabama Crimson Tide fans and this is one of the most beloved athletes of all time.
A New Controversy:
For LB great Junior Seau, having his daughter Sydney introduce him at the HOF ceremony was of the utmost importance. For the Stabler family, what is important for them is that Ken be honored with the traditional HOF Gold Jacket, and the HOF ring that is given to all HOF members. The NFL HOF states that they no longer would be doing this.
What has come to the attention of the family and others, is that a couple of years ago another rule was changed by the NFL HOF with little to no communication. A Gold Jacket and ring would no longer be given to the family of a HOF player who was deceased, but they would get a large plaque with the shield that would have been on the jacket.
My Communications with the NFL HOF:
People that are close to me know how shy I am (wink wink) so I called the HOF myself.
What bothered me was the callousness we encountered. The worst call was when I was transferred to a long time worker. When I asked if Ken’s family would get a Gold Jacket & ring, her response was “you don’t give jackets to a dead person”. I was shocked. “Well maam you don’t give anything to a dead person; they are gone; but it’s a way that families can remember and celebrate their life”.
We made a total of 6 calls between 3 of us during a 6 week period. All of the people said the same thing; it’s always been that way and it’s not a new policy.
In reality it hasn’t been this way; this is a new policy that started in 2014 from what I’ve been told; in fact I can’t find the new policy anywhere on the internet. The HOF has never been that great with communicating changes and it’s kind of frustrating. Many of us have emailed the HOF and none of us got a reply of any kind.
Even though others like Cliff Branch, Bill King & Jack Tatum deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, I think for fans, they realize that this is the closing of the final chapter of the glory days. Ken Stabler and the Raiders of the 1960’s, 1970’s, and 1980’s, get one final time to share memories and relive a time when the sports world was dominated by Silver & Black colors. For fans in Alabama and across the nation this is one final chance to celebrate a favorite son whose spirit is rooted so deeply.
Fans can go back and remember when they were kids, or young parents starting out remembering the amazing times the Alabama and Raiders QB gave them while struggling to survive the tough 1970’s & 80s. People can remember sharing special moments with parents and grandparents whose spirits fill our hearts.
Today when money rules, and teams and players change cities like it’s nothing, people can celebrate a time when all was right with the football world. There was a magical sense in the House of Thrills. A togetherness and an enjoyment shared with people of all races and financial backgrounds. A group of hard working people coming together to show love and support to players who loved and supported them back. And Ken especially was our guy.
Oakland was the island of misfit toys and Ken was the leader on and off the field. And FINALLY; they can’t take this honor to Kenny away. No petty grudges or politics; no financial excuses; no bad referee calls or even the government will tarnish this day.
The rest of the country always told the Raiders and the East Bay, you are just not good enough. (Ask the Warriors recent owners). The media and the rest of the world hated the Raiders; and we loved it. The stories were the same; Ken had no arm, bad knees and partied too much. The chokeland Raiders can’t win the big one. Al Davis signs players that are too old, and who won’t fit in with other teams. The Fans are too rowdy. Separately it made no sense; together it made sense.
In reality Raiders players and fans don’t need sports writers HOF votes to know that Ken was a HOF player all along. They already know that Cliff Branch and Jack Tatum are HOF players & Bill King is a HOF announcer. Trophies, jackets and rings will not change who they are or how they live their lives. It would have been nice, but as long as players, family and fans know the truth, the nonsense of not showing the proper respect to players that made the league great will not hurt anyone at all. It’s the Raider way not to care what others say or do as long as you know who you are.
A Magical Ride:
Thank you to all of the wonderful people of Alabama for sharing this journey. You have a piece of my heart. From Foley to Huntsville, to Tuscaloosa to Birmingham, the kindness & passion that has been shown to me and others is truly humbling. To Drew DeArmond and Ryan Fowler who made the radio waves in Alabama full of everything Ken Stabler, eternal thanks and friendship. Your talent is only equaled by your passion for this great game and I’m so glad to have crossed paths. Keep teaching others to respect the history.
To the Stabler family and loved ones who trusted and entrusted fans. In time you realized that this wasn’t just celebrity hero worship for attention, but a true love for a man that meant so much to everyone. We were proud he was our leader, and you are now Raider royalty.
Thanks to Mike Yokum and other fans who have been so passionate. From petitions to social media posts, every word counted; and still does. Never quit. You all proved that the fans voice still matters.
Thank you to Raider fans for their passion, pride, love and respect. Truly an amazing group that can’t be duplicated. Never change. As a kid and now as an adult; Raider pride for life.
And Finally thank you to all of the Raider fans that are no longer with us. Thank you for instilling the importance of remembering Ken and all of the Raider greats, and thank you for raising good people into the Raider family. You are missed more than anyone knows and we hope you enjoy this moment from up above. Until we meet again.
This has been an amazing journey and I’m so blessed to have been a tiny part of it. I’m appreciative to people from all over the world that were touched by the sharing of Raider fans passion for Ken Stabler and this amazing time in sports history. I’m grateful to you for reading and sharing my articles, listening to my podcasts and radio interviews and inspiring me to get back into the game. Your tolerance and patience with me was unending and I’ll never forget it. At times readers from over 42 countries read my articles on Ken.
Now let everyone party old school. Loud music, lots of food and drink, and a great time without drama, celebrating the Snake. Wherever a Raider fan is, let them feel the spirit of the House of Thrills. And if you get a chance on Saturday night, look up in the sky at the brightest star. If you look closely you’ll see a grey bearded Ken Stabler looking down by the light of the jukebox with a smile a mile wide.
With the Snake going into the HOF, the final chapter of the great Alabama and Oakland QB Ken Stabler; and the Oakland Raider dynasty of the 60’s, 70’s & 80’s will now have a happy ending. And what an amazing story it was.
Times are different now and passion, compassion, loyalty and many other things are in short supply. Class is rarely found. In reality teams will now move, players will leave and times in the NFL and in our society will never be the same again. These things though cannot change or tarnish a magical time in our sports fans lives that was as fun, passionate and fulfilling as any sports fans have ever known thanks to Ken Stabler & the Oakland Raiders. NOTHING can take away those feelings and memories and exciting times we shared with people we loved.
How innocent were those days; how rich we are to have known them.
Before the 2009 draft, most experts had Michael Crabtree and Jeremy Maclin as the top 2 WR in the NFL draft. Then along came the NFL combines. DHB ran a 4.3 40 at the combines and Al Davis was smiling like the Grinch on Christmas morning. Even though he only had 138 catches for 1958 yards in 3 years at Maryland, DHB shockingly was chosen.
I remember destroying this pick in an article the next day and getting destroyed back by Raider fans saying I needed to give him time. Was 4 years enough?
In an amazing 300 targets in 4 years, DHB only caught 140 passes for 11 TD’s. In that same time Michael Crabtree caught 260 catches on 429 targets and 21 td’s. Local station KNBR radio joked that for Raider fans sake 40 times at the NFL combines should be kept away from Al Davis.
#9 Jessie Hester WR: #1, #23 overall (1985 draft)
This pick is usually forgotten by most. During the glory days of Florida St. football, Jessie Hester was a star. He was quick and loved to go deep. At 5’ 11” and 175 lbs. He looked like Cliff Branch and the Raiders drafted him in the first round.
In 3 years Hester caught 56 passes for 10 touchdowns and the Raiders cut him before year 4. He found a short term home for 4 years at Indianapolis as the #3 and #4 WR but he mostly was a second tier player. He ended up being a huge bust for the Raiders that few talk about.
At the NFL combines Derrick Gibson was a star. He bench pressed 400 lbs. and ran a 4.40-4.45 forty. At 6’ 2” and 210 lbs., you could see teams swooning. Marquez Pope blew a coverage and was beaten by Baltimore’s tight end Shannon Sharpe for a 96 yard TD in the playoffs that sealed the Raiders fate. A safety was needed.
Gibson struggled a lot in tackling and he had terrible instincts against the pass. Many college safeties are free lancers with little responsibility and that’s what Gibson was. After 5 years the Raiders cut Gibson and no other NFL team ever picked him up. Another in the long line of NFL combine and work out warriors Al Davis fell in love with who was a huge bust.
#7 John Clay OL: #1, #15 overall (1987 draft)
When Missouri stand out John Clay was drafted by the Raiders #15 overall, the Raiders thought they had a tackle for the next 10 years. At 6’ 5” and an athletic 300 lbs., he fit the mold as a huge Raiders OL. After 1 year though the Raiders realized they had made a mistake. They traded him to the Chargers along with two draft choices for all world OL Jim Lachey. Problem was they traded Lachey; who starred for Washington; for Jay Schroeder who never panned out at QB. Clay only started in 10 games and played 2 seasons in the NFL until he was out of the league.
#6 Ted Watts S: #1, #21 overall (1981 draft)
What made this pick so painful is that the Raiders also had the #23 pick in the first round and they selected OL Curt Marsh who rarely played due to injuries. In 5 years Marsh was out of the NFL with only 22 starts. If it wasn’t for 2nd round pick Howie Long this draft would have been disastrous.
Al Davis told the media, Hanford Dixon, and anyone else that would listen that he was taking the Southern Mississippi CB if he was there at the #21 pick. Dixon was there but Al Davis took Ted Watts out of Texas Tech instead. Why? Because he had better 40 times than Dixon and because Dixon refused to run more than once. Dixon went on to a storied 9 year career at Cleveland being one of the best CB’s in the NFL. The 3 time pro bowler is revered in Cleveland and in all those years he missed 5 starts.
Ted Watts only started 22 games in 4 years with the Raiders and he just never caught on as a starter. He was not a good tackler and seemed over-matched in coverage. He bounced around to the New York Giants and San Diego Chargers and was out of the league in 6 years only starting in 25 of the 74 games he played.
#5 Patrick Bates S: #1, #12 overall (1993 draft)
Some thought the Raiders might go with Alabama safety George Teague who thrived on making big plays but the Raiders stood pat and chose Texas A & M star Patrick Bates. He was a part of the Aggies famous “Wrecking Crew” defense.
His first year was at UCLA and within a month of each other his mother and grandmother; who he was very close to; both died. After transferring to Texas A & M for a new start, he was arrested for assault.
He was eventually arrested for holding a woman at gun point. On the field he wasn’t much better. He seemed more athlete than football player and wasn’t that big of a hitter either. He was out of the league in 3 years ending his career with 1 interception. Teague had a 9 year career and even though it wasn’t great, he had some great moments and some good seasons. He still holds the record for a post season interception returned for a touchdown with his 101 yard interception return against Detroit in the first round of the 1993 playoffs.
#4 Bob Buczcowski DE: #1, #24 overall (1986 draft)
This guy really was a pimp. This is a name that the Raiders; and especially the NFL want you to forget. Bob had a good career at Pitt and the Raiders seemed to like him more than some other teams which had him going in the second round. The Raiders chose him and the rest is infamous history.
He played for the Raiders one year and was let go. He then played a year each at Arizona and Cleveland before he was out of the league.
In 2005 he was arrested for being a co-conspirator in a drug and prostitution ring in Pennsylvania. His live in girlfriend was Amy Schifano who was known as the Monroeville Madam. It was said that they had up to 300 calls a day and they rented hotel rooms for clients. There also was cocaine distribution involved. Facing 87 years in prison, Buzcowski turned states evidence and became a witness for the prosecution for a much reduced sentence. His final sentence was 90 days house arrest. A bust that got busted. Don’t blame me; it writes itself!
#3 Marc Wilson QB: #1, #15 overall (1980 draft)
First off you will not find a nicer guy than Marc Wilson. He ended up being a successful businessman. In a couple of interviews in the last 10 years he summed up his career. “It may not have seemed it at times but I really put my all in my career. Football is my least favorite sport and when I played in the NFL I never felt I was good enough to have control over the game. It was always a struggle. In basketball and baseball I felt in control. I just wish it would have went better. I don’t even watch football anymore and have no desire to go to games.”
With a rocket arm but little accuracy, Marc Wilson was drafted by the Raiders out of BYU. He was one of the originators of the QBU era of the Cougars. In a QB poor draft the Raiders knew that Jim Plunkett was still kind of a crap shoot. From 1980-1986, the Raiders had a revolving door at QB. Plunkett would start and then struggle and then Marc Wilson would take over. Wilson would struggle or get hurt and then Plunkett started. Add an injury here and there and it was a mess at times. In that time Plunkett had one really good year in 1983 (Raiders won the Super Bowl), and Wilson had one good year in 1985 (Raiders were considered favorites to go to the Super Bowl).
In 1985 Wilson was atrocious in the first round of the playoffs and the heavily favored Raiders lost to the Patriots 27-20 at home. Wilson was 11 for 27 with 3 INT’s and 1 TD and was booed off the field. The upstart Patriots shocked the NFL by going to the Super Bowl and being destroyed by the 1985 Bears.
In his 8 years as a Raider QB he only started 50 games. He was 31-19 and he gave Raider fans nightmares. Many feel if it wasn’t for injuries in the 1970’s the Raiders would have had 1 more Super Bowl win, and if it had better QB play in the 80’s they would have had 1 more Super Bowl win in that decade as well. The Raiders had a lot of talent but the Plunkett/Wilson roller coaster was a hit or miss saga with more misses than hits as time went on. To old school Raider fans, just the mention of Marcs name brings tingles down the spine. What could have been.
In the late 1980’s ESPN started picking up a loyal viewership and Todd Marinovich was one of their first media darlings.
Lost in Robo QB history, was that his father Marv was the first ever strength and conditioning coach in the NFL. He was hired by? Al Davis. He studied Eastern Bloc training methods and many of his methods were used in the origination of core training and are still used today.
Todd as an infant teethed on frozen liver and kidneys. He could not eat white sugar or processed food and only drank raw milk. Up until his adulthood he was not allowed to eat fast food or sweets. He rarely ate red meat.
After his parents divorced he really was out of control. His pot use was so bad in high school opponents fans chanted Marijuanavich & he was busted for cocaine. President Reagan honored Todd at his home after a big win & he was the Johnny Manziel of his time with celebs always wanting to party with him.
In the pro’s his drug use was worse. He passed NFL drug tests by using friends urine, until once he used a friend that had partied all night and he tested positive for alcohol. He then turned to LSD which wasn’t tested for. He was out of the league in 2 years starting only 9 games including 1 playoff game where he threw 4 INT’s in a 10-6 loss to Kansas City. Pittsburgh attempted to sign him but he told them he no longer wanted to play in the NFL. He played in Canada for a short time. A real troubled person who seems to be doing better in life.
#1 Jamarcus WR: #1, #1 overall (2007 draft)
It’s funny how many Raider fans defended these picks at the time (Come on; you know who you are). My fights online with them are of legend. This was another one of those picks I hated and maybe received the most hate of all time. Here were iconic college players Calvin Johnson and Adrian Peterson who were men among boys in college being thrown away for Jamarcus Russell. A guy that got famous in a bowl game against a Notre Dame defense that was one of the worst in the country and the NFL combines where he threw 65 yards on one knee.
Russell in college was an amazing athlete. He was huge; 6’ 6” and 270. Problem was against teams like Auburn and others who ran a pro style type defense he struggled. He was not an accurate QB but he could throw it a mile. At the NFL combines he wowed teams with his size and big arm. John Clayton said, “how could anyone not pick him #1.”
He played 3 years for the Raiders and in 25 starts he was 7-18. With his poor conditioning and his struggles with drugs, he was let go. He tried some come backs but was never really taken seriously.
Well there you have it. The importance of quality drafts can’t be explained any more clearer than with these busts. The draft is the key to creating and sustaining a winner in the salary cap era.