NFL

Oakland Raiders’ Mount Rushmore

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When you think about prestigious franchises, the Oakland Raiders are one of those organizations that immediately comes to mind.

The Raiders have three Super Bowl titles, which places them in a three-way tie for seventh place among all NFL teams.

Throughout the glory years of Raiders football, there’s been tons of iconic players to rock the silver and black, but these four separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

Gene Upshaw – You can make a strong case for Upshaw being the most influential Raider of all-time for numerous of reasons.

The legendary left guard spent his entire 15-year career in the silver and black. During his tenure, Upshaw played in three Super Bowls in three different decades, making him the only player in NFL history to do so for the same team.

Not to mention, Oakland won two of those Super Bowls.

Upshaw appeared in six Pro Bowls, one AFL all-star game and was a 3-time All-AFL selection.

In 1987, the late great Upshaw was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which made him the first full-time guard to be placed into Canton.

Art Shell – Similar to Upshaw, former left tackle Art Shell played a major role in Oakland’s dominating left side of the offensive line back in the day.

Shell was selected in the third round of the 1968 NFL Draft, but by the time his playing career was over, Shell was acknowledged as one of the best left tackles ever.

Throughout his 15-year tenure in a Raiders uniform, Shell earned Pro Bowl honors eight times, while being apart of two Super Bowl winning teams.

Former legendary head coach Tony Dungy spoke on the Raiders dominant left side.

“They basically ran to the left, if they ran 30 running plays, 28 of them were going to be that way,” stated Dungy, who was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers at the time. “I don’t know if you can put three better players together, ever, than those three guys.”

The third member of that dominant left side was hall of fame tight end Dave Casper.

Tim Brown – As the old saying goes, the third time is the charm.

After failing to reach the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010 and 2012, Brown was finally inducted last year and it was well deserved.

Brown spent 17 years in the league with the first 16 all being in the Bay Area.

The former Heisman trophy winner is the Raiders all-time leader in receptions (1,070), receiving yards (14,734) and receiving touchdowns (99).

If Brown played with better quarterbacks during his career, there’s no telling how much glamourous his overall statistics would’ve been.

Sure, Brown had the chance to play with Rich Gannon for a few seasons, but that was later on in his career when he clearly lost a step or two.

Ken Stabler – We often talk about how the league is quarterback-driven nowadays, but it’s been this way for quite some time.

Ken Stabler is a prime example of that.

Obviously, you won’t see the ridiculous numbers signal callers are hoisting today back in the 70s but Stabler was a proven winner in every sense of the word.

As a starting quarterback, Stabler held a record of 69-26-1.

Stabler spent his first ten seasons in Oakland, all during the 70s, where he made four Pro Bowls, while winning the MVP award in 1974 to go along with a Super Bowl XI victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

The hall of fame quarterback is the Raiders all-time passing leader (19,078 yards).


About Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels is an NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has several years of experience covering the NFL and NCAA football. He's the radio color commentator for Lincoln University football. Mark's work has been featured on Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports and Yard Barker.