The Oakland Raiders have a storied 57-year history. Here are the top ten offensive players in the history of the franchise.
Looking back at the all-time great teams of the Oakland Raiders, one thing becomes obvious — the franchise has featured many great offensive units. From Daryle Lamonica in the 60’s and 70’s to Tim Brown, Rich Gannon and everyone in between, Raider Nation has been accustomed to watching greatness on the offensive side of the ball.
With that being said, here is a list of the top 10 offensive players in the history of the Silver and Black.
#10 – Dave Casper
Kicking off the list is tight end Dave Casper, also known as “The Ghost”. Along with being the first great tight end to dawn the Silver and Black, Casper is the franchise’s 7th all-time leader receiver with 255 receptions for 3,295 yards and 35 touchdowns.
Those numbers might not jump off the page, but consider the fact that the NFL in the 1970’s was not a passing league. So these were tremendous numbers for this era, especially for a tight end. Casper was selected to four consecutive Pro Bowl’s as well as four consecutive All-Pro selections.
Not to mention that Casper was involved in some of the most crucial and most famous plays in franchise history, such as “The Ghost to the Post” and “The Holy Roller”.
#9 – Daryle Lamonica
Although he did not start his career with the Raiders, Daryle Lamonica had quite a career for the Silver and Black. Over his career with the Raiders, Lamonica threw for 148 touchdowns, more than 16,000 yards and had just over 1,100 completions.
Lamonica is one of the most prolific passers in franchise history, and he also led the Raiders to their first Super Bowl appearance, which was Super Bowl II against the Green Bay Packers.
Lamonica was one of the NFL’s original pioneers for throwing the deep ball, earning the nickname “The Mad Bomber” thanks to his deep precision passing. As a Raider, Lamonica was a two-time Pro Bowl selection, a two-time AFL All-Star, a two-time first-team All-Pro, a two-time AFL MVP and he also led the AFL in touchdowns and yards passing a handful of times.
#8 – Rich Gannon
Rich Gannon was another quarterback that did not start his career with the Raiders, but had by far the best stretch of his NFL career once he joined the Silver and Black.
Despite playing in only six seasons with the Raiders, Gannon threw for 114 touchdowns, more than 17,000 yards and also completed over 1,500 passes. His stint in Oakland included four Pro Bowl selections and two first-team All-Pro selections.
Gannon’s best season came in 2002 as he led the Raiders to the Super Bowl, earning MVP honors along the way. It was the single best passing season in the history of the franchise.
Unfortunately, Gannon’s career ended due to a serious neck issue. If he could have stayed healthy for a couple of more seasons, he easily would have retired as the Raiders all-time leading passer.
#7 – Mark van Eeghen
The first running back on this top ten list is none other than Mark van Eeghan. Spending his first eight seasons with the Raiders, van Eeghan accumulated nearly 6,000 yards rushing and 35 touchdowns. Although he did not earn any flashy accolades, he was regarded as one of the key pieces to those great 1970’s Raider squads.
Winning two Super Bowl titles with the Raiders, van Eeghan was one of the more respected players on the roster during his tenure in Oakland. When he departed for the New England Patriots, he was at the top of nearly every rushing category in team history.
Due to Marcus Allen’s greatness, many tend to forget about van Eeghan and how much he contributed during the glory years of the Silver and Black.
#6 – Ken Stabler
There can be no Raiders Top 10 list of any kind without mentioning Kenny “The Snake” Stabler. Regarded as one of the greatest to ever dawn the Silver and Black, Stabler was the heart and soul of the 1970’s Raiders.
In 10 seasons with the team, Stabler totaled over 19,000 passing yards to go along with 150 touchdown passes. He left as the all-time leading passer in the history of the Raiders, and certainly was much more than your average quarterback.
With capable receivers such as Cliff Branch and Fred Biletnikoff, Stabler and co. were able to perfect the deep ball, which gave them a dangerous offensive dynamic that had not been seen before.
During his time with the Raiders, Stabler won one Super Bowl title, was named MVP in 1974, was a four-time pro bowler, a two-time first-team All-Pro and was also named to the 1970’s All-Decade team.
#5 – Todd Christensen
Coming in at no. 5 is Todd Christensen, who has an argument as the greatest tight end in Raiders history. During his time with the team, Christensen accumulated 461 receptions for 5,874 yards and 41 touchdowns.
Along with being one of the greatest offensive players in Raiders history, Christensen was another player who was highly respected in the locker room. Christensen racked up five consecutive Pro Bowl’s and four consecutive All-Pro selections with the Raiders. He also led the NFL in receptions twice, which was completely unheard of at the time for a tight end. Christensen was also apart of two Super Bowl championships with the Raiders.
For some reason, Christensen was passed over for the NFL Hall of Fame, but he and a bunch of other Raider greats have found themselves in this same position. Looking at Christensen’s resume, it is quite hard to believe that he has been kept out of Canton.
#4 – Cliff Branch
Another player with a strong argument as a Hall of Fame snub would be Cliff Branch. Regarded as one of the key pieces of the Raiders original deep ball era, Branch racked up 501 receptions for 8,565 yards for an eye-popping 17.3 yards per catch, as well as 67 touchdowns in his 14 year career.
Branch was also four-time Pro Bowl selection and a four-time All-Pro from 1974 to 1977. Branch also gets a few extra points for being this high on the list because he spent his entire NFL career with the Raiders, which meant he was also one of the few to be apart of all three Super Bowl championship teams.
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#3 – Fred Biletnikoff
Luckily the third ranked player on this list is in the Hall of Fame. Fred Biletnikoff was another player who spent his entire 14 year NFL career with the Raiders. During his career, Biletnikoff tallied up 589 receptions for 8,974 yards and 76 touchdowns.
Biletnikoff retired as the Raiders all-time leading receiver in nearly every major category, which instantly put him in elite company as one of the greatest receivers of the 1970’s. Biletnikoff was a four-time Pro Bowl selection, a one-time first-team All-Pro and was also a Super Bowl MVP for the Raiders in Super Bowl XI.
#2 – Marcus Allen
Coming in at no. 2 is running back Marcus Allen. Although Allen did not spend his entire career with the Raiders, he was by far the best running back to dawn the Silver and Black. In his 11 seasons with the Raiders, Allen had 8,545 yards rushing and 97 total touchdowns.
Even though he was primarily a running back, Allen was one of the first real versatile running backs in the NFL, in which he was both a running threat and a receiving threat. Allen is the Raiders all-time leading rusher, but also comes in at no. 5 on the Raiders all-time leading receiving list. Allen was a five-time Pro Bowl selection, a three-time All-Pro and also an NFL MVP in 1985.
Allen was apart of the 1983 Raiders Super Bowl squad, in which he was named Super Bowl MVP and had a then Super Bowl record of 191 yards rushing.
#1 – Tim Brown
The no. 1 player on the Top 10 list of the greatest offensive players in the history of the Raiders is none other than wide receiver Tim Brown. To this day, Brown is the all-time leading receiver in Raiders history, and he is one of the greatest at his position in the history of the NFL. In his 16 seasons with the Raiders, Brown totaled 1,070 receptions for 14,737 yards and 104 total touchdowns.
Although Brown was never able to capture a Super Bowl title, he still goes down as not only one of the best Raiders, but one of the all time NFL greats. Brown appeared in nine pro bowls, was a two-time first-team All-Pro and was apart of the 1990’s All-Decade team.
Brown retired as the second leading All-Time NFL receiver in terms of yards, only behind the great Jerry Rice.