Oakland Raiders: 15 most beloved fan favorites in franchise history

The Raiders have existed for nearly 60 years now, so why not take a look at some of the most beloved players in franchise history.

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Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)

It is one thing to come up with the best all-time players in team history, we have already done it here at Just Blog Baby and you can check it out here. It is another thing to attempt a ranking of fan favorites, as it is much more subjective.

When ranking all-time greats, it is simple to look at statistics and accolades and figure out an order and ranking system from that.

What qualifies players as a fan favorite? Even more difficult, what does one go by to attempt putting those fan favorites in order? Is it accolades and statistics as well? Is it what the player or person meant to the franchise both on and off the field? In reality, it is somewhat of a combination of those two concepts.

Many of the players on this ranking also happen to be on the all-time best list and for good reason. For a player to become a legend of the franchise, he earns a lot of fan support in the process; it's only logical.

Before we get started with the top 15, let's look at some honorable mentions who barely missed out on the cut. Club legends like Jim Otto, Jim Plunkett and Lester Hayes come up just short, as do more recent players like Ronald Curry and Nnamdi Asomugha, who became fan favorites through playing well on horrible Raiders teams.

Without any further ado, let's kick this ranking off with a very recent Raiders favorite, who unfortunately no longer dons the Silver and Black.

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Khalil Mack, Oakland Raiders. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)


Khalil Mack

OLB/DE | (2014-17)
Khalil Mack Logo

This one might still sting for the Raiders faithful and rightfully so. In the 2014 NFL Draft, the raiders selected a blue-chip defensive end from the University of Buffalo with the No. 5 overall pick.

In only a handful of years, that pick turned into an NFL Defensive Player of the Year and anchor of the defense. Well, until he was shipped to Chicago for two first-round draft picks, one of which is now running back Josh Jacobs, who the team selected with the No. 24 overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Who knows who won or lost that trade? Only time will tell. The trade, however, does not change how quickly Khalil Mack won over the fans in Oakland. Mack's combination of raw talent and work ethic combined to create one of the most dominant defensive players in the NFL. Fans quickly fell in love with his ability to wreck games.

To emphasize how good Mack was with the Raiders, here is some context. In 64 games with the team, Mack tallied 40.5 sacks, 303 tackles, 68 tackles for loss and 84 quarterback hits. Dominant, right?

Mack lacks the longevity with the franchise that some other players on this ranking accrued, but by no means was he any less loved during his tenure. Despite being traded some, or even most, Raiders fans still root for Mack and wish him well in Chicago. It is a testament to how well-liked he was while sporting the Silver and Black.

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Art Shell, Oakland Raiders. (Photo by Robert B. Stanton/NFLPhotoLibrary)


Art Shell

LT/HC | (1968-82, 1989-94, 2006)
Art Shell Logo

Only one person in Raiders' history has played for the team and managed it from the sideline, the legendary Art Shell. A third-round pick out of Maryland Eastern Shore, Shell went on to spend 15 seasons manning the left tackle position with the Raiders. Alongside other club legends like Gene Upshaw, Shell helped the Raiders find success in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Shell's illustrious career, all spent with the Silver and Black, is one of the best in NFL history. In 15 seasons, Shell earned Pro Bowl honors eight times and All-Pro honors twice. The behemoth left tackle is now enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a fitting place for a generational talent like Shell.

Not only was Shell a terrific player for the Raiders, but he also went on to coach the team in the early 1990s. Shell found mixed success with the team, making the playoffs three times in seven years.

However, Shell's winning percentage as a coach is barely over .500 at 56-52. Shell was curiously fired by owner Al Davis following a 9-7 season in 1994, a move that Davis would later say he regretted.

Shell came back to coach the team again in 2006 but was let go after only one season posting a 2-14 record. Regardless of Shell's coaching resume, he is one of the all-time fan favorites in Raiders' history. As a player and coach, Shell spent a ton of time with the organization and garnered a lot of fandom throughout his long tenure with the team.

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Bo Jackson, Oakland Raiders. (Getty Images)


Bo Jackson

RB | (1987-90)
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Bo knows, right? The next player on this ranking is one of the most well-known athletes ever, regardless of sport. Bo Jackson became a national icon after refusing to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, seemingly forgoing football to play professional baseball. A year later, the Raiders selected Jackson in the seventh round of the 1987 NFL Draft.

Already a member of the Kansas City Royals in the MLB, Jackson was interested enough in football to join the Raiders halfway through the season. He went on to spend four seasons with the Raiders, tallying 2,782 yards and 16 touchdowns in 38 total games.

Unfortunately, Jackson suffered a massive injury to his hip, called avascular necrosis, which damaged the blood vessels and arteries in his hip. The injury forced him to quit playing football and resulted in him being cut by the Royals, although he would go on to play for the Chicago White Sox and the then-California Angels before retiring at the age of 32 in 1994.

Jackson's popularity among Raiders fans, and sports fans, in general, was wide-spread in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The "Bo Knows" advertisement campaign produced by Nike helped Jackson cement his place in mainstream media.

Jackson is viewed as one of the best athletes of all time, in terms of overall raw athleticism. His electric running style enamored Raiders fans, even though his time with the team was relatively short.

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Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)


Derek Carr

QB | (2014-Present)
Derek Carr Logo

The current quarterback of the Raiders in Derek Carr is a very popular player in Raider Nation. Perhaps some of that is due to his extended role on HBO's Hard Knocks that is currently captivating a national audience. More likely, it is due to his role in bringing the Raiders out of one of the darkest periods in team history.

Selected in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Carr instantly became the face of the franchise. Out of a small school like Fresno State, Carr did not garner the same amount of hype as players from bigger schools like Alabama and Oregon. Regardless, Carr took the helm and helped guide the Raiders out of their losing ways.

In 2016, Carr was clutch and led seven comeback efforts en route to a 12-4 record and the team's first playoff appearance since 2002. Unfortunately, Carr broke his ankle in Week 16 against the Indianapolis Colts and lost his chance at playing in the playoffs, possibly even an NFL MVP award.

Carr's leadership, positivity and talent all combine to create a popular enigma for Raiders fans to root for. Some criticize him and claim he is too soft to lead this team, but entering year two with Jon Gruden, expectations are high for Carr.

In 2019, Carr is expected to become the franchise's all-time leading passer. Should he help the Raiders back to the playoffs, he will surely cement his spot as one of the biggest fan favorites in the team's history.

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Kenny King, Los Angeles Raiders. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)


Kenny King

RB/FB | (1980-85)
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One of the most unsung players in franchise history is none other than Kenny King. In fact, King's son Kenny King Jr. is a writer here at JBB, check out his work if you haven't already. King is rightfully one of the most popular players in franchise history for the role he played in two of the franchise's Super Bowl triumphs.

King attended the University of Oklahoma and was ultimately drafted in the third round of the 1979 NFL Draft where he was selected by the then-Houston Oilers. In 1980, the Raiders acquired him via trade and the rest is history.

King spent six seasons with the Silver and Black, racking up 2,468 yards and seven touchdowns in 85 games. In his first year with the team, King earned Pro Bowl honors and helped the Raiders win their second Super Bowl.

Perhaps his most notable moment in a Raiders jersey came in that same Super Bowl where King took a pass from Jim Plunkett 80 yards through the Philadelphia Eagles defense. King is a Raider for life and continues his devotion to the Silver and Black today. A two-time Super Bowl champion, King is one of the most memorable and loved players to ever play for the Raiders franchise.

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Howie Long. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)


Howie Long

DE | (1981-93)
Howie Long Logo

Few players in the history of the Silver and Black are as well-known as Howie Long, due in large part to his longevity with the organization.

In 1981, the Raiders drafted Long out of Villanova University with their second-round draft selection. After taking Tedd Watts (eventual bust) in the first round of that draft, somehow the Raiders got lucky enough to land Long as a steal in the second round.

In 13 seasons with the franchise, Long would tally 84 sacks, the second-highest mark in franchise history. He earned eight Pro Bowl nominations, three First-Team All-Pro selections and two Second-Team All-Pro selections. In addition, Long featured heavily for the 1983 team that went on to win the franchise's third Super Bowl.

A legend on the field, Long has stayed in the NFL and Raiders spotlight since his retirement. His sons Chris and Kyle are both NFL players, keeping in line with the family business. Also, Long had a brief acting career, appearing in five movies.

Long also features on FOX's NFL coverage and surfaces around Raiders training camps and other events throughout the season. Long's legacy is well cemented with the organization. He is one of the most beloved and well-known players to don the Silver and Black. Success and overall likability make Long an easy selection to being the top 10.

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Fred Biletnikoff, Oakland Raiders. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)


Fred Biletnikoff

WR | (1965-78)
Fred Biletnikoff Logo

The Raiders have had some electric wide receivers in the course of their history. From James Jett to current star Antonio Brown, the Raiders have had a plethora of extremely talented wide receivers that made games incredibly fun to watch. One of the most notable receivers on that long list is Pro Football Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff.

Selected in the second round of the 1965 AFL Draft out of Florida State University, Biletnikoff chose the Raiders over the Detroit Lions and began his career with Oakland. He would spend all 14 seasons he played with the Raiders, setting records and earning a lot of fandom along the way.

In 190 games played with the franchise, Biletnikoff recorded 589 receptions for 8,974 yards and 76 touchdowns. All of which were franchise records until the legendary Tim Brown came to town, but Biletnikoff still ranks second in all three of those categories.

Elected into both the College Football and Professional Football Hall of Fames, Biletnikoff is one of the best players ever, let alone best Raiders.

He is the namesake for the Biletnikoff Award, given to the best collegiate receiver every season, a very prestigious honor. Biletnikoff also coached the Raiders wide receivers for a number of years and is still present at team events. A legend and beloved player among Raider nation, Biletnikoff slots in just behind arguably the Raiders' best ever coach.

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John Madden, Oakland Raiders. (Photo by Robert B. Stanton/NFLPhotoLibrary)


John Madden

HC | (1969-78)
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In the all-time lists of great coaches, people bring up names like Tom Landry and Bill Parcells. Raiders fans and NFL pundits alike will throw out John Madden's name into that conversation.

And rightly so, Madden is a legendary name and was an incredible coach for the Silver and Black. Knee injuries derailed his NFL career before he even had a chance to play a game, but clearly, he made the most out of it.

Madden's charisma and leadership led the Raiders to a lot of success during his tenure. He was the head coach from 1969 until 1978 when he retired. Over those 10 seasons, the Raiders amassed a 103-32-7 record, a .763 winning percentage. In the playoffs they did not fair as well, going 9-7 during Madden's time with the team.

Although those nine wins included a Super Bowl victory. So in the grand scheme of things, it all works out well for Madden. His Raiders won seven division titles in his 10 seasons and finished in second the other three.

That kind of consistent success made Madden a very well-liked person in the eyes of the Raider faithful. Madden also spent a lot of time as a tv analyst for all the major sports broadcasters. He is obviously the namesake for the most popular football video game in the world, Madden. His popularity is still enormous, a testament to how beloved Madden is by Raiders fans.

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Ken Stabler, Oakland Raiders. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images for NASCAR)


Ken Stabler

QB | (1970-79)
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Ken "The Snake" Stabler is arguably the best quarterback in franchise history and still holds a lot of franchise records for passing statistics. Derek Carr will likely surpass those numbers in the near future, but with Carr doing so will by no means erase Stabler's legacy with the franchise.

A dual-sport athlete, Stabler was drafted into both the NFL and the MLB before deciding to play football for the Raiders. Stabler spent 10 seasons with the Raiders before closing his career out with the then-Houston Oilers and the New Orleans Saints in the early 1980s.

From 1973 to 1979, Stabler was the starting quarterback for the Silver and Black, leading them to the playoffs five times and winning a Super Bowl with the 1976 team. Stabler tallied 19,708 passing yards and 150 touchdowns during his time with the Raiders, both current franchise records.

Stabler's confidence and clutch gene helped him lead many comebacks with the Raiders, making him a beloved member among the fans. Whenever "Snake" had a chance with the ball late in the game, fans always knew he would be able to pull off sometimes unthinkable drives to help the team to a win.

Unfortunately, Stabler passed away due to colon cancer before he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In fact, almost a year after his death the league announced he was being inducted.

It was heartbreaking for Stabler's family and fans to not be able to see him accept his rightful induction into the hall. A beloved member of Raider Nation, Stabler is one of the best examples of a fan favorite in team history.

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Al Davis, Oakland Raiders. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)


Al Davis

Owner/GM/HC | (1963-11)
Al Davis Logo

Alongside John Madden, Al Davis is one of two non-players on this ranking, but it is for very good reason. Madden is obviously arguably the best and most popular coach in franchise history, but the franchise as we know it today would not exist if it weren't for Al Davis.

Going from the head coach to a managing partner to the primary owner, Davis has done it all for the Raiders. He dedicated his life to making sure the franchise was successful.

Davis made all decisions related to the Raiders from 1966 until his passing in 2011. Although Davis made some very, very curious moves that left fans confused and angry, his guidance helped the Raiders to a ton of success over that span.

Three Super Bowls, 16 division titles and 21 playoff appearances. All of which came under Davis' control and management of the team. His unparalleled wish to win created a machine in Oakland, and for a while Los Angeles. The Silver and Black incited fear into their opponents and used every advantage to them to find success, even if that meant cheating.

Regardless, Davis is the Raiders. His legacy with the team is unmatched by anyone. Nobody will likely even come close to having that kind of impact on the franchise again. A torch in his honor is lit before every home game. The address of the new arena in Las Vegas is even named after him. Although not a player, Davis is one of the most beloved figures in franchise history.

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Oakland Raiders. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)


Willie Brown

DB | (1967-78)
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Grambling State alumnus Willie Brown went undrafted coming out of college, yet went on to become one of the best players in league history.

Signing as an undrafted free agent with the then-Houston Oilers, getting cut, signing with and working his way into a starting role with the Denver Broncos and then ultimately becoming a legend with the Raiders, Brown's story is an incredible one.

By the time Brown was traded to the Raiders, he was already an AFL All-Star, a proven commodity. However, Brown exceeded all expectations in the next dozen years he spent with the team. Over those 12 seasons, Brown earned five AFL All-Star nominations, four Pro Bowl nominations, three All-AFL nominations and four All-NFL nominations.

Brown also won a Super Bowl with the Silver and Black in the 1976 season, recording a pick-six en route to defeating the Minnesota Vikings. In 154 games with the team, Brown recorded 39 interceptions, which is tied with Lester Hayes for most in franchise history.

The legendary cornerback is still involved with the franchise as a director of staff development and has spent the last several years announcing Raiders draft picks. Brown is still very loved by Raiders fans and still loves to be around the sport and franchise, even being almost 80 years old. A Pro Football Hall of Famer, Brown is one of the best and most liked players in team history.

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Marcus Allen, Los Angeles Raiders. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Allsport/Getty Images)


Marcus Allen

RB | (1982-92)
Marcus Allen Logo

The best running back in team history also happens to be one of the most beloved players the team has ever had. Was it his electric running style that fans loved to watch? Was it the success he helped the team find? It ultimately is likely a combination of both factors.

Skill position players are the most fun to watch because they have the ball the most and have insane ability to make plays out of nothing, which is extremely fun to watch.

Marcus Allen falls perfectly in with that description. Selected with the No. 10 overall pick in the 1982 NFL Draft, the Raiders went with the local kid out of USC. With the franchise moving to Los Angeles at the time, Allen did not have to move to continue his career.

Allen paid dividends early and often, winning NFL Rookie of the Year in 1982 and helping the team to a Super Bowl title in 1983. In 11 seasons with the Silver and Black, Allen rushed for 8,545 yards and 79 touchdowns.

He holds franchise records in those two categories and by a very wide margin. The Raiders have never had a running back as talented as Allen and the records reflect that. His running style and game-altering ability made him an easy fan favorite. He retains that mantle to this day, as he is one of the most popular players to ever suit up for the Silver and Black.

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Cliff Branch, Los Angeles Raiders. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)


Cliff Branch

WR | (1972-85)
Cliff Branch Logo

As previously mentioned, the Raiders have had some pretty incredible wide receivers over the course of their 60 years of existence. The next two players on this ranking are receivers, with the first being the late, great Cliff Branch.

Selected as a fourth-round draft pick in the 1972 NFL Draft, Branch got his shot with the Raiders. Despite his first two seasons being quite underwhelming, Branch finally put it all together in year three and went on to forge a great career for himself.

Branch earned a starting role with the team in 1974, immediately posting a 1,000-yard season en route to earning Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors.

In 183 games with the franchise, Branch recorded 501 receptions for 8,685 yards and 67 touchdowns. Those numbers all rank third in franchise history, only behind Fred Biletnikoff, who already appeared, and Tim Brown, who will be talked about shortly.

As the statistics hint at, Branch was a star wide receiver. A true "deep threat," Branch revolutionized the position and the Raiders offense with his speed and athleticism.

Unfortunately, Branch passed away earlier this month and will never get to accept his induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in person (he deserved to). A man of great kindness with an infectious smile and personality, Branch is easily one of the most beloved Raiders ever.

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Tim Brown, Los Angeles Raiders. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello/ALLSPORT


Tim Brown

WR/PR/KR | (1988-03)
Tim Brown Logo

The top three was tough to rank with Cliff Branch, and now Tim Brown, very close to all Raiders fans' hearts. As a child, Brown was one of the first Raiders I watched and became a fan of. My personal bias aside, Brown is easily one of the most beloved Raiders players of all time due to his consistent excellence and longevity with the team.

Brown is one of the most decorated players in franchise history, maybe that has something to do with him being a fan favorite? In college at Notre Dame, Brown won the Heisman Trophy, named as the best player in college football in 1987. The Raiders selected Brown with the No. 6 overall pick in the 1988 NFL Draft and reaped the benefits for the next 16 years.

Brown spent 16 seasons with the Silver and Black as a wide receiver and a returner. Over the course of his career, Brown broke all the franchise records for touchdowns, receiving yards and receptions. His marks of 99 touchdowns, 14,734 yards and 1,070 yards all still top the all-time ranks for the team.

Brown's excellence is highlighted by his nine Pro Bowl nominations and two First-Team All-Pro honors. The best receiver, and one of the best overall players, to ever play for the Silver and Black, Brown is more than deserving of a top-two finish on this ranking.

Fans loved him and continue to shower him with love when he appears at Raiders events, echoing the support he received during his career.

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Charles Woodson, Oakland Raiders. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)


Charles Woodson

DB | (1998-05, 2013-15)
Charles Woodson Logo

Was this ever even a question? Without a doubt, Charles Woodson is the most beloved player to ever play a game for the Silver and Black. Fans have not shown support to any player in the same manner as they have for Woodson over the years. In two separate stints with the franchise, Woodson became the team's most beloved player with his style of play and leadership.

The only player to ever win the Heisman Trophy as a defensive player, expectations were high for Woodson coming out of Michigan.

His ball-hawking ability and athleticism made him an incredible cornerback. The Raiders benefited from his presence immediately.

Overall, Woodson spent 11 seasons with the team, with seven seasons with the Green Bay Packers in between his stints in Oakland.

Woodson's 27 interceptions are only eighth overall in team history, but his statistics don't tell the whole story of why he is so loved by Raider Nation.

It wasn't his interceptions or pass breakups, it was his leadership, presence and love for the team. Nobody seemed to love Oakland as much as Woodson did, and that resonated with the fans.

It was easy to see that Woodson loved to be there and that he loved to lead and help the younger guys on the roster. His role in helping the team transition when Derek Carr was drafted was pivotal, he helped the team learn how to win.

If you need any more proof of why Woodson tops this list, watch this.

Woodson voluntarily came back to a bad Raiders team to help them, almost as a thank you for giving him his first chance. A nine-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro, Woodson will surely be a Pro Football Hall of Famer one day and will likely thank Raider Nation during his acceptance speech. Without question, "C-Wood" is the most beloved player in franchise history.