With the incredible success of The Last Dance, we take a look at five members of the Raiders organization who deserve the same type of documentary.
"The Last Dance" documentary about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls is taking the world by storm, and there are a few former member of the Las Vegas Raiders organization who would make an interesting documentary, as well. In the storied history of the Silver and Black, there have many interesting characters, and a few could fill up a ten-part series.
The documentary gives an in depth look at what made Michael Jordan so great, and what other players and people thought about him, telling stories and opinions on arguably the greatest basketball player of all time. For a guy who was so guarded during his NBA career, this documentary really pulled back the curtain.
Looking at the history of the Raiders franchise, there has been plenty to document, including big-time characters, legendary players, and of course, moves and issues with the league office. You cannot write the history of the NFL without the Raiders, and as a team that is beloved worldwide, it would certainly get the ratings.
So, if the NFL decided to create a documentary similar to "The Last Dance", what Raiders could be in consideration and would make a great documentary?
If there were any Raider, or anybody involved with the NFL for that matter, that would make a great "Last-Dance" type documentary, it would be Al Davis. Al Davis is the cornerstone of everything that the Raiders are. "Just Win Baby" and "Commitment to Excellence" were saying created by Al Davis, and have been the trademark of the Silver and Black ever since.
Davis was the owner and general manager of the Raiders for 39 years until his death in 2011. He was one of the main reasons for the Raiders successes in the 70's and 80's, as he would help lead the Raiders to three Super Bowl titles, cementing their place as NFL royalty.
Not only did Davis change the Raiders, but he changed the NFL. Davis was the first owner to hire an African American head coach, and the second owner to hire a Latino head coach. Davis was someone who did it all, as he is the only executive to ever be a head coach, assistant coach, GM, commissioner, and owner.
Al is one of the most recognizable owners in NFL history, as he was the reason for the persona of the Silver and Black, and the NFL may not be what it is today without him. His spirit lives forever in Allegiant Stadium, as the team lights the Al Davis torch before every game. Between his building up the franchise, and his fights with the league, you could fill a ten-part doc easily.
If there were any NFL player to get a "Last Dance" type of documentary, it would be Bo Jackson. Jackson is one of the most recognizable athletes of all time, and many feel he is the best athlete of a generation. The Heisman Trophy-winner would go on to be offered a contract by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but would refuse to play for them, and would be selected by the Raiders instead.
Jackson would be hard to negotiate with, as he wanted to play baseball still, but he would find his way into the largest non-quarterback deal in the league.
Jackson would only play 38 games in his NFL career, but the impact he left in such a short amount of time is something that cannot be argued. In 1990, Jackson would suffer a career-ending injury in a playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals, but this would not be the end of Jackson in sports.
After an incredible career in both professional baseball and football, Bo Jackson would go on to be endorsed by NIKE, becoming even more well known off of the phrase "Bo Knows" which is still popular today. In a short amount of time, Bo Jackson was able to dominate the MLB, NFL, merchandise, and video game world.
Ken "Snake" Stabler is arguably the best Raiders quarterback of all-time, leading the team to a Super Bowl title, and being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Stabler's path to becoming a Hall of Fame quarterback was not a normal one, and would no doubt make an interesting documentary.
After being drafted by the Raiders, Stabler would be sent to play for the Spokane Shockers of the Continental Football League for a couple of games before leaving the Raiders and football all together. Stabler was another player who was not only drafted in the NFL, but into the MLB in three different years, as well.
Stabler would return to the Raiders in 1970, and the Raiders dynasty began. Even know, the love the Raider Nation has for Stabler is as strong as ever, and every quarterback who came after him as been graded against him.
Stabler went through ups and downs in his career, such as being a part of the Immaculate Reception game and suffering from severe knee injuries that would drastically change his style of play. Luckily for Stabler, everything would end up working out, going on to have a Hall of Fame career and winning a Super Bowl in 1977.
Gene Upshaw had one of the greatest careers in NFL history, and is highly regarded as the greatest Raider of all time. Upshaw would spend his entire career in the Silver and Black, playing from 1967 to 1981, and becoming the first player in NFL history to play in a Super Bowl in three different decades.
Most offensive linemen do not get a ton of respect and praise, but that was not the case with Gene Upshaw. He played the game the right way, and would go on to serve the league in an executive role later on in life.
The accolades poured in for Upshaw, as he was a two-time Super Bowl champion, six-time Pro Bowler, eight-time NFL All-Pro, three-time AFL All Pro, and a part of the NFL's 100th Anniversary All Time Team. Upon his death, Upshaw was shown the ultimate sign of respect, , as all 32 teams in the NFL would wear a patch that read "GU" on their jerseys.
In the history of the NFL, you would be hard-pressed to find a player who not only dominated on the field, but also made so many contributions off of it. Upshaw participated in so many memorable and historic games that it would be easy to fill ten episodes, as would his dealing during his time with the NFLPA.
Tom Flores is the owner of a ton of "firsts" in the National Football League. Flores was the first Hispanic quarterback and first minority head coach to win a Super Bowl. Flores was also one of only two people to win a Super Bowl as a player, head coach, and assistant coach.
Flores had a successful career as a player, but most of his success came as the head coach for the Raiders from 1979-1987. Flores was a three-time Super Bowl champion, winning Super Bowl XI as an assistant coach, and Super Bowls XV and XVIII as a head coach.
The fact that Flores is not in the Hall of Fame is a travesty, and maybe a documentary on his incredible life would bring light to the fact that he should be in there. You could run an episode just on that fact, as he was the quintessential pioneer in NFL circles.
The history of the Raiders is a storied one, and you could have a ton of people that would qualify for a ten-part documentary. However, these five men have incredible backstories inside and outside of the game, and would keep the viewers on the edge of their seats, much like The Last Dance did.