Las Vegas Raiders: 50 greatest players in franchise history

A video board displays an Al Davis quote (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
A video board displays an Al Davis quote (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /
11 of 50
Oakland Raiders
Mandatory Credit: Jed Jacobsohn /Allsport /

FS. Ohio State Buckeyes. Jack Tatum. 40. player. 28.

Few men hit harder than Jack Tatum during his NFL career. Known as “The Assassin” for his punishing hits in the middle of the Raiders defense, Tatum struck fear in the eyes of opponents for the entire 1970s. Oakland took the two-time All-American out of Ohio State No. 19 overall in the 1971 NFL Draft. Tatum would absolutely help the Silver and Black win their first Lombardi Trophy in the midst of his prime.

During his 10-year NFL career, Tatum put together nine incredible seasons for the Raiders. He would briefly play for the then Houston Oilers in 1980, but this guy was a Raider if there ever was one. Tatum was a menace in the middle of the Oakland secondary for nearly a decade, making three straight trips to the Pro Bowl from 1973 to 1975. He would be named second-team All-Pro in both 1974 and 1977.

Though a talented ball hawk in his own right with 37 career interceptions, Tatum is best known for two of his hits. In 1972, Tatum delivered the blow on Pittsburgh Steelers running back John Fuqua that would result in what is known today as the Immaculate Reception. During the 1978 NFL preseason, Tatum would strike New England Patriots wide receiver Daryl Stingley, resulting in the Patriots wideout’s paralysis.

While Tatum rightfully earned enshrinement in the College Football Hall of Fame, he’s never going to end up in Canton. His three straight Pro Bowls and Super Bowl XI championship made for quite the career, but one that ultimately comes up short of being a Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee. Tatum’s powerful hits at free safety are a reminder of how violent the NFL was during his playing days in the 1970s.