Las Vegas Raiders: 15 best linebackers of all-time

(Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
(Photo by George Rose/Getty Images) /
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. LB. (1971-79). Phil Villapiano. 5. player. 28

Best linebackers in Las Vegas Raiders history: 5. Phil Villapiano

At this point in the list it is simply moving from legend to legend, with nothing more to differentiate them besides needing to somehow put them in order. Honestly, between Millen and the great Phil Villapiano there are few differences, which makes it very difficult to put one ahead of the other.

Regardless, Villapiano takes the fifth spot on this ranking due to his near decade of service for the Raiders in the 70’s. From 1971 to 1979, Villapiano manned the outside linebacker position for the Silver and Black.

Tracking down ball carriers and serving as a capable ballhawk made him an irreplaceable piece of a defense that made the playoffs in five consecutive seasons, winning one Super Bowl in the process.

Villapiano’s abilities are reflected in his stats pretty nicely. In his 118 regular season games as a Raider, he only missed one start, which came in the 1975 season. That is absurd considering how often players get injured and or replaced based on talent. Take that as a testament to Villapiano’s consistency and value to the team.

Villapiano also tacked on 11 interceptions and 17 fumble recoveries during his nine seasons with the Raiders. Although tackles weren’t officially recorded, you can bet he had a ridiculous amount of  them.

Villapiano was an incredible player, leader and teammate, according to those he played with on the Raiders. His love for the Silver and Black still runs deep as he still attends events and supports them every chance he gets. Villiapiano truly defines “Once a Raider, Always a Raider”.