Skip to main content

Who's more intimidating, a molester, Dr. Death or an Assassin?

The autumn wind is a Raider. Pillaging just for fun. He'll knock you 'round and upside down. And laugh when he's conquered and won.

The Raiders built an organization built on intimidation. From the simple black uniforms to players who just seemed to play just outside of the rules, to the owner himself -- the Raiders struck fear into opponents.

In honor of those teams, here is a look at the six most intimidating Raiders of all-time. And, believe me, this was a tough list to knock down to just six.

And without further ado ...

6. Al Davis

You don't believe that Al Davis still casts a menacing shadow over the NFL? One NFL analyst once confided to me that he was still worried about talking poorly about the Raiders because he didn't want to answer to Al. And this was just two years ago. So, yes, Al Davis still has it.

5. Ken Stabler

Some intimidating players can disarm you with a wink and a smile. And that is exactly what Stabler did. Obviously, he did not cut a large shadow, but you know that defensive players started to sweat with Stabler under center during the two-minute drill. No lead seemed too great. And when you watch the "Holy Roller," no rally seemed too improbable.

4. Skip Thomas

The Raiders put together generations of great defensive backs. Not surprisingly, three DBs make this list. Thomas makes it ahead of some of the all-time greats -- such as George Atkinson, Willie Brown, and Michael Haynes. I mean, his nickname, "Dr. Death," said it all. Seriously, did the Raiders not have some of the greatest nicknames in NFL history?

3. Lester Hayes

Speaking of nicknames, Lester "the Molester" had one of the most unflattering. To most people. Hayes developed a reputation as being one of the best bump-and-run cornerbacks in NFL history. Hayes also rarely spoke because of a stuttering problem -- later fixed -- that only added to his image as a brooding defensive back.

2. Art Shell and Gene Upshaw

The Raiders were blessed to have an offensive line that reveled in punishing opposing players with the same zeal as defensive players. And some might argue that this dominating duo enjoyed it more than their defensive counterparts. The Raiders always were successful at the ground game because Shell and Upshaw wore down defensive lines and opened lanes wide enough for an entire stampede to run through.

1. Jack Tatum

Has there ever been a player who better personified his team's toughness than Tatum? The nickname "Assassin" was perfect for him. One of his more enduring images was of him nailing Vikings WR Sammy White, knocking his helmet clean off. And, unfortunately, he will be remembered for the hit that paralyzed Patriots WR Darryl Stingley.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content