5 Raiders that deserve stronger Hall of Fame consideration

Oakland Raiders safety (32) Jack Tatum
Oakland Raiders safety (32) Jack Tatum / Tony Tomsic-USA TODAY Sports
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Raiders Jack Tatum
Raiders safety Jack Tatum / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

No. 3 Raiders legend that deserves more Hall of Fame consideration: S Jack Tatum

He’s not often mentioned in the discussion of great safeties in NFL annals. He is usually a subject of one of the hard-hitting players in football. His style epitomized the physical game of many decades. Safety Jack Tatum made his mark as one of football’s great intimidators. There are certainly more highlights of his vicious hits than his numerous takeaways. Perhaps that has worked against him when it comes to being a Pro Football Hall of Fame candidate.

A look at some numbers. In nine seasons with the Raiders and one with the Houston Oilers, Tatum picked off 37 passes. Seven of those thefts came in his final season with Houston. The three-time Pro Bowler’s (all with the Raiders) lone touchdown of his 10-year career came in 1972 when he set an NFL record for the longest fumble return (104 yards) in a 20-14 win over the Packers (the mark was tied 28 years later by Cardinals’ defensive back Aeneas Williams).

Of course, there were the hits. Many a wide receiver or running back (Earl Campbell in 1979) paid the price when they were in his vicinity. There was the unfortunate set of circumstances in the 1978 preseason when a midfield collision with New England Patriots wideout Darryl Stingley left the receiver paralyzed.

All told, the former Ohio State Buckeye and 19th overall pick in the 1971 NFL Draft was far more than just a hitting machine.