on September 17, 2010
The Oakland Raiders regular season record during Hall Of Fame coach John Madden's tenure (1969-1978) was 103 wins 32 losses and 7 ties. That was a better record than even the illustrious Vince Lombardi. When Madden took over they won seven division titles in the first eight seasons. "Between 1970 and 1977 they played in six AFC Championship games and won the Super Bowl to end the 1976 season." This wonderfully idiosyncratic look at the Raiders of those years include everything from the history of Hall Of Fame owner Al Davis to John Madden to all the lovable "BLACK AND SILVER" players... including many Hall Of Famers... and some who should definitely be in the Hall Of Fame also. The author, a Raider fan at least since his east coast college days, lovingly refers to the team known worldwide as *THE-SILVER-AND-BLACK" as the "BLACK AND SILVER"... over and over... and over again. And any fan can understand the author's individual nickname for them. For any fan who loves... and I mean loves... his favorite sports team... undoubtedly has some picayunish... unique... clever... at least in their own mind... nickname for their team. Some are born from superstition... some are born by a mispronouncement... or misunderstanding... or even a bolt of lightning. But any diehard fan... always has a unique personal nickname or phrase for their beloved team. One of the highlights... in a book overflowing with highlights... is the author spewing such an unrelenting, heartfelt love and adoration for his *BLACK AND SILVER* that any true football fan regardless of their favorite team can't help but share the joy of a football love that has no boundaries.
This is a book for any football aficionado. I have read... reviewed... and loved books on the Steelers... the Packers... da Bears... the Colts... the Saints... et al. you can check my prior reviews for proof. So for me to highly recommend a sports book, it absolutely does not have to be about my favorite team or player. Now, it so happens I'm a Raider fan, and in fact I am an original and continuous PSL season ticket holder since they returned to Oakland sixteen years ago... but that's not why I strongly recommend this book. All sports including football have changed (in my opinion) for the worse in the last forty years... so this book lets you travel back in time to share beers... brawls... wins... and losses... with probably the greatest collection of whacko's... brawlers... and believe it or not... highly educated band of outsiders in a team sport in modern times. The author has meticulously combined quotes from forty years ago... and included up to the minute interviews with many of the players and Coach Madden. The love and respect they have for each other after all these years is amazing. In fact the author states that not one single player interviewed all these years later had even one single negative thing to say about Madden. And everyone including Al Davis states that there was no other coach but Madden that could have possibly lead these castoffs and free thinkers to the heights of victory they accomplished.
There are so many great stories from their yearly pre-season training camps... that players looked so forward to... that most of them showed up days earlier than required. They loved football... and they loved the Raider family, which in training camp included bar hopping... drinking beer by the *PITCHER*... bowling tournaments, air hockey tournaments (with cheating allowed)... women... women... sneaking out after bed checks... Hall Of Famers showing up on the practice field riding a horse... streakers... and players like Hall Of Famers, Fred Biletnikoff, and Willie Brown (Just some of the eventual Raider Hall Of Famers.)... and should be Hall Of Famers, Ken "Snake" Stabler... Ray Guy... Cliff Branch... Jack Tatum... stayed hours after practice... to practice more... because one thing you'll learn in this book, is that sure... the Raiders of those days liked to party... but they loved to win... and simply loved the game of football even more than partying.
The backgrounds of all the important and not so important *SILVER-AND-BLACK" / "BLACK-AND-SILVER" players are covered so the reader gets a personal insight into how players known as *THE ASSASSIN*... *THE HIT MAN*... *DOCTOR DEATH*... *FOO*... *THE STORK*... *THE ROOSTER*... *THE GOVERNOR*... *THE TOOZ*... *BOOMER*... *THE GHOST*... and sooo many more... made the Raiders one of the greatest teams in history... and you'll fully understand when a player... even after being traded... says... "ONCE YOU'RE A RAIDER... YOU'RE A RAIDER FOR LIFE!"
**NOTE** Amazon's product description on this page is wrong. Madden's Raiders won SEVEN DIVISION TITLES NOT SIX AS AMAZON STATES!
on October 4, 2010
I've been a Raiders fan since 1964, the good majority of my life, and bought this book primarily because of that. I was surprised by how good a book it was in its own right. About a quarter of the way through I realized this would make an enjoyable read for any true football aficionado. I say that because whether the author intended it or not this book really explains what made John Madden's Raiders unique in football history and why there will probably never be another team like it. Here was a collection of people that really loved to play football; loved to tackle and be tackeled. Have you ever had a job that you loved to come to every day? If so, then you realize that's the most incredible experience to have. To get paid for doing something you'd enjoy doing anyway. Madden's Raiders were that. But only Madden could bring those people together without dampening their enthusiasm and this, more than anything else, explains what made that team so unusual and unique. John Rauch couldn't do it (Madden's predecessor) nor could Tom Flores (his successor). I always knew they were special but never understood exactly why until reading this book. It wasn't the winning (for that you could/should back the Steelers, Cowboys, or Dolphins). It had to be something else and it was -- these guys just loved to hit and loved to do things their way. At times I think the book goes overboard on documenting the team's partying because, I guess, that's what sells books. But I think what makes the book special is the other aspects to the team's history. The John Madden era Raiders were truly a family; even Al Davis laments the inability to ever again create that kind of atmosphere for his team (Al's own discription of the Raiders in L.A. vs. 1968-1978 Oakland is very telling in that respect). The discriptions of the selflessness of the players is really something that stands out and I can't see happening in today's me-first incentive-laden contract environment. If you love the Raiders, this one's a no-brainer but even if you only remember the team as different than the rest of the NFL and are curious as to why then I recommend this book as something you will enjoy reading.
The Oakland Raiders and the 1970s were tailor-made for each other. It was a time when professional sports (aside from golf) were considered blue collar forms of entertainment ... especially the NFL. The Raiders (like the Steelers and Eagles) personified a blue collar town with their aggressive style of play, production and lack of flamboyancy. The 1970s is an era when many of the fans that filled their stadiums may have been as tough as the players on the field. It was the last gasp of "old school "football where injured players kept playing and the ailment known as "turf toe" had yet to be defined. The only Nike logo in sight might have been on a few pairs of cleats; there was no internet and no fantasy football. Looking back, the Raiders were an icon of that blue collar era of football. One of the lasting images of Monday Night Football was the intro and its close up of Willie Brown's face, with his helmet bouncing around, as he returns an interception for a touchdown. His face is pure Raider - a determined, almost angered look. Peter Richmond hits a grand slam with his book that details the inception, construction and coronation of the most successful Raider team ever: that hodge-podge collection of thugs, animals and boozers that comprised the winners of Super Bowl XI. Not only does Richmond deliver the history and juicy details of the team, his book serves as a time machine that takes the reader back to a long lost period where the business side of the sport took a backseat to the game itself.
One does not necessarily have to be a fan of the Oakland Raiders to appreciate this book as Richmond's work should prove to be an interest to a wide range of readers. Fans of sports, history, business and human interest stories should be able to appreciate this book. As someone with a nostalgic interest of growing up in the 1970s, I particularly enjoyed the time warp aspect of this book because it brings back memories of trading football cards, as my collection of cards included many of the players highlighted in this book (and the Raider players always seemed to look more menacing on those cards). Another personal benefit is that it reminded me of the only NFL game I've ever seen live ... the December 24, 1977 playoff game at Baltimore where the Raiders won in double over-time with Dave Casper's Hall-of-Fame worthy performance. Although the 1977 team isn't the focus of the book, the residual talent of the previous season's Super Bowl winning squad was quite evident the following season.
Richmond starts with a chapter that served as the ashes from which the eventual Super Bowl champion team was born ... the 1972 controversial "Immaculate Reception" playoff game vs. the Steelers that spawned a heated rivalry between the 1970s two most dominant AFC teams. Richmond presents this as the catalyst that spurred owner Al Davis to buy, deal, inherit and assemble the parts of a championship team of players and coaches. With the seeds of the dream firmly planted by the controversial results of that playoff game, Richmond takes us back the inception of the Raider franchise and how a shrewd and business-savvy Davis finagled ultimate control of the Raiders. Paralleling Davis' ascent is the progression of John Madden's coaching progression that eventually leads to the helm of a talent loaded Raider team with a history of regular season success and playoff failures.
With the general framework of coaches and core talent in place, Richmond dissects the guts of team, by taking us into the locker room, on the practice field and out into the decadent Oakland nightlife that occupied so much of the Raider player's time once practice ended. Individual chapters introduce us to groups of men that comprise elements of the team from linemen to defensive backs. Richmond spends a great deal of the book detailing the men, their personalities and the exploits both on and off the field that often generated colorful nicknames like: Foo, Rooster, Dr. Death and Snake. The most amazing aspect is that such an odd band of divergent personalities with virtually no rules could bond so well, work so hard and function totally as a team on a mission. The author successfully corals a majority of the 1976 Raider ensemble to contribute to his book with personal reflections, hilarious stories and affirmation of the bond the men had with each other and their beloved Coach Madden. Even the elusive punter Ray Guy contributes! The details provided in these particular chapters present an addictive reading element as we feel we are actually witnessing these events, both on and off the field.
The book culminates in recapping a successful 13-1 regular season record and a post-season run to the Super Bowl that includes yet another rumble with rival and current Super Bowl champion Steelers. Super Bowl XI is deemed "the Promised Land" and although it was a snoozer of a game (and I remember it as being the first Super Bowl I watched in entirety as a kid), the book captures the energy, excitement, drive and ultimate confidence that Raider team displayed in overpowering the Minnesota Vikings. The game itself may have been unexciting, but the build-up leading to the victory and the euphoria experienced by the players is ever-present.
Peter Richmond took me back to my first real memories of enjoying pro football as a kid. The manner in which he presents this particular group of men is both entertaining and endearing. Additionally, Richmond's book may be considered a throwing-of-the-gauntlet by arguably presenting the 1976 Oakland Raider team as one of the best teams in NFL history. Although I'm not a Raider fan, after reading "Badasses", I might actually agree with him.
on April 8, 2015
I remember watching this team, and at the time I hated them.
Reason for that, I was a Miami Dolphin fan.
And back in that football era, it was the Dolphins, Steelers,
Raiders, Oilers and Colts, that beat the stuffing out of each other.
But this gang of Outlaws, that John Madden put together, was always
the Baddest of the Bad.
And they knew it, and enjoyed living that attitude.
Was it all just an act?
I don't believe so.
What you saw, was really what these guys were, then and now.
A gunslinger, never stops, being a gunslinger.
And the year, that this book tells about, it all came together......
There has never been a team like this Raiders team again, the 1985
Chicago Bears, came close, but did not have the same swagger.
Of course, with the "new" NFL, we will never see, a team like that
Raider team again.
And that is a pity.
on August 22, 2015
What a fun walk down nostalgia lane. This book tells the story of the Oakland Raiders football team during the 1970s under the leadership of coach John Madden and quarterback Ken Stabler. The Oakland teams of that era won one Super Bowl, were always in championship contention and maintained a storied rivalry with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Raiders were a fun-loving group of guys who partied hardy after practice but always showed up on Sunday ready to play. Richmond uses the Raiders' sense of fun and family to
contrast the pro football of the 1970s with the modern game of the 21st century, where end zone dances celebrate "me" and corporate rigidity has replaced the joy that use to mark the pro game.
The book provides a series a excellent portraits of some of the key Raider players, Coach Madden and the legendary owner Al Davis. As someone who has written about sports in an earlier era (Hoop Crazy: College Basketball in the 1950s), I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in sports history or anyone who remembers the badass Oakland Raiders of years ago.
on April 1, 2013
The cover of Badasses states; "one of the best football. books ever written". That is a pretty high compliment and while I haven't read them all I've read a few and this is one of the best football books I have read in a long time. As a kid in the 70's I watched a lot of Raider games on TV and have memories of many of the players mentioned in this book.Peter Richmond gives biographical sketches of many of the Raiders from the 70's and it makes for great reading. The characters on the Raider teams and how John Madden was able to coach them successfully makes for entertaining reading. Richmond laments the old days of football and the Raiders of the 70's who won it all in 1977. If you are a Raider fan naturally you will love this book, if you are a football fan and remember these teams and players ,you just might start rooting for them and look differently at the Silver and Black. Great book.
on February 9, 2014
I am a football fan, though not a Raiders fan. However, anyone that was a fan of football in the 70's knows about the Raiders. I wanted to read about some of their exploits on and off the field and this book gives a good accounting. It is enjoyable, if the facts of some of the Pittsburgh games are more pro Raiders than actual fact (when the Raiders beat them, they beat up on a very injured Pittsburgh team, and no I am not a Pittsburgh fan either). However, I did enjoy the book and recommend it to all fans of football to get an understanding of football in the 70's as well as Raiders fans to relive some glory, and the building of one of the great teams of that era. I liked many of the training camp activities and I think you will as well. Tks.
on May 4, 2013
One of my earliest memories involved the Oakland(emphasis on the Oakland) Raiders. My dad had 2 season tickets and my brother and I would alternate going. We'd get to the stadium early to get a Collasal Dog, just a big dog with sauerkraut but very exciting. We sat in the stands surrounded by bikers drinking wine out of Bota Bags. After the games we'd go down to the tunnel where the locker rooms were to wait for the players to get autographs. Huge, manly men wearing suits stopping to give every kid their signuature.
I was passionate about the Raiders back then and that's the passion that Richmond gives to this book. He's not just a sports writer here, he's someone who was deeply affected by the team and it shows. All the blood, sweat and stickum of the original bad boys of football is there and Richmond savors every detail.
on September 17, 2010
I've read almost every book ever written about the Oakland Raiders, and this is one of the best! The prose is lively and perfectly captures the spirit of the colorful Raiders of the 70s. The best quality of this book is that many of the stories herein are new to me; and as I said, I've read many books about this team. And most of the stories I'm already familiar with are given a freash spin and perspective by the author. Excellent book and highly recommended!
on April 15, 2013
The book is a fun collection of Raider stories but the author fails to deliver. The book does not have the great insight that I was expecting, whats more, the writing style seems like it was edited by someone who knows nothing of football or its terminology. There does not seem to be a coherent storyline running throughout the book. It feels disjointed as though someone chopped it up and then re-organized it. Some parts are delivered chronologically and then side stories jump back and forth from the past and the future. This was not a bad book, but I would recommend picking up from the library or buying on sale second hand.