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Badasses: The Legend of Snake, Foo, Dr. Death, and John Madden's Oakland Raiders Hardcover – September 14, 2010
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*Starred Review* The black-and-silver uniforms hinted at lawlessness or, at minimum, football noir. The roster was populated by renegades overlooked or passed on by other teams. They had more attitude on one team than today’s sanitized NFL has in total. They were the Oakland Raiders of the 1970s. Under head coach John Madden, they won seven division titles, one conference title, and one Super Bowl. It was an amazing, successful, and stylish run. The Raiders’ legacy is excellence enhanced by personality. When Stickum was allowed on receivers’ hands, Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff used so much he had to have his mates pry his fingers apart in the huddle and hold his cigarettes to his lips at halftime. Quarterback Ken Stabler felt there was nothing wrong with studying the playbook by the light of the jukebox. Through interviews with primary and secondary sources, sports journalist Richmond captures the attitude and, more importantly, the love of the physical nature of football that drove the Raiders. The book is a celebration of the freewheeling NFL that created the multibillion dollar industry it is today. It will also expose the blandness of the pro football we currently watch. These Raiders are legends. Today’s players are forgettable pixels on the NFL logo. Read it and weep. --Wes Lukowsky
“No NFL team ever strutted any better on the dark side than the Oakland Raiders of the 1970s. In Badasses, Peter Richmond chronicles the treacheries, debauchery, and yes, the winning, with appropriate literary gusto. Lock the doors, close the windows, send the kids to bed before reading.” (Leigh Montville, author of Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero)
“I always thought the Raiders were bad, but I never realized how bad -- and how good - until I read Peter Richmond’s smart, funny, rowdy tale.” (Robert Lipsyte, former NEW YORK TIMES columnist and author of CENTER FIELD)
“Once upon a time, there lived a band of larger-than-life misfits who lorded over the NFL. Dirtbags! Castoffs! Has-beens! Deviants! You name ‘em, John Madden’s Raiders had ‘em. And, thanks to Richmond’s tireless reporting and vibrant prose, so does Badasses.” (Jeff Pearlman, New York Times bestselling author of Boys Will Be Boys: The Glory Days and Party Nights of the Dallas Cowboys Dynasty)
“Richmond’s book is a treasure trove of uproarious anecdotes skillfully woven into a seasonal chronicle spiced with sharp player profiles...This rollicking read reminds us that football is a game that’s meant to be played hard—and to be fun.” (Library Journal)
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The author chronicled how the Raiders evolved from coming close to eventually beating the Steelers and winning a Super Bowl.
The personnel changes were discussed and some of the players participated with interviews.
Monte Johnson tells about something he saw on film with the Vikings goal line offense. There was a lot of material about Kenny Stabler, the defensive backs and linebackers- especially Phil Villipiano.
This book does not go into much off-the-field detail like Stabler's book "Snake" does.
It's an interesting book and there is some Raider organizational history in it. For that I give it 4 stars.
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.
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.