Raiders have now seen three members of one of the great OL’s in NFL history pass away

Between 1978 and 1982 the four quarterbacks who started games for the Raiders (Ken Stabler, Jim Plunkett, Marc Wilson & Dan Pastorini) had very little to worry about and running backs like Mark van Eeghen and Marcus Allen had plenty of running room on running plays.

The reason?

The interior of the Raiders offensive line, the heartbeat of a football team possessed three stars that sadly are not longer with us.  To the younger generation of fans only one of these names is likely well known but these three giants dominated the football field and helped Oakland to many victories during that time span.  They even started four straight postseason games in 1980, including two road games and a victory in Super Bowl XV.  For an entire generation of Raider fans these three men were consistent faces over the course of five year span that gave the team both leadership and all-pro level skill.

Who were these three men?

When Mickey Marvin passed away as a result of ALS on Monday, March 6, 2021 the last of this group passed away.  Sadly, the deaths of Gene Upshaw and Dave Dalby were also the result of tragedy.  Upshaw died on August 20, 2020 as a result of pancreatic cancer and Dalby passed away as a result of a car accident on August 30, 2002.  It was later ruled that Dalby’s death was a suicide.  Marvin was only 61 when he died, Dalby was just 51 and Upshaw passed away at the age of 63.  That may sound old but when you consider that the average American male lives well into his 80s, one has to think that these men had many more years ahead of them.  

Before closing it should be noted that these three men combined for:

  • 542 career games as Raiders, 450 starts.

  • All three were Raider draft picks.

  • 8 Super Bowl appearances, 7 Super Bowl victories

  • 8 Pro Bowls

  • 60 playoff games with 52 starts

  • In 1982, Marcus Allen won Rookie of the Year honors behind their blocking.

  • In 1980, Jim Plunkett won Comeback Player of the Year honors behind their blocking and he also was awarded the MVP in Super Bowl XV.

  • In the five years that they were together, the Raiders never posted a losing regular season record.

Perhaps the greatest statistic that these guys put together is not the playoff games or the result of Super Bowl wins.  These three guys played 40 combined seasons in the NFL and all 40 were as a member of the Raiders franchise!

Another big part of Raider history is gone and we must remember these men alongside all the greats who ever wore the silver and black.

They were Raiders and as Al Davis once said:

“Once a Raider, Always a Raider.”

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