One of the most popular football teams in the history of the National Football League is the Oakland Raiders. While it is true that the Raiders have suffered through some tough times of late, they continue to have tons of fans from all corners of the country. When it comes to popularity and the sport of football, few players are more popular than the quarterback. So, who then is the best quarterback the Oakland Raiders have ever had?
When analyzing who is the best in any category, there is a great deal of subjectiveness that comes into play. Is the best quarterback the one who has led the team to the most championships? Is the best quarterback the one who has thrown for more touchdowns than anyone else in team history? Or, is the best quarterback the one who has kept the starting position for the most years?
Jim Plunkett was not drafted by the Raiders and failed somewhat as a starter for the New England Patriots and then the San Francisco 49ers before coming to Oakland in the late 1970s and leading the team to two Super Bowl victories.
Rich Gannon only played for the Raiders for six seasons, but in that time he threw for the second most yards in team history with a total of 17,585. That is an average of over 2,900 yards a season. Gannon actually only started at quarterback for the Raiders for four full seasons and in those years he threw for 15,787 yards which is an average of just under 4,000 yards per year. In addition to this, he also averaged almost twenty touchdowns a season and made the pro bowl four times, as well as was named the 2002 NFL MVP.
Only one player has thrown for more touchdowns in an Oakland Raiders uniform than Daryle Lamonica. Lamonica was the first big name quarterback that the Raiders had and he is still held in high regard. As a starting quarterback, Lamonica’s record was 62-16-6. He twice led the AFL in touchdown passes and once led the league in passing yardage. Daryle Lamonica would go on to be named the UPI Player of the Year twice, first in 1967 and then again two years later in 1969.
The best quarterback in Oakland Raiders history though is also one of the most popular players in team history. Ken Stabler has thrown for more yards and touchdowns than any other Oakland Raiders player in history. Nicknamed “The Snake” for his ability to scramble and avoid getting sacked, Stabler would play for the Raiders for ten seasons, seven of them as the primary starting quarterback. He would lead the league in touchdown passes on two occasions, be named the 1974 NFL MVP, play in four Pro Bowls, and lead the Raiders to a Super Bowl victory following the 1976 NFL season.
The Oakland Raiders have long been known as a team that loves to throw the ball. They have fielded some great quarterbacks over the years, and even some of the ones who only had a brief stay with the team like Jeff George, Kerry Collins, Jay Schroeder, Jeff Hostetler, and Steve Beuerlein still managed to put up great passing numbers. The best quarterback of them all though was Kenny “The Snake” Stabler who helped make the Raiders one of the best teams in the National Football Language during the whole decade of the 1970s.