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Flags at half-mast in the Raider Nation: Jack Tatum dies at 61

For most of the old guard, he was the sign of a true football giant. A man who just by appearance on the football field would cause the opposing team to rethink how often it would throw into his zone.

Jack Tatum, was simply dominant.

What he lacked in size, he made up in vicious hits, fierce hits and bodies left where they would lie. Passes over the middle, a player eiher had to pray that the ground was soft, or that they would get a second or two, to brace before the bone-jarring impact would come in.

Some of Jack's greatest hits, were on the biggest stages, too.

Many remember the hit he put on Sammy White during the Super Bowl run, with him standing over the crunched player. Simply put, you could caption the play, "ouch" and it would say it all.

Other times, people would only remember his hit on Daryl Stingley, which left a man paralyzed. Fateful, that one hit that any player could have made, would be the one everyone remembers.

Part of me wonders, if this would have happened with a Steelers player, would there have been such a fuss?

Doubtful. This was the day when the Steelers could do no wrong, but the Raiders, the evil empire, was always in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Jack's career, would suffer after that, until he retired after the 1980 season.

Ironically, that 1980 season wasn't played in Oakland...he was with the Houston Oilers, and had his best season for interceptions.

The nation yesterday lowered flags to half-mast, in respect for this warrior, known as "the Assassin", but for many, his legend lives on. Be it in players who wish to follow in his footsteps, or for the rules the league has changed...Jack was the hardest hitter, period.

All I hope for, is that the Raiders offer a fitting tribute for Jack, either another patch, similar to the GU for Gene Upshaw, or a marker in the End Zone, for the Black Hole to view.

And lastly, for the NFL to get over this sham of a critical look at Jack Tatum...and put him in the Hall of Fame.


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