Badasses: The Legend of Snake, Foo, Dr. Death, and John by Peter Richmond

By Peter Richmond

A booklet that explores the long-lasting legends of Snake, Foo, Dr. demise, and John Madden’s Oakland Raiders, Badasses is the definitive biography of arguably the final staff to play outdated tough-guy soccer. Peter Richmond, co-author of the New York occasions bestseller The Glory Game, bargains a desirable examine the Seventies Oakland Raiders, led by way of colourful greats from one other period: Ken Stabler, Willie Brown, Gene Upshaw, Jim Otto, artwork Shell, head trainer John Madden, and proprietor Al Davis. within the bestselling vein of Boys can be Boys, Badasses chronicles the bar-room exploits, practice-field pranks, and tremendous Bowl glories of the team’s many misfits, cast-offs, psychos, and geniuses of the game.

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Sample text

Something would have happened. —beloved Art Rooney, 71-year-old, cigar-smoking NFL patriarch Art Rooney—didn’t even see the play. Before fourth down, he’d put out his cigar and left his private box early. It was Rooney’s custom to visit after losses, but not after victories, lest he take away from attention that belonged to his team. He was standing next to the elevator, listening to the roar of the crowd and wondering what had happened, when a guard ran up to tell him he’d won. When he got to the locker room, it was empty save a couple of trainers.

In the Badass Raiders, I saw a vestige of the wildly anarchic good times of the ’60s grafted onto a team playing the dark sport that had entranced me since childhood. Sunday afternoons and Monday nights, my Raiders gave every rebel a cause, assured us that being out of the ordinary could be a guiding philosophy of life. On one level, the game of football is structured and symmetrical; there is no room for tactical error. But reduced to its essence—its eidos, if we’re still dwelling in ancient Greece, where shoulder-length-haired Spartan phalanxes marched against each other, dueling and killing at an ancient line of scrimmage—isn’t this game nothing but loosely structured, balletic mayhem?

Could history judge a collection of weirdly intelligent, proudly individualistic, seamlessly bonded men as something more than just another great sports team? Could they be heroes? That was the thought that hit me one day. So I ran it by a random Raider from the era—the first Raider I talked to, actually. I asked him whether we could think of the ’70s Raiders as heroic, in the you’ll-be-hearing-about-them-a-thousand-years-from-now sense. The answer wasn’t exactly what I expected. “You have to go to the Greeks to get the appropriate conception,” said defensive lineman Pat Toomay.

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