Next up in our countdown to the Raiders' regular season opener is number 15. As has been the case for all the numbers in the teens, there haven't been a lot of players to wear it. Seven players in total, with a couple of worthy candidates.
Who wore it best: QB Tom Flores (1960-66)
When the Raiders took the field for their first ever game in 1960, it was Tom Flores who led them out at quarterback. Fitting for the Raiders that his debut made him pro football's first ever Hispanic quarterback. Flores' first couple years in Silver & Black were rough ones. He went 7-19 over those first two seasons including a 2-12 campaign in 1961. He didn't play in 1962 and returned in 1963 with new head coach Al Davis.
Success would follow, with Flores and the Raiders finishing with a winning record in three of the next four seasons. Flores' final season in Oakland was 1966 when he was named All AFL. He was then traded to Buffalo in exchange for Daryle Lamonica. Flores' 11,635 passing yards is sixth in team history.
That was his last season as a player, but by far not his last as part of the NFL. Flores returned to the Raiders as an assistant coach where he would get his second Super Bowl ring in 1977 under head coach John Madden. Madden would retire two years later and Flores would be named Raiders head coach, becoming the first ever minority NFL head coach. He would then go on to win two more Super Bowls as head coach in 1980 and 1983.
He would go on to join the Seahawks as president and general manager and later head coach as well. After which, just as he had done several times before, he returned to the Raiders, this time as an TV and radio analyst. He is currently a radio analyst for Raiders broadcasts alongside Greg Papa and Jim Plunkett.
Who's wearing it now: WR Michael Crabtree
Crabs joined the Raiders this offseason after six seasons in San Francisco. The former 10th overall pick was somewhat of a disappointment with the 49ers considering just how much potential he had coming out of college. He was infamous among Raiders fans who perceived him laughing in the green room after the team drafted Darrius Heyward-Bey as a slight against them (even if he was right to laugh). Joining the 49ers only added to the hatred Raiders fans felt for him.
He was a disappointment in that he had just one season over 1000 yard receiving in six years. Last season, he officially fell out of favor and basically rode out the season waiting to become a free agent. With his reputation for being a diva, teams weren't lining up to give him long term deals. Eventually he signed a one-year deal with the Raiders to try and prove he is worthy of getting a longer, more lucrative deal after this season.
Thus far he looks every bit as dominant as we know he is capable on the field. He routinely runs great routes and makes Raiders DB's look silly in the process. He and Derek Carr have developed great chemistry and at this point, he looks like the Raiders number one receiver with fourth overall pick Amari Cooper starting at the other receiver spot -- giving the Raiders probably their best looking receiver corps in a very long time.