With 12 days until the Raiders 2015 regular season opener, we reach a number that has a couple of Raider legends to have worn it. But as has often been the case in this series, I have to pick just one.
Who wore it best: QB Ken Stabler (1970-79)
While "The Snake" was at the helm of the Raiders, they rarely lost. He had a career record of 69-26. In his seven seasons as the fulltime starter in Oakland, he took them to the playoffs six times with a playoff record of 7-5 and a Super Bowl win. In that Super Bowl run, everyone knew the bigger game was the 24-7 win over the Steelers in the AFC Championship game. It's a big reason Al Davis had the score of that game engraved on the Super Bowl rings.
His head coach John Madden said of Stabler "He was probably involved in more games that have names than anyone." Games like The Sea of Hands, Ghost to the Post, Holy Roller, and Immaculate Reception all involved Ken Stabler heroics.
Stabler defined an era of football and a launched a dynasty in Oakland. He is an icon of the NFL and was beloved by all who played with him or most anyone who knew him off the field.
Recently it was announced that he is a Senior Committee nominee for the 2016 Hall of Fame class. Senior Comittee nominees almost always make it (Ray Guy for example). It's just too bad Stabler is not alive to see it. He deserved to be.
Who's wearing it now: WR Brice Butler
This 2013 seventh round pick out of San Diego State came on strong in last year's training camp and preseason. Butler's improvement from his rookie season was apparent and he earned a spot on the wide receiver rotation in the regular season. Though he never quite received the level of attention in the offense many had expected with 35 targets and 21 catches for 280 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The 6-3, 215-pound receiver has a team leading 11 catches for 113 yards and a touchdown this preseason with one game left. He also led the team in every receiving category last preseason with 13 catches for 206 yards and 4 touchdowns.
With Andre Holmes out with a broken hand, Butler has been in a battle with Rod Streater and Seth Roberts for playing time behind starters Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper. Butler again looks to make a strong contribution this season.