It’s game day! Well, preseason game day. Which means there’s real football to watch, it just doesn’t count in the win/loss total. Those games are 15 days away. Speaking of 15, let’s take a look at the man sporting the number 15 in Oakland right now.
Who's wearing it now: WR Michael Crabtree
Crabs joined the Raiders in 2015 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.
With just one 1000-yard season (1105 in 2012) in six years and a reputation for being a diva, teams weren't lining up to give him to a long term free agent deal. Eventually he signed a one-year deal with the Raiders and midway through that season had already signed a long term extension.
Last year Crabtree surpassed 1000 yards for just the second time in his career, surpassing what was his second best season in 2015 (922). He is Derek Carr’s favorite red zone target for his ability to win battles for the ball against most any cornerback. That trust and chemistry with Carr, yield Crab a career best 9 touchdowns in 2015 followed by 8 touchdowns in 2016.
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.
Some would also argue that for his coaching days Flores is the Raiders most glaring omission from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.