Special Teams units can often be overlooked, but they are crucial to a team’s success as winning the battle for field position can often be the difference between a victory or loss. Because of this, Rick Gosselin of Talk of Fame Sports Network created an All-Time Special Teams Unit, and the Raiders were well-represented with four players making the list.
Raiders legends Ray Guy and Shane Lechler unsurprisingly were the punters selected for the first and second team. They are widely considered to be the greatest players at their position in NFL history.
As the only pure punter in the NFL Hall of Fame, Ray Guy was selected to the NFL’s 75th anniversary team after an illustrious 13-year career featuring seven trips to the Pro Bowl. He was also the first punter to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, and he easily proved he was worthy of the pick.
Shane Lechler was the second great punter to don a Raiders uniform. He has been named to seven Pro Bowls, and is the NFL’s all-time leader in career punting average. He is expected to join Ray Guy in Canton when his career is finished.
The other two members of the Silver & Black to make Gosselin’s list are probably often overlooked for their special teams prowess. Both made First team kick blockers.
First up is Hall of Fame outside linebacker Ted Hendricks. The Mad Stork holds the NFL record for most blocked kicks with 25.
Hendricks was 6-7, 220 pounds and used his length to great advantage on kicking downs. The Mad Stork is credited with blocking an NFL-record 25 kicks, including a staggering seven in one season with the Packers in 1974 – 3 field goals, 3 punts and an extra point.
The other is four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Albert Lewis. While Lewis recorded 42 career interceptions as a defensive back, he is also credited with 12 blocked kicks. He joins Guy and Hendricks as members of the first-team All-Time Special Teams unit.
Lewis blocked 12 kicks – 11 punts and a field goal. He blocked four punts in 1986 and four more in 1990. His final block in 1986 came in an AFC wild-card playoff game against the Jets. He blocked a Dave Jennings punt, and the ball sailed high into the air 40 yards backwards, where Lewis fell on it in the end zone for a touchdown. He also blocked a Seattle punt in 1993 and recovered it in the end zone for his second career TD. Put on the tape, and Lewis always looked like he was offside. He’d be the only player moving. That’s because he was going (legally) on the center hitch, not the snap.
Oakland has seen it’s fair share of star players, but those that contributed on Special Teams can easily be forgotten. Gosselin’s list gives them well-deserved recognition and serves as a reminder of how dominant these Raiders were.