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Rest in Peace
Published on August 22, 2008 By Dr Guy In Football

Gene Upshaw passed away this week.  At the not old age of 63.  Gene and Art Shell were the core of the Raider Dynasty of the 60s and 70s.  One of the players that John Madden loves to talk about, because no one else notices them - the men in the trenches.

Along with Art, a pro-bowler in his own rights and the Head Coach of the Raiders on 2 separate occassions, Gene dominated the game at this position and made the Raider left side an impenetrable wall to opposing players.  Gene won 2 Superbowl rings as well.

But more than just his outstanding play on the field, Gene was always a great man.  He never suffered from the "swelled head" syndrome that so many sports stars get, he was your average man to the day he died.  After his playing career, he became head of the NFLPA.  Whether you are an owner or player, no one is going to dispute that Gene was as great a head in his post playing days as he was a player on the field.  He turned football on its head and made sure the players got a big portion of the revenue.  That was the way he approached life.  Never do a job half assed.

I came of age watching him, Art and Jim Otto (Center) take the Raiders to the championship almost every year.  Cheering them on, crying when they were robbed, and rejoicing when they claimed their rightful Superbowl rings.  To me, the Raiders were never "Broadway Joes", but instead the men in the trenches.  The ones that could make any runner gain 5 yards because there was no oppostion to tackle them until they were in the backfield.

I am going to miss him.  But more so than that, his passing means that another one of my heros has moved on.  I am still a Raider Fan, but it just does not seem the same without Gene around.  At least now God has the starting Left guard on his team.

Rest in Peace Gene.  And thank you for all the memories.


Comments
on Aug 22, 2008

Well done, Doc.  You beat me to it.  I, too, rode that roller coaster dynasty based in Cardiac Collesium.  We used to call him "Hiway 63" because he paved the way for so many running backs as well as allowing "The Snake" to have time for that "veritcal game" that Mr Davis was so fond of.  I got a year or two on ya, Doc, but I wasn't too old to have a hero or two in the silver and black.  Here's to them and those like them, damn few of them left.

on Aug 23, 2008

Here's to them and those like them, damn few of them left.

Amen!  And thanks for being one of the reminiscers.

on Sep 03, 2008

From NFL News Ezine - This is nice.

NFL honors Upshaw at all 32 games  

The NFL will honor the late Gene Upshaw with his initials and  
his uniform number stenciled on the field for all 16 games  
this opening weekend. The league had announced that all NFL  
players would wear a patch all season with the initials "GU"  
and the number 63, his former uniform number to honor the Hall  
of Fame guard and longtime union leader, who died two weeks ago.  
It originally announced they also would be stenciled on the  
field for the season opener at Giants Stadium between the  
Redskins and Giants and for the Denver-Oakland game at Oakland,  
where Upshaw played his entire 15 seasons. It extended that  
Tuesday to all games. A video tribute to Upshaw will also be  
shown.  

on Sep 04, 2008

Hadn't heard that...that is nice.  Haven't been paying much attention to anything this week.  The Swirling Epicenter is closely aligned with The Mile High City when it comes to football and this is Raider Week.  For me there are only two games that matter each season.  Both the games against Broncos.  If we only go 2 and 14 this season, please let the two be against Mile high.

on Sep 04, 2008

If we only go 2 and 14 this season, please let the two be against Mile high.

Living where I do, while I do see those games as big ones, a couple of years ago, there were a couple of bigger ones.  This is Redskin country, so you can imagine my extreme joy (and of course ostrasizing) after SB XVIII.  And 2 years ago, the Raiders went 4 and 12 again - but 2 of the wins were against the Redskins and Cowboys!  My season was made!

on Sep 04, 2008

My season was made!

I know whatcha mean...that Super Bowl, btw, was one of my favorites.  The sports "experts" didn't give the Raiders a chance.  And in the interviews on press day, one of the interviewers pointed out that the Raiders were a perfect contrast to the Skins, the Raiders were out on the town, casual dress, no particular restrictions and pretty open access by the press.  The Skins were ruled up, coat and tie, curfews and limited press interaction.  He asked Alzado why he thought they were so quiet, Alzado looked over at the other side where the Skins were having their interviews and said, "Maybe they're scared."  One of my all time favorite Raiderisms.

on Sep 04, 2008

"Maybe they're scared." One of my all time favorite Raiderisms.

Yea, I miss Lyle as well.  I got his autographed picture when he did some promos for the company I was working for.  My Boss came up to me one day (we did kid a lot) and said "Guy - dont get too excited - but Lyle Alzado is in the building".

I did not believe him until a different person came over and told me as well!

on Sep 05, 2008

Lyle was a great Bronco but he really came into his own when Reeves decided he was past it and let him go...he was pure Raider at heart.  Like too many of his generation, though, came to a much too early end.

on Sep 06, 2008

came to a much too early end.

Yea, Steroids. 

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