by Brett Halpern, Esq.
Perhaps the player that most personified the mystique surrounding the vaunted Oakland Raiders of the 60s and 70s has died. NFL.com is reporting that Jack Tatum, the former safety of the Oakland Raiders, has passed away at the age of 61.
Over the years, Tatum's hitting prowess has been elevated to legendary status. The former two-time collegiate All-American at Ohio State played nine years with the Oakland Raiders (1971-1979) followed by one year with the Houston Oilers in 1980.
Interestingly enough, Tatum's two most famous hits cover the entire spectrum of emotion that can be generated from a tremendous hit. First, in Super Bowl XI, Tatum delivered a memorable blow against Minnesota WR Sammy White, blasting White's helmet off and causing White's chinstrap to go flying in the air. Tatum's other most memorable is known more for its tragic consequences, as Tatum once delivered a blow to New England Patriot Daryl Stingley that resulted in Stingley's paralysis. Stingley eventually died in 2007 due to complications arising from his condition.
Tatum will be remebered for his contributions in cultivating the Raider mystique that, though perhaps somewhat tarnished due to the franchise's recent struggles, remains a vibrant fixture in the culture and history surrounding the NFL.