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Discussion in 'Oakland Raiders' started by Menelik, Jul 27, 2010.
The guy could hit.
Does anyone know anything about his life recently, or in the last twenty years or so?
I know very little about him but I was surprised to learn that he grew up in the town next to me, Passaic.
After being released by the Oilers after the 1980 season, Tatum retired. After his playing career ended, Tatum became a land developer and moved into the real-estate business becoming a part-owner of a restaurant in Pittsburg, California. Tatum also married, and had three children. He wrote three best-selling books, They Call Me Assassin in 1980, They Still Call Me Assassin in 1989, and Final Confessions of NFL Assassin Jack Tatum in 1996. Tatum would eventually face his own disability as all five toes on his left foot were amputated in 2003 due to a staph infection caused by diabetes Tatum also suffered from an arterial blockage that cost him his right leg (he used a prosthetic limb thereafter). Tatum worked in increasing awareness of diabetes. To facilitate this goal, he created the Ohio-based Jack Tatum Fund for Youthful Diabetes, which finances diabetes research. He also served as co-chair of an annual fundraiser for the Central Ohio Diabetes Association, Celebrities for Diabetes, which is held during the week of The Ohio State-Michigan game in Columbus, Ohio.
Edited by: DixieDestroyer
While watching Tatum deliver a hit over the middle was a thing to see. His braggadocio was too much for me to handle as he never seemed to get out of character. It seems like the braggart Black player evolved from mean defensive backs that played in the 60's through 70's. Johnny Sample, Fred the Hammer Williamson and Tatum all talked the talked and tried to walk the walk. I will never understand why Tatum never even visited Stingley after he crippled him. I really don't think Stingley or his family would have had malice towards Tatum as the hit was a legal hit at the time. Aside from the Stingley the biggest hit I remember him for was the hit he put on a Viking receiver(it might have been Ahmad (Micheal)Rashad) late in Superbowl X.
It was Sammy White in Super bowl XI.
Tatum was a badass, someone to genuinely fear if you were a receiver. No preening or braggadocio (at least that I recall), just a mean player who hit as hard as he could.
I believeTatum was one of the players Chuck Noll was referring to when he mentioned a "criminal element" being on the Raiders, a remark he was sued for. Those were two teams that genuinely hated each other in the '70s and were out for blood when they played. Today's rivalries are quite tame (more theatrics than reality) by comparison. Edited by: Don Wassall
After the 1976 season opener, in which Raider strong safety George Atkinson hit Lynn Swann in the back of the neck, Chuck Noll called the Raiders part of the "criminal element" in the NFL. Whereupon, Atkinson sued Noll for slander.
At the trial, HOF WR Lance Alworth testified for Atkinson and the Raiders, saying in effect, "I got hit like that all the time. It was part of the game."
When Chuck Noll testified, Atkinson's attorney showed films of the Steelers (Greene, Blount, Shell, Lambert, etc) delivering cheap shot after cheap shot. Noll was forced to admit that if there was a criminal element, his Steelers were part of it.
Mel Blount then sued Noll, his own coach. "Noll called me a criminal," Blount said. As I recall, Atkinson didn't win any damages from Noll and Blount's suit was forgotten (I believe).
I welcome comment from someone who has more precise details of this lawsuit.
It's been said on this Forum that today's defensive players hit white skill position players more aggresively than blacks. This wasn't true in the 60s and 70s. The Raider DB's hit black and white receivers just as hard.
You wonder if pro football was "colorblind" then in a way it isn't now.
Thanks for the information on that, SH. There's no question that the Steelers also played just as rough as the Raiders. Joe Greene was probably the worst offender; kicking and punching were part of his game. One play I still remember is when he sucker-punched Paul Howard (white) of the Broncos in the stomach during a playoff game; I think it wasafter the '77 regular season. He also spit in the face of Pat Livingston, a gentleman who was Pittsburgh's best known sports writer at the time and was then in his 50s or 60s. Greene was an anti-white militant his first eight or so years in the league, before mellowing and now having the image of a big old teddy bear.
But I do think the nastiness as a whole was more color blind then than it is now, likely because the league was more balanced racially; whites still were "allowed" to play all positions and rosters overall were much whiter than what took hold in the '80s.Edited by: Don Wassall
Tatum definitely laid out the wreckage on the gridiron. Not on Butkus' level (but VERY few are/were), but still a heavy hitter...
Most Fearred Tackler # 5 - Jack Tatum
***Here's another big hit player who should be in Canton...
Bad@$$ "Mad-dog" Mike Curtis
Pro Bowls: 1968, 1970, 1971, 1974
Honors: AP 1st Team All-Pro (1968, 1969)
Pro Football Weekly, PFWA and UPI 1st Team All-Pro (1968)
NEA 2nd Team All-Pro (1968)
The Sporting News 2nd Team All-Pro (1969)
UPI All-AFC 2nd Team (1970, 1971, 1974) 1970 NFL 101 AFC Defensive Player of the Year
Edited by: DixieDestroyer
Yes many of the locker room leaders were older White players who were old school and didn't put up with idiotic behaviour. Even the Black players that were older were old school and probably remembered when they had to mind their p's and q's and didn't put up with much from younger loud mouth types.
I didn't see it on the field beyond a warrior scream. But in his books he might as well have been a character from Mad Max. I also feel that he should be in the hall. But they are a few White safeties from his era that you could argue could be members too. Edited by: white is right
I use to be a huge Steeler fan in the 70's as a little kid, even prior to their 1st Super Bowl. Without a doubt, the Raiders always seemed to be the Steelers' most difficult competition, and Tatum (I thought) was the most devastating hitter on that hard-hitting team. I don't ever remember him saying too much; he let his play do the talking. And boy did it talk, and talk big. The guy just intimidated and car-wrecked opposing players, especially the receivers. I distinctly remember the monster smash into big old Earl Campbell of the Oilers at the goal line. Tatum KNOCKED HIM OUT in a monster blow. One commentator on NFL network said you could hear the hit outside of the stadium. I don't think anybody hit Campbell any harder, and certainly not a defensive back. Heck, Campbell used to run over defensive backs like they were speed bumps, and I remember the Steelers had to gang tackle him to bring him down. Tatum just car wrecked the guy. I also distinctly remember the complete wipe-out smash of the Vikings WR in the Super Bowl. Pound-for-pound, Tatum was easily the biggest hitter from the 70's to the present.
Campbell did score a TD on the play.
In Tatum's first book he talked about all the running backs in the league and how hard he hit them. He said that he had a head on collision with Walter Payton and it was a stalemate with neither guy winning. He then said the one RB he could never get a good hit on was Larry Csonka because he ran low to the ground and warded off defenders with his elbows. He went on to say that Csonka was the one RB that pounded him and worse yet he never got a good hit on him.
I thought it was interesting that the hit on Stingley was in a preseason game. He was also only 5'10", which you don't see much anymore except for the amazing Jim Leonhard. You definitely don't see the same type of safety hitting as back in the day...Ronnie Lott, Chuck Cecil, even as recent as John Lynch. The Raiders were an interesting team with a lot of memorable players. I don't begrudge the black players of the 70s because the caste system wasn't in full effect. I could enjoy a Jack Tatum, Lester Hayes and Cliff Branch as long as there were Ted Hendricks, Phil Villipiano, Mark Van Eeghen, Fred Biletnikof, Marv Hubbard, and Ken Stablers on the roster. Edited by: icsept
Excellent post and perspective. I feel the same way. I loved the 1970's NFL and the players. "North Dallas Forty" is my favorite football film and captures professional football of that era well...the original "The Longest Yard" is my second favorite football film.
Some good anecdotal stories and memories of Tatum in this thread here. It proves that CF'ers give credit where credit is due, regardless of race, and are just asking for the same in return for White players.
icsept, Chuck Cecil was a bad ma'ma'a-jamma. One of my favorite DBs of all-time.
Chuck Cecil - AZ Bad@$$
Edited by: DixieDestroyer
Jack Tatum was what pro football was all about during the 70s era. A wonderful time to watch it seemed. Tatum must be ranked in the top 5 hitters of all time. Easy.
Classic player and terrifically brutal in many respects.
I've read he 'was never the same' mentally after Stingley.
Sounds as if he suffered the last few years from diabetes too.
I liked Tatum. For hardcore true fans, it would be difficult not to find Jack Tatum a compelling person.
Jack Tatum was a terror. To me his greatest hit on television was the brain scrambling hit on Earl Campbell who did not see it coming. It was on the goalline and Tatum made direct Helmet to Helmet contact. Both fell back from the point of impact. Earl then was able to stumble unconsciously into the end zone. Campbell probably outwieghed Jack by 25 to 30 lbs. It is a moment I still remember to this day. That collision probably caused some Brain damage on Earl later in life.
Guys, remember Doug Plank, he was also a vicious hitter for da Bears. I remember my black classmates going on for days about his hits. Yeah Borussia those were great times to watch the NFL.
I think this is true. I also think that some black players go out of their way to injure white players.
Heck, they go out of their way to hurt players on their own teams. Look at how black defensive linemen on the Vikings tried to hurt Toby Gerhart.