Badasses The Legend of Snake, Foo, Dr. Death, and John Madden's Oakland Raiders
Author Peter Richmond
Narrated by Barry Abrams
Publication date Feb 7, 2017
Running time 12 hrs 27 min
Great football. Great teams. Great rivalries. Rivalries between teams, not individuals or coaches. Football for the sake of football, not for the obscene amount of money the owners and the NFL make or the outrageous amounts the individual players can make by jumping teams every time the cash register rings up a higher amount. “Ken Stabler put it, ‘you played for the name on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back” This is the era the greatest Badasses of all time, John Madden’s Oakland Raiders, played in. The story, the characters (and what characters they were) and the atmosphere that created the Badass Raiders is told in loving detail by Peter Richmond, a lifelong Raiders fan.
There were so many unusual aspects of the Badass Raiders, the players who crashed on other teams but bloomed on the Raiders, an owner and head coach who were called by their first names, their larger than life personas on and off the field and most surprising of all the high percentage of very intelligent men with degrees in challenging majors from prestigious schools like Stanford. Yet they all created the perfect storm to create one of the best teams in the history of football. While Madden’s Raiders had one Super Bowl Ring, their winning percentages were higher than any other team of the era.
The first Super Bowl I remember watching was the 1977 Raiders vs. Vikings. My dad and I watched several Raiders games that year and I was captured by the Raider’s quarterback, Ken “The Snake” Stabler. The nickname “Snake” came from his ability to scramble long before it Wilson and Kaepernick were even conceived, literally. On August 17, 1980, I was in Houston for a week. I had the opportunity to see a preseason game between the now defunct Houston Oilers and the New Orleans Saints. The Oilers won 20 to 17 that day. I can remember nothing of that day except watching Stabler move. He was in the last five years of his career but the man was still the Snake.
Barry Abrams narrates Badasses with the joy of a football fan. He does a great job with various accents, from Al Davis’s Brooklyn tinged speech to the mellowed Alabama tones of Stabler. Abrams keeps the narration at pace with the writing. It is never monotone or over the top. The production quality is excellent.
I highly recommend Badasses. It is a much a joy to read as it probably was for the Badass Raiders to play. “As tight end Bob Moore, a Stanford guy, put it to me, summing up his Raiders years, ‘Seven days a week, it was as much fun as a human being could have and still stay alive.’”