(Photo courtesy of Jacksonville Jaguars)
Talk of Fame Network
This week The Talk of Fame Network continues its series on the NFL’s Greatest Rivalries and adds a weekly interview segment with one of the 25 Hall of Fame semi-finalists. And the Hall-of-Fame guys begin this week with two of the best of each: The Raiders-Chiefs rivalry and the Jacksonville Jaguars’ greatest player, five-time Pro Bowl left tackle Tony Boselli.
A member of the 1990s' all-decade team, Boselli somehow has never made the Hall’s list of semi-finalists until now, 14 years after a shoulder injury cut his career short after seven seasons. That lack of longevity probably hurt Boselli’s candidacy, but his credentials are impeccable. Although he has waited until now to get this close, Boselli has only one regret about his career.
“You block a guy for 60 or 70 snaps, and all anyone’s going to remember is the one time he beat you,’’ Boselli said of the offensive lineman’s fate. “Then the guy is probably going to end up dancing the one time he does beat you. A lot of times I thought every time I block the guy and knock him down, I’m going to dance over him. But I never did.’’
If he had, he would have been exhausted by halftime.
Also visiting your Hall-of-Fame hosts Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge this week are old-school rivals Bobby Bell of the Kansas City Chiefs and Art Shell of the Oakland Raiders.
Both Hall of Famers, battling each other for over a decade in one of the fiercest rivalries in NFL history. The twice-a-year slugfest between two teams is a series that began in the AFL but exploded the first time they met in an NFL game.
That was on Nov. 1, 1970, the first year after the AFL-NFL merger. That afternoon the Chiefs led, 17-14, late in the game when Raiders’ defensive end Ben Davidson speared Chiefs’ quarterback Len Dawson with his helmet. That caused Kansas City wide receiver Otis Taylor to go after Davidson and a benches-clearing brawl ensued, one that Bell and Shell have slightly different recollections of.
“I was on the sideline watching,’’ Shell, one of the game’s greatest left tackles, claimed. “A lot of guys were on the field, punching and kicking. When it was over, Ben came out with a smile. He enjoyed that stuff.’’
Bell, the first outside linebacker enshrined in the Hall, wasn’t convinced of Shell’s innocence. But he vividly recalled one of his favorite moments against the Raiders. It came not on the field but in the parking lot outside the Oakland Coliseum.
“There was something about the Raiders,’’ Bell said of the emotional connection between the two teams. “I don’t know why. I’ll put it on Al (Davis, the Raiders’ devious Hall of Fame owner).
“They figured they were going back to the Super Bowl (IV after losing to the Packers in Super Bowl II). The Raiders had beaten us twice that year, but we shut them down (to win the AFC title and go on to defeat the Vikings in Super Bowl IV)…Coach (Hank) Stram found out Al Davis told them to bring their suitcases (to the Coliseum). They were going right to New Orleans (for the Super Bowl immediately after the AFC championship game with the Chiefs). Hank wouldn’t let the bus leave. He wanted us to see them with their suitcases (leaving the stadium parking lot).’’
Bell cackled at the memory, but neither found their rivalry a laughing matter.
“When you win a lot, hatred grows,’’ said Shell, whose Raiders went 24-13-2 against the Chiefs in the 1970s and 1980s. “We believed we were better than the Chiefs (but) it was always a competitive situation between the two organizations.’’
And a heated one.
“I don’t hate them, really’’ Bell said, laughing hatefully. “As long as I don’t have my uniform on and the Raiders don’t have theirs on. Then it’s a different story.’’
This week’s show is packed with different stories, including a debate over whether the Brock Osweiler era began in Denver last weekend at the Patriots’ expense and why the Matt Hasselbeck era, long thought to be over, has arisen anew in Indianapolis, where he’s 4-0 as a starter in relief of injured Andrew Luck.
Rick states the Hall-of-Fame case for one of this year’s semi-finalists, former Dallas Cowboys’ coach Jimmy Johnson, and offers a suggestion to get more players like Boselli closer to becoming Hall of Fame finalists. You’ll find his suggestion and the debate between these three Hall of Fame voters illuminating.
This being the 55th anniversary of the opening of the play “Camelot’’ on Broadway, the guys thought they’d offer up their personal NFL Camelot throughout history. The Raiders of the ‘70s, the Niners of the ‘80s and watching Peyton Manning all make the cut.
There’s plenty more where that came from during the weekly two-hour roundtable. You can hear it all on over 80 radio stations around the country, by using the TuneIn app, listening to the iTunes podcast or going to talkoffamenetwork.com and listening on your computer.