Plunkett was the best Raider QB ever.
Rich Gannon is retiring and the Raider Nation is trying to find his place in our Pantheon. The early consensus seems to be that Rich and the Snake should sit side by side at the head of the quarterback table. I assume Plunkett and Lamonica and Hoss and then- well- let's leave it at that lest I be accused of using cuss words.
Everybody has their own way of evaluating quarterbacks. There is no absolutely right way of doing so. Rather than argue that I’m right and everybody else is wrong, I’m just going to lay my way out there for consideration.
Stabler, Plunkett, and Rich Gannon each QB’d a Raider dynasty. Here’s how I’ve broken them down.
Stabler: 1973-1977 Record: 65-13-1 81% SB Rings 1
Plunkett: 1980-1985 Record: 61-28-0 69% SB Rings 2
Gannon: 2000-2002 Record: 37-18-0 67% SB Rings 0
Based on the above, for me, Plunkett is the best. SB rings count more than winning percentages. And winning percentages count way more than pass completion percentages, or interception to touchdown ratios, or whatever. But to be fair you have to ask how responsible each QB was for their dynasty. In order I’d rank them like so:
Gannon Weak team. Without him they would not have been contenders. I don’t think anyone will argue this. Gannon ran for many, many 1st downs, and constantly made great passing choices. The style of offense he ran not only put points on the board, it made up for a relatively weak defense by keeping opposing teams off the field. And he battled to make the entire team more disciplined and better prepared.
Plunkett Strong team. Without him they would have been contenders, but not champions. Marc Wilson and/or Dan Pastorini would have had the job. ‘Nuff said.
Stabler Legendary team. Without him they would have been contenders, and maybe champions. This is tough, well, impossible to prove, but I look at all the incredible players- I think of the O-line, I think of the Ghost, I think of the D-Line, I think of Tatum and – what’s the point of making a list, there are just too many great players to name. I’m not saying Stabler wasn’t great. He was. I wouldn’t trade him for anyone playing at that time, just because he WAS and IS the Raiders. But I remember Stabler snapping the ball, turning his back to the line of scrimmage, sitting down in a Lazy Boy recliner after it was carted onto the field, relaxing as he enjoyed a coffee (or a beer at the night games) and a cigarette and the funnies, and THEN getting up to look around and make a throw. To who? To one of the best tight ends, and THE best possession receiver, and one of the best burners (arguably) of all time. A lot of QBs thrive in that offense.
So we have a QB who lost a SB on a team that would not have made the playoffs without him, GANNON, vs. a QB who won a SB on a team that may have won a SB without him, STABLER, vs. a QB who won TWO Super Bowls on a team that probably would have made the playoffs but not the SB without him, PLUNKETT. So what do you get? Well, Super Bowl championships are what it is all about.
Sorry, Rich. If that SB was the best game of your career, rather than the worst game of your career, I’d say you were our best ever. But it wasn’t.
Sorry Kenny. You belong in the Hall of Fame, but you don’t belong at the head of the table.
Let me add this… My opinion on this is not set in stone, and I’d love to hear other’s opinions, either below in the comments or linked to the Raider Board, or whatever. Also, please let me know if I’m wrong on any of my numbers. I’ll make the necessary corrections.
Other Harkonnendog Raider articles (I would have many more but they stopped making stupid mistakes like those discussed below... or at least I stopped catching them):