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Angry Pope

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The Ultimate Technician

July 21, 2006


As legendary Raiders head coach John Madden prepares to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday, August 5th, we present a look back at the 16 proud members of the Silver and Black who have previously earned such distinction. We continue with Raiders wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff, who was enshrined in 1988.

Over the 14 years of his career, the next Raiders Hall of Fame selectee, Fred Biletnikoff, caught 589 passes for 8,974 yards and 76 touchdowns. Selected in the second round of the 1965 NFL draft out of Florida State, Biletnikoff rose to Pro Bowl status at wide receiver, making the trip four times.

Biletnikoff's post-season play was also as impressive, as he caught 70 passes for 1,167 yards and 10 touchdowns in playoff games. His talents at wide receiver helped guide the Raiders to three AFL title games, five AFC championship games, Super Bowl II and Super Bowl XI, and was named Super Bowl XI MVP, hauling in four catches for 79 yards.

Biletnikoff shares the NFL record of 10 straight seasons with 40 or more receptions (1967-76), was the Raiders leading receiver for six consecutive seasons (1968-73), led the NFL in receiving with 61 catches in 1971, led the AFC in catches with 58 in 1972, became All-AFL in 1969 and All-AFC in 1970, 1972 and 1973. He played in 190 games over 14 seasons had 21 100-yard receiving games, four 100-yard receiving games in the playoffs all while never playing in a losing season with the Raiders.

Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988, the Raiders franchise's second all-time leading receiver with 598 career catches, deserved such a high honor. His tremendous play at wide receiver lead him to have an award named after him, the Biletnikoff Award, which is given each year to the nation's most outstanding college receiver and was won in 1997 by current Raider receiver Randy Moss.

His retirement in 1978 ended his playing career with the Raiders, but that did not stop him from contributing to the team. He rejoined the staff in 1989 as the wide receivers coach until 1994, then handled quality control from 1995-96, and returned to his duties as receivers coach in 1997, where he currently is today, teaching young receivers how to establish Hall of Fame credentials.
 
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