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In Memoriam: Jim Otto




Jim Otto was an original Raider. Taken out of Miami in 1960, he was an underdog from the start but quickly adapted to his environment by bulking up to 255 pounds. even his jersey number suggested "underdog". But in the years to come, old "Double Zero" would make a name for himself across all of pro football, not just the upstart AFL.


Starting every game for the Raiders from their inaugural season through the 1974 AFC Championship Game loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, he shined brightest on a team that was still trying to find its way, earning first-team All-AFL in nine of his ten seasons in the now-defunct league and transitioning seamlessly to the NFL after the two leagues merged in 1970 as he went to three straight Pro Bowls to begin his time in the NFL.


By then Otto was joined on the offensive line with two other future Hall of Famers in left tackle Art Shell and left guard Gene Upshaw. Behind their blocking, the Raiders rumbled their way to a lifetime's worth of great and painful moments in the playoffs.



Moments such as the "Immaculate Reception" and the "Sea of Hands". But no matter how great his teams were, Jim Otto never could get over the hump and deliver his Raiders their long-sought Super Bowl. Whether it was losing to the dynastic Dolphins and Steelers in the AFC Championship or losing to Vince Lombardi's last Packers squad in Super Bowl II, it always seemed to be someone else's moment, never the Raiders'.


Still, Jim Otto persevered and his feet never seemed to stop moving as he went up against bigger and meaner men every single play. It was this level of dedication to his craft that landed him in Canton, Ohio in the summer of 1980. It was only when his playing career ended that he began to realize the physical toll that the game had inflicted on his body. In total, he needed 74 surgeries and a leg amputation to live a normal life after football. He never complained. He knew the risks.


Jim Otto died on May 19, 2024. He was 86.

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