Jack Tatum remembered as "a true Raider warrior"

Jack Tatum, the former Raiders safety who died today at age 61, is being remembered as a fierce player on the field who was often misunderstood off the field.

“We are deeply saddened by the news of Jack Tatum’s passing,” the Raiders said in a statement. “Jack was a true Raider champion and a true Raider warrior.”

Tatum is perhaps best remembered for a hit that left Patriots receiver Darryl Stingley paralyzed — and for a seeming lack of remorse for that hit. But those who knew Tatum say that he was deeply affected by the incident.

“It was tough on him, too,” friend and former Ohio State teammate John Hicks said. “He wasn’t the same person after that. For years he was almost a recluse.”

Tatum was a named National Defensive Player of the Year in 1970, his senior season at Ohio State, and in his three college seasons the Buckeyes went 27-2 and won a national championship.

“We have lost one of our greatest Buckeyes,” current Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. “When you think of Ohio State defense, the first name that comes to mind is Jack Tatum. His loss touches every era of Ohio State players and fans.”

Tatum, a three-time Pro Bowler, played for the Raiders from 1971 to 1979, and for the Houston Oilers in 1980.

41 responses to “Jack Tatum remembered as "a true Raider warrior"

  1. People don’t realize that he tried to visit him the same week of the game, but was turned back by the family.

  2. There is a special place in hell for Jack Tatum.
    You may now finally rest in peace Darryl Stingley.

  3. Mike Florio, is it possible for you to link the podcast from 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston?? Felger and Mazz did an interview with former Patriot QB Steve Grogan on Tatum’s one way ticket to hell today.
    All I can say is “WOW”!

  4. First of all I can not stand the Raiders, but Tatum was just playing hard nosed football on that unfortunate day. If Tatum ever did try to speak with Stingley, that would have been the sportsman and humanitarian thing to do. If he didn’t then that would just be shameful.
    Stingley’ career and life ended too soon, and now Tatum’s life ended too soon as well.

  5. Morons, obviously you have no idea what happened. He didn’t spear him, he hit him the same way safeties hit now, ran through the receiver and he flipped and landed on his head. You losers wish ur safeties played half as tough as him. RIP
    Haters go fuk urselves..

  6. @Tim_Snead:
    Not sure about that, but I am positive there is a special place in Hell for those who talk outta their ass about the dead.

  7. The world is a brighter place without Tatum in it. He never showed remorse, in fact he tried to profit from paralyzing a person. Quite a warrior. He’s a warrior in the same way that Ryan Clark is a warrior, hitting people hardest when they are defenseless.

  8. warriors are found on the battlefield not the football field.
    the idea that some of you mouth breathers think that this guy is some hero makes me want to puke.
    rip daryll stingley.

  9. Growing up it seemed as if the Raiders were there at every turn to rob whatever small chance the Patriots of the seventies had at greatness.
    Ben Dreith in 1976. Tatum in 1978. I grew up hating the silver and black and got a great measure of revenge when we beat them in LA in 1986 and the tuck call occurred, setting up the Patriots first Super Bowl victory.
    I thought Dreith’s call was crap. I thought Tatum’s hit was cheap and I think Brady fumbled.
    Maybe the biggest aspect of all of this is that guys I grew up watching are all dying. I’m in my forties, they are in their sixties. What does that say?

  10. Daryl Stingley on Jack Tatum:
    “I told him if they showed up at my door without a camera then we could have some real healing,” Stingley said. “This is a world built on hype. Selling newspapers. TV ratings. Those are real. But in my world what’s important is to have a forgiving nature. I was always ready for reconciliation with Jack Tatum. I was willing to do it once before until we learned at the final hour that it was about selling a new book. That changed my mind. I could not allow anybody to capitalize on my situation any more.
    “I could not understand why a person would still take that approach so many years later. How could he try to take advantage of the situation again? How could he not feel serious regret or remorse for what happened?
    “If he called me today, I’d answer. If he came to my house, I’d open my door to him. All I ever wanted was for him to acknowledge me as a human being. I just wanted to hear from him if he felt sorry or not. It’s not like I’m unreachable. But it’s not a phone call I’ll be waiting for anymore.”
    I think speaks of the true character of Tatum over the post mortem ball washing.

  11. buy some kleenex haters. Tatum laid wood on evrybody, Unfortunately stingley got stung the wrong way…….for the record it can happen on any given play at any given level…can’t fault tatum for laying a guy out….I love the way he played

  12. First of all Tatum’s hit was totally unnecessary. It was late, on a ball that was well overthrown, and in a meaningless preseason game. The only reason to put a hit on Stingley in that situation was to hurt him. While I’m sure Tatum didn’t want to paralyze him, it was a unnecessary.
    But the true measure of both men’s character was revealed AFTER the incident. Stingley through his charitable foundation lived a meaningful full life, despite his very limited physical situation. On the other hand, from what I can gather, Tatum live a rather sad life of quiet desperation.
    I hope they can both rest in peace now.

  13. @ Living_Legend
    Amen. A truly tragic moment but after listening to Steve Grogan today, maybe he’s a responsible for Stingley’s fate as was Tatum. He threw a garbage pass late and high over the middle in a preseason game rather than take a loss of yardage.

  14. @ Living_Legend
    It is quite obvious by your post that you have never seen the hit that paralyzed Stingley. Tatum did not “flip him over” and Stingley did not “land on his head”.
    In a PRESEASON game, Grogan overthrew (led the receiver too far to be exact) Stingley. As Stingley realizes the ball is uncatchable, you can see him “let up”. Tatum lowers his head–leads with his head, ie spearing–as Stingley is lunging with no concern for a fellow athlete. It was a PRESEASON game. It was an unnecessary cheap shot by a guy who tried to capitalize on the hit and who called himself “Assassin”.
    You need to get your facts straight (start by reading Robo729’s post) and pick someone else to laud.

  15. Depends on who you ask? Folks in my neck of the woods have disdain for him and his attitude toward Darrell Stingley!
    He already had his reputation, there was no reason to layout Stingley in the pre-season…
    At least John Madden was a stand up guy! He or his wife spent alot of time with Darrell while he was hospitalized.

  16. @ampats and snead…
    Hopin’ you and your kids have a long slow one.
    Wanna hear the screams from here.

  17. @BcGreg I watched the play happen live, the play occurs weekly, seriously gimme a break. If Ronnie Lott makes the same hit it hard nose football, people keep it real. Stop the crying over the hit, ESPN had a segment “jacked up”, so all you guys shut it off obviously cause it was too graphic. Ridiculious..

  18. I am positive there is a special place in Hell for those who talk outta their ass about the dead.
    Just cause he’s dead don’t make it different.

  19. IVAIDUH,
    You mean a long and slow one like the losing streak of the Raiders have experienced since 2002?
    Or the screams of Raiders fans like yourself watching that sorry excuse of a football team week in and week out.
    27 wins since 2002 !
    Thanks again for the top ten pick in this years draft !

  20. Tatum killed Darryl Stingley – the fact Tatum lost his leg and his mobility the last five or so years of his life and tried to exploit Stingley for his own monetary benefit is why he got what he deserved in a heart attack.

  21. Some people love or hate Tatum.
    I appreciate what he did on the football field. He was an outstanding hitter at safety and his ball-skills weren’t half-bad either.
    The hit he laid on Stingley — which was within the rules at the time and considered a clean hit by the league — overshadows what Tatum did on the field. It sad Stingley’s career ended on a an overthrown ball and the Assassin.
    Still, Tatum embodied what the Raiders were about in the 70s. Swagger and intimidation.
    Raider fans and some football purist love Tatum, the others, turned the man into a villain. Who’s right? Who knows.
    I just wonder if Ronnie Lott, Brian Dawkins or the late Sean Taylor ever laid a hit on a receiver that resulted in the Tatum-Stingley incident, would those aforementioned players be vilified as well?

  22. I wasn’t even planning on wearing a jersey. But now, in light of the fact that you disrespectful idiosos are trashing the recently departed man, I will purchase his jersey and glady wear it Sept. 10, @ 7PM at the Sheraton Hotel, World Championship of Fantasy Football (WCOFF) Main Event in Atlantic City, ‘Jersey.
    And I prayed someone steps to my face in person talking that trash.
    ‘You idiots happen to be in ‘Jersey that night, your’re more than invited to stop by and get destroyed. I’ll be the wearing #32 and am the owner of the fantasy team ‘Bob, Bill, George, Scott, Phil 1962.’
    Good riddance losers.
    ‘Forcing them all to believe……
    P.S. Robert Ethan, Funi, Sour-Bro; please give me an early Xmas gift by showing up.

  23. The hit on Daryl Stingley was a prime example of Jack Tatum’s style of play . Why would you go after another player like that , in a pre-season game ? Another example was the violent horse collar tackle he put on Lynn Swann in the 1974 AFC Championship game . Swann had to be wheeled off the field on a stretcher and spent almost a week in the hospital . Being an aggressive player is fine , but going out with the intent of trying to injure someone is totally uncalled for . What is sad is Tatum was a very talented player , that didnt have to resort to those types of tactics . Unfortunately , those are the things Jack Tatum will forever be associated with .

  24. Here’s an excerpt from a story on Tatum’s death …
    Tatum said he attempted to visit Stingley in the hospital soon after the incident, but he was denied access by Stingley’s family. He never apologized for the jarring blow.
    “It could have happened to anybody,” Tatum said. “People are always saying, ‘He didn’t apologize.’ I don’t think I did anything wrong that I need to apologize for. It was a clean hit.”
    Then-Patriots coach Chuck Fairbanks backed Tatum.
    “I saw replays many, many times, and many times Jack Tatum was criticized,” Fairbanks said several years ago. “But there wasn’t anything at the time that was illegal about that play.
    “I do think probably that play was a forerunner for some of the changes in rules that exist today that are more protective of receivers, especially if there is head-to-head-type contact. I think that probably pre-empted some of the things that happened today.”

  25. Stingley himself said it was a freak accident. He understood the way the game was played then and that should be good enough for you keyboard quarterbacks. Words between them wouldn’t have changed a thing. Both spent the time after their careers helping charities and both will be missed.
    RIP Jack & Darryl

  26. if you are bashing Tatum it’s because you have no clue what happened, watch the video, till then STFU
    RIP Jack, you were an awesome football player

  27. Jack Tatum was the greatest defensive player of all time. Ray Lewis couldn’t carry Tatum’s jockstrap.

  28. Wow some of these comments are completely unreal. Wow just wow. I hope you people feel better.

  29. @ Living_Legend
    I was just responding to your comment that Tatum “flipped him over” and Stingley “landed on his head”.
    That is NOT what happened. You may have seen that game live, but you must have been in the restroom because you missed it.
    @ Sigildark
    I think you should STFU and watch the video again. It was an unnecessary cheap shot in a PRESEASON game.
    It was a freak accident, yes. But, it wasn’t a cheap shot because it was a freak accident. It was a cheap shot for a combination of reasons. First, it was a PRESEASON game. Who was Tatum trying to impress in a PRESEASON game? Second, the intended pass was 10 yards past the play on the turf when Tatum hit him. That would be a late hit. Third, in a PRESEASON game, Tatum should have pulled up when he saw the overthrown pass and when he saw Stingley “let up” and when he saw that Stingley was vulnerable. And don’t tell me Tatum didn’t see him. He was looking right at him as the ball sailed by. And fourth, after the ball sails by, Tatum lowers and leads with his head (ie speared him). Did I mention it was a PRESEASON game?
    It was a tragic scene that could have been avoided if Jack Tatum used his brain, but Tatum wasn’t known for his brains now, was he?

  30. @BCGreg
    I respect your opinion on the hit, but I wanted to point out what the Patriots head coach said about the hit at the time…
    “It could have happened to anybody,” Tatum said. “People are always saying, ‘He didn’t apologize.’ I don’t think I did anything wrong that I need to apologize for. It was a clean hit.”
    Then-Patriots coach Chuck Fairbanks backed Tatum.
    “I saw replays many, many times, and many times Jack Tatum was criticized,” Fairbanks said several years ago. “But there wasn’t anything at the time that was illegal about that play.
    “I do think probably that play was a forerunner for some of the changes in rules that exist today that are more protective of receivers, especially if there is head-to-head-type contact. I think that probably pre-empted some of the things that happened today.”
    Link to full story: http://www.insidebayarea.com/raiders/ci_15613781

  31. I’m for Jack Tatum, he played the game hard, and it being a violent game people get hurt and will continue to get hurt no matter how much officials try to regulate it. The violence is one of the reasons if not THE man reason people watch.

  32. @ Humboldt420
    Thanks for the quotes, but of course Tatum is gonna say it was a clean hit. He never met with Stingley to reconcile. In this quote, Tatum says he didn’t he need to apologize yet, later, he claims that he tried. When it came time for a meeting, the Stingley family was made aware that he was promoting his book “They Call Me Assassin” and called it off. Tatum was a jerk.
    As for Fairbanks, this is a guy who left NE acrimoniously right before the playoffs in 1978. I don’t take what he says too seriously. He says that the play wasn’t illegal AT THE TIME meaning that there were no rules in place to penalize Tatum. So, TECHNICALLY, he did nothing wrong. But, just because there were no rules in place doesn’t mean it wasn’t a cheap shot.
    IMO, as an athlete, as a sportsman, he should have realized the situation in a PRESEASON game that meant nothing. And he should have issued a mea culpa to Stingley 1-on-1. This issue could have been done and over with by spring of 1979 in the eyes of Stingley first and foremost and in the eyes of the public especially with NE fans.

  33. Pat fans are pussies, you wear pads for a reason. Every player knows that they have a good chance of getting hurt playing the game of football. (especially back in the 70’s) The only thing Tatum was ever guilty of was playing hard all the time. Get over yourselves…
    FYI he got his nick name long before he ended stingley’s career

  34. I have to laugh at anyone that says Tatum was wrong for trying to hurt someone.
    Guess what, that’s part of his job. There still isn’t a saftey worth 2 cents in the league today that wont make a receiver pay for coming over the middle. They still try to knock them senseless, its part of the game.
    Get over it.

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