Remembering Lyle Alzado

In the week of the anniversary of his death (May 14, 1992), I thought it would be fitting for those of us in the Raider Nation to remember one of our fallen brothers, Lyle Alzado.

Although he was a man with a myriad of faults, his performance in the silver and black was never one of them, and as much as anyone, he is responsible for me becoming a Raider fan.

On Sunday October 23, 1983, when the NFL was fairly new in the United Kingdom, the featured game of the week was the then Los Angeles Raiders at the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys were 8-0, and the last unbeaten team in the league.

As I watched the Cowboys gallop out—pristine uniforms, Colgate smiles, everyone an All-American-type guy—for the game, I hated them instantly.

Then came the Raiders, led by Alzado. Howie Long, Ted Hendricks, Matt Millen, and Rod Martin followed. They were, if you like, the "anti-Cowboys," looking like rejects from a Hells Angels Chapter. Right then, I knew these were my guys.

The Raiders won 40-38, and I was a Raider fan ever after.

Alzado was a typical Raider reclamation project, having played 12 years with Cleveland and Denver before Al Davis traded for him in 1982, but he fit the mould perfectly.

He was the greatest intimidator in sports, and was a key part of the Raiders' Super Bowl XVIII-winning defense. In the playoffs that year against Pittsburgh, he totally dominated offensive tackle Tunch Ilkin, destroying him en route to 2.5 sacks that day as a big part of the Raiders defensive effort that crushed the Steelers.

Every player in LA had an Alzado story.

Once, when the team was out at a restaurant, Dave Casper covered Lyle's steak with tomato sauce as a "joke" when Alzado went to the toilet. The whole of the rest of the team had run out of the place before Alzado returned.

Howie Long called him "three-mile Lyle," after the nuclear facility at Three M...

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