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Q&A with HOF Willie Brown


Question from Estevan Casas: Greatest memory as a Raider?

Willie Brown: Probably the greatest memory as a Raider is coming to the Raiders, meeting Al Davis in Denver. I was playing with Denver and got traded to the Raiders. He took the time to come to Denver, fly in, talk to me about joining the Raiders. That's probably the greatest moment.

Question from Matt Pollock: What's your favorite memory of Al Davis?

Willie Brown: My greatest memory of Al Davis was Denver again, a guy who was dedicated and loyal to the organization. I had the same vision that he had, on the same mission he was on, to win a championship and I understood that from day one.

Question from David Speddon: What do the Raiders need to do to become great again?

Willie Brown: I think in order for us to become great again is to get great ballplayers, number one, and when we don't have those particular great ballplayers at a certain spot, you have to find those kind of players in order to be good and win championships and be able to compete. Get the right coaching staff together and the right players, that's what makes championships. Have all the key elements and key players in place in order to win a championship.

Question from Alfredo Salazar: How does it feel to be a part of the greatest organization in all of sports?

Willie Brown: It's something that you can brag on and talk about when you're the best and surely the Raiders are the best organization in all of sports. That's why I'm still here because of the greatness of all the players that have played here and been here.

Question from Angel Dust: If playing in the NFL hadn't worked out, what would have been your career?

Willie Brown: I'd probably be coaching in high school, something I have a passion in. I've always had a desire to coach in high school. I fulfilled that dream several years ago when I was at Jordan High School and also at Long Beach State in the L.A. area. That's probably what I'd be doing today.

Question from James Foley: Which wide receiver did you respect most when you were playing for the Raiders?

Willie Brown: I respected all of them because all of them were professional and any time you're going against another professional ballplayer, I tended to treat them all alike. There are some that stood out more than others that kind of kept you awake at night thinking about it sometimes, Lance Alworth that played for the Chargers was one of the guys that I had a lot of respect for. Charlie Taylor, surely is another one. All the guys, particularly the guys in the Hall of Fame, I respected them quite a bit.

Question from Jason Nowlin: Who was the oddest Raider you have ever known?

Willie Brown: The oddest Raider…there's  a bunch of them. It's hard to pick one particular one. Jeff Barnes was one of the oddest ones you'd ever talked to.

Question from Pedro Garcia: Do you think your returning interception that's always shown on TV was your best?

Willie Brown: No, I don't think that was my best. It was probably one of the best because it happened in the Super Bowl, but I recall intercepting four passes in one game, three passes in one game. Sometimes not even having the ball thrown my way, not have a guy catch a ball on me all day, all those things are important to me. It's hard to say.

Question from Daniel Garza Jr.: Which was better winning a Super Bowl or getting inducted into the Hall of Fame?

Willie Brown: Surely getting in the Hall of Fame. A lot of people can win a Super Bowl or play on a Super Bowl team. You have all the ballplayers around you when you're playing in a Super Bowl setting and you're playing and you put all those things together and you become Champion. When it comes to getting in the Hall of Fame, it means you've done something right in your career. Not only yourself, but getting in the Hall of Fame is dependent upon the organization you're with and the ballplayers around you surely we had a great organization and great players around me – Tatum, Atkinson, Skip Thomas, all those guys, Upshaw, Shell, Kenny Stabler, Fred Biletnikoff, Jim Otto – all those guys contributed to me getting into the Hall of Fame.

Question from Adrian Padilla: What was the feeling like after finally winning a Super Bowl in 1976?

Willie Brown: When you win like that, a big win like that, playing in a Super Bowl, so many things are going through your mind that you want to play another game. You win that and then you say, 'come on, let's play somebody else.' Just keep playing and playing. That's what it was like. All the hard work and dedication that had been done before you got to the Super Bowl, but winning is the key. That's why you play the game, to win. That particular year, we won. We did all the things right.

Question from Nathan Bradford: Who do you see as the Raiders breakout player of 2012?

Willie Brown: I think the quarterback. I think with him, he should have a good year, number one, and receivers. I look for McFadden to have a good start like he did last year, he'll have another good year.

Question from Martin Brunner: What was your impression of American Football in Europe when you visited last summer?

Willie Brown: The scheme and ideas were great. The way they play the game because it's pretty much the way we play it here. The difference is the players. They don't have the abundance of players stacked up at each position. You have smaller guys than you have here. Those guys, probably the biggest guy was less than 300 pounds. We have 10-12 guys weighing over 300 pounds, so that's probably the biggest difference.

Question from Ken Tinkham: How do you feel about the '76 Raiders being voted the best team in history? What team in history would have given the '76 Raiders the most problems?

Willie Brown: I thought it was great to win it. When you play this game and you see your team to win something like that is great. What team would probably give us the most trouble? Probably Pittsburgh. They have always competed during that time. It was either going to come down to the Raiders, Pittsburgh, Kansas City or Miami. One of the four of those teams would be there pretty much playing in the Super Bowl.

Question from Michael Heidkamp: What is your fondest memory of Jack Tatum?

Willie Brown: My fondest memory of Jack was when he first came to the Raiders, they stuck him in a room with me. He was a renegade and I was a renegade so they put us two together. They thought by putting Jack with me, and I was the captain on the team, they thought it was a good idea to have Jack with me because I can get him started in the right direction in terms of his football, how he played. Show him the ropes and how it's done in the pros. We were roommates for a couple of years so it was good to be around him. I learned some things from him and I'm sure he learned some things from me also.

Question from Gil Aguayo: Who is your favorite DB to coach and who was your favorite defensive coach when you played?

Willie Brown: My favorite player that I coached was Charles Woodson and Rod Woodson, those two, and [Nnamdi] Asomugha. There are a lot of guys, I can't say one, two, or three or four in particular. I enjoyed coaching all of those guys. But Charles stood out. Day one, he and I got together right away and I understood him and he understood me and he played quite well. My favorite coach probably would have been John Madden, my head coach, but assistant coach probably would be George Dickson. George coached for the Raiders for awhile and he went to Denver for awhile. He coached me in Denver. George was special because he had the passion I had to learn the position. I didn't know anything about the position so I started getting with him and he showed me some stuff. So George was probably one of my favorites, but also Charlie Sumner, a great coordinator. He did all things to get us ready to play in the game and he played secondary himself. I loved Charlie.

Question from Jay Chew: What do you think makes the Raider Nation so special?

Willie Brown: I think what makes the Raider Nation so special is that they truly show that they are a true Raider. No matter what happens, win or lose, they're there. They support the Raiders from day one and they encourage other people to become Raider fans and I think we probably have the best following throughout the world because we've had such great teams here. And what makes the Raider Nation special is they care. They show that they care about the Raiders.

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