GENE UPSHAW

GENE UPSHAW

Class of 1987
Guard >>> 6-5, 255
(Texas A&I)
1967-1981 Oakland Raiders

Eugene Thurman Upshaw, Jr. . .First who played guard exclusively to enter Hall. . .No. 1 draft pick, 1967. . .Won regular left guard job as rookie. . . Played in 307 games altogether. . .Possessed size, speed, intelligence, intensity, exceptional leadership ability. . .Extremely effective leading sweeps. . .Played in 10 AFL/AFC title games, three Super Bowls, seven Pro Bowls. . .All-league seven years, second-team All-NFL four other times. . .Born August 15, 1945, in Robstown, Texas. . .Died August 20, 2008, at age of 63.

Gene Upshaw was the Oakland Raiders' first-round choice in the first combined AFL-NFL draft in 1967. The 6-5, 255-pound lineman had played center, tackle, and end while winning NAIA All-America honors at Texas A&I.

The Raiders' coaching staff decided left guard would be Gene's best pro position and Upshaw won the starting job in his rookie training camp. Upshaw’s size, it was felt, would help neutralize the effectiveness of Ernie Ladd and Buck Buchanan, two huge defensive tackles in Oakland’s division.

Gene held the guard spot for the next 15 seasons, starting in 207 straight regular season games until finally being forced out of action for one game in 1981. Upshaw returned the next week to play 10 more games in what turned out to be his final season. He was scheduled to play again in 1982, but an injury in the summer season put him on the injured reserved list for the entire campaign.

Altogether Upshaw played in an incredible 307 preseason, regular season, and post-season contests. Included in his 24 post-season games were three AFL and seven AFC championship games and Super Bowls II, XI and XV. Counting the AFL championship in 1967 and victories in Super Bowls XI and XV, Upshaw became the only player ever to start on championship teams in both the AFL and NFL.

Honors came frequently for Upshaw. He was named first- or second-team All-League or All-Conference 11 consecutive years, and he was named to play in seven Pro Bowls. Upshaw was an intense, intelligent, dedicated competitor who used his excellent size and speed to best advantage.

Extremely effective leading wide running plays; Gene was an integral part of the powerful offensive line that spawned the Raiders' lethal running attack of the 1970s. Recognized as a team leader, Upshaw captained the Raiders’ offensive unit for eight seasons.

Year
Team
G
1967 Oakland
14
1968 Oakland
14
1969 Oakland
14
1970 Oakland
14
1971 Oakland
14
1972 Oakland
14
1973 Oakland
14
1974 Oakland
14
1975 Oakland
14
1976 Oakland
14
1977 Oakland
14
1978 Oakland
16
1979 Oakland
16
1980 Oakland
16
1981 Oakland
15
Career Total
217

Championship Games

1967 AFLOakland Raiders 40, Houston Oilers 7
Upshaw started the game at left guard.

1968 AFL – New York Jets 27, Oakland Raiders 23
Upshaw started the game at left guard.

1969 AFL – Kansas City Chiefs 17, Oakland Raiders 7
Upshaw started the game at left guard.

1970 AFC – Baltimore Colts 27, Oakland Raiders 17
Upshaw started the game at left guard.

1973 AFC – Miami Dolphins 27, Oakland Raiders 10
Upshaw started the game at left guard.

1974 AFC – Pittsburgh Steelers 24, Oakland Raiders 13
Upshaw started the game at left guard.

1975 AFC – Pittsburgh Steelers 16, Oakland Raiders 10
Upshaw started the game at left guard.

1976 AFCOakland Raiders 24, Pittsburgh Steelers 7
Upshaw started the game at left guard.

1977 AFC – Denver Broncos 20, Oakland Raiders 17
Upshaw started the game at left guard.

1980 AFCOakland Raiders 34, San Diego Chargers 27
Upshaw started the game at left guard.

Super Bowls

Super Bowl II – Green Bay Packers 33, Oakland Raiders 14
Upshaw started the game at left guard.

Super Bowl XIOakland Raiders 32, Minnesota Vikings 14
Upshaw started the game at left guard.

Super Bowl XVOakland Raiders 27, Philadelphia Eagles 10
Upshaw started the game at left guard.

All-NFL: 1968 (AP, UPI, SN, PW) · 1970 (AP, PFWA, PW) · 1972 (PFWA) · 1974 (AP, PW) · 1977 (AP, PFWA, PW)

All-NFL Second Team: 1968 (NEA, NY) · 1971 (NEA) · 1972 (AP) · 1973 (AP, NEA) · 1974 (PFWA, NEA) · 1975 (AP) · 1976 (AP, PFWA, NEA) · 1977 (NEA)

All-AFL: 1967 (SN) · 1969 (AP, UPI, SN, NY)

All-AFL Second Team: 1967 (UPI, NEA) · 1969 (NEA)

All-Pro: 1969 (PFWA)

All-Pro Second Team: 1968 (PFWA) · 1969 (HF)

All AFC: 1970 (AP, SN, PW) · 1971 (SN, PW) · 1972 (AP, UPI) · 1973 (PW) · 1974 (AP, PW) · 1977 (UPI, SN, PW)

All AFC Second Team: 1970 (UPI) · 1971 (UPI) · 1973 (UPI) · 1974 (UPI) · 1976 (UPI)

(7) – 1969, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978

1967        Oakland Raiders ......................... 13-1-0    (1st)
1968        Oakland Raiders ......................... 12-2-0    (1st)
1969        Oakland Raiders ......................... 12-1-1    (1st)
1970        Oakland Raiders ........................... 8-4-2    (1st)
1971        Oakland Raiders ........................... 8-4-2    (2nd)
1972        Oakland Raiders ......................... 10-3-1    (1st)
1973        Oakland Raiders ........................... 9-4-1    (1st)
1974        Oakland Raiders ......................... 12-2-0    (1st)
1975        Oakland Raiders ......................... 11-3-0    (1st)
1976        Oakland Raiders ......................... 13-1-0    (1st)
1977        Oakland Raiders ......................... 11-3-0    (2nd)
1978        Oakland Raiders ........................... 9-7-0    (2nd)
1979        Oakland Raiders ........................... 9-7-0    (4th)
1980        Oakland Raiders ......................... 11-5-0    (2nd)
1981        Oakland Raiders ........................... 7-9-0    (4th)

 (Division Finish in Parentheses)

Full Name: Eugene Thurman Upshaw, Jr.

Birthdate: August 15, 1945

Birthplace: Robstown, Texas

Died: August 20, 2008

High School: Robstown (TX)


Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame: January 24, 1987

Presenter: Al Davis, Raiders owner


Other Members of Class of 1987: Larry Csonka, Len Dawson, Joe Greene, John Henry Johnson, Jim Langer, Don Maynard

Pro Career: 15 seasons, 217 games

Drafted: 1st round (17th player overall) in 1967 draft by Oakland Raiders

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