Art Shell, a third-round draft pick of the Oakland Raiders in 1968, excelled on the special teams for two seasons before winning the starting offensive left tackle job in his third campaign. Within a short time, he became widely recognized as one of the premier offensive linemen in the National Football League.
Through much of his career, Shell teamed with left guard Gene Upshaw, a 1987 Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinee, to provide the Raiders with an exceptional nucleus to a forward unit that powered the perennially strong Oakland offense of the 1970s.
Many observers rate Shell, who was equally adept as a pass protector and a blocker on running plays, as the finest of many excellent Raiders offensive linemen of the 1970s. Shell was a first- or second-team All-Pro choice six straight years from 1973 through 1978.
He also played in eight Pro Bowl games and 23 post-season contests, including eight AFL/AFC championships and the Raiders' victories in Super Bowls XI and XV. Shell was credited with a nearly perfect performance against Jim Marshall, the Minnesota Vikings’ sterling defensive end, in Super Bowl XI.
Art played in his first 156 pro games before a pre-season injury in 1979 forced him out of the lineup for five games. He then launched another streak of 51 games that ended with an injury midway into his final 1982 campaign.
Born in Charleston, South Carolina Shell was All-State in both football and basketball at Bonds-Wilson High School in North Charleston. In college with the Maryland State-Eastern Shore grid team, he starred on both offense and defense. Art was named All-Conference three years, All-America two years by the Pittsburgh Courier and Ebony Magazine and little All-America as a senior in 1967.