Howie Long Oakland Raiders
"I tend to be my own worst critic. I don’t need a lot of criticism from other people because I get enough from myself. I’m very paranoid about my own perception of the way I play.”
Howie Long was a second-round pick of the Oakland Raiders in the 1981 NFL Draft and the 48th player selected overall. A four-year letterman at Villanova, Long was the MVP in the 1980 Blue-Gray Game. An all-around athlete, he was a basketball and track star in high school as well as the Northern Collegiate boxing champion.
Long joined the Raiders one year after the team won Super Bowl XV. Three years later, in 1983, the 6-5, 268-pound defensive end helped the team capture another Super Bowl title with a 38-9 win over the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII. His five-tackle performance in that game capped off a season that saw him record a career-high 13 sacks, including five in one game against the Redskins.
The following season he recorded 58 tackles, 12 sacks, and nine passes defensed and was named the NFL Defensive Lineman of the Year by the NFL Alumni Association. Long moved into a starting role with the Raiders beginning in the fifth game of the strike-shortened 1982 season.
He went on to be selected to eight Pro Bowls, the first following the 1983 season. Fast, strong, and explosive off the ball, he was just the second Raider defensive lineman to make a Pro Bowl. A first- or second-team All-Pro choice in 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1989, he was also named All-AFC four times. In 1985, the hard-playing defensive end accounted for 10 quarterback sacks, with at least one in eight games. As a result, he was selected as Raider Lineman’s Club Defensive Lineman of the Year by his teammates.
Although he missed much of the 1988 season due to injury, he still managed to record three sacks and intercept the first pass of his career, which he returned 73 yards in a game against the Houston Oilers. During his 13-year career, Long, a member of the NFL’s All-Decade team of the 1980s, recorded 84 career sacks, not including 7.5 sacks in 1981 before the sack was an official NFL statistic.