The Silver and Black have a rich history of remarkable fullbacks. Perhaps none had as much of an impact as Marv Hubbard.
One of the most overlooked players in Las Vegas Raiders history is Hubbard, a three-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion. By way of Salamanca, New York, Hubbard played his collegiate years at Colgate University, which mascot is also the Raiders. In a career that lasted seven seasons with the Silver and Black, he went on to define what a fullback could do for a modern NFL offense.
Originally part of the Raiders 1968 draft, Hubbard was cut before seeing any action. Shortly thereafter, the Denver Broncos also passed on him, which forced him to play in the Atlantic Coast Football League. He was so impressive in that stint that the Raiders decided they’d give him a chance. He’d later debut in 1969.
He Was A Bad Man…
It’s amazing when you stop and realize younger fans don’t know Hubbard’s name. Not in the way they’re familiar with Marcus Allen or Bo Jackson. Hubbard was a real bruiser, an aggressive punisher who loved to hit people. His head coach and Raiders’ legend, John Madden, once elaborated on that.
“There are people that will have contact and people that won’t have contact, but only a few that will have it and really enjoy it. Marv was one of those guys who truly enjoyed the collision. He would look for it.”
Funny enough, Hubbard wasn’t shy about his playing days when it came to his style as he once reminisced.
“My running style was pretty much get the – out of my way. But there was a method to my madness… I would intentionally hit tacklers,” he remembered. By the final quarter, “defensive backs knew I was head hunting.”
By The Numbers
In his seven years with the Raiders, Hubbard totaled 4,986 total yards from scrimmage, in addition to 24 career touchdowns with one of them coming through the air. Even by modern standards, his numbers as a fullback were downright impressive. He cracked the 1,000 rushing yard mark once in 1972, unheard of for fullbacks in today’s NFL. He was close to that mark on three other occasions: 1971 and 1973-74, notching 867, 903, and 865, rushing yards respectively. If that’s not impressive enough, he also provided help in the passing game. During his stint with the Raiders, Hubbard caught 79 receptions for 592 yards.
By 1975, injuries caught up to Hubbard. Playing with such wreckless abandon will usually cause that. He missed the entire 1976 season with those injuries. However, he still earned a Super Bowl ring as a part of that legendary team. Looking back at what made him so effective, Hubbard didn’t hold back in that 2007 article with the Salamanca Press.
“Fullback is the worst position in professional football,” Hubbard said. “All the fullback does anymore is block. Linemen block. But fullbacks get the unique opportunity of getting a 10-15 yard running start before he hits somebody.”
Hubbard is a player and true Raiders legend that shouldn’t be overlooked based on his merit, stats, and the overall impact he had as a fullback.
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*Top Photo: New York Times/Associated Press