Tatum was a beast. He was most known for the hit on Darryl Stingley (I saw it live with my Pop) that caused Stingley’s paralysis and also for the initial hit on Frenchy Fuqua that caused the subsequent Immaculate Reception by Franco Harris in 1972.
He was one of the reasons why the Raiders had such of an intimidation factor long after he retired.
Probably one of the most fear defenders of all time. “I like to believe that my best hits border on felonious assault.” was one of Tatum’s famous quotes. He tried to rip your head off and it’s a testament to the type of men who played back then because a lot of cats today would not get up after one of the Assassin’s super speed knocks.
The Cherryville, NC native was the 19th pick of the first round out of Ohio State. He played all but one season with the Raiders (Oilers in 1980) and amassed 37 interceptions to go along with 3 Pro Bowl selections. He holds the record for a fumble return (104 yards with Aeneas Williams).
The story goes that Woody Hayes recruited Tatum to run the rock but Lou Holtz…at the time an OSU assistant, convinced the hard as nails coach to move Tatum to defensive back.
Changed history on a few levels, some unfortunate and some relative to the sport of football having such a ferocious factor associated with its play.
There was controversy surrounding the paralysis of Stingley. Stingley wrote in his 1983 book, Happy to be Alive, that Tatum never once called or showed up to apologize. Stingly died in ’07 and there was never any communication between the two. Tatum response: “It could have happened to anybody,” said Tatum. “People are always saying, ‘He didn’t apologize.’ I don’t think I did anything wrong that I need to apologize for. It was a clean hit.”
He wrote three books: They Call Me Assassin in 1980, They Still Call Me Assassin in 1989, and Final Confessions of NFL Assassin Jack Tatum in 1996.
And the rest of the Assassin’s work…how the hell is he just number 6?
Story of Tatum’s passing on 10TV.com.
My son has a future as a quarterback on the collegiate level. His arm is ridiculous. He stop playing the sport to focus on basketball…I ain’t mad at him because of cats like Tatum. Ferocious hitter to say the least. RIP.