Author of one of the NFL's most indelible images as he raced toward the end zone to score on a Super Bowl XI interception, Raiders legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Willie Brown has passed away at the age of 78.
A cornerback who played 16 seasons -- four to begin his career with the Denver Broncos and the final 12 with the Raiders in Oakland -- Brown was a nine-time Pro Bowler, five-time All-Pro selection and 1984 Hall of Fame enshrinee.
Across a decorated career that saw him play in a pair of Super Bowls for the Raiders, Brown terrorized quarterbacks to the tune of 54 career interceptions. The mark currently sits in a tie for 21st all-time, with his 39 while playing for the franchise tied for tops in the team's history next to Lester Hayes.
There was no Brown interception and perhaps no other interception in NFL chronicle as memorable as his in Super Bowl XI, however. Brown perfectly read a pass into the flats and never looked back, sprinting along the opposing sideline as a close-up perfectly read his run to the end zone and immortality. It was the exclamation point of the Raiders' first Super Bowl title, an emphatic 32-14 win in the Rose Bowl that closed out a 16-1 season for Oakland and one of the most overlooked all-time great teams in league lore.
As memorable as the close-up and Brown's determined expression was, the call by Oakland play-by-play man Bill King made it an unforgettable moment in NFL history.
"He looks and throws ... intercepted by the Oakland Raiders Willie Brown at the 30, 40, 50 ... he's going all the way! ... Old Man Willie! ... Touchdown Raiders!" King bellowed.