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Smallthoughts:Old School Tuesday …Dave Casper

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DCasperDave Casper

Casper was drafted in the second round of the 1974 NFL draft by the Oakland Raiders. Casper only caught a total of nine passes his first two seasons, but was a top-ten receiver in 1976, in which he had 53 catches for 691 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Ghost to the Post

One of Casper’s most memorable games as a Raider came in a 1977 Divisional Playoff game against the Baltimore Colts. Casper made an over-the-head catch of a soft pass lofted by Ken Stabler on “The Ghost to the Post.” The 42-yard reception set up a game-tying field goal that forced overtime and the Raiders went on to a 37-31 victory with Casper’s 10-yard touchdown reception in the second overtime period. He finished the game with four receptions for 70 yards and three touchdowns.

The Holy Roller

Casper was also involved in another famous NFL contest on September 10, 1978, between the Raiders and San Diego Chargers. The Raiders trailed the Chargers 20-14 with just ten seconds left in the game. Oakland quarterback Ken Stabler, about to be sacked, dropped the football, which he then flicked toward the goal line in an effort to save the game. Raiders running back Pete Banaszak recovered the ball at the San Diego 12-yard line but dropped the ball again, and it rolled further forward. Casper kicked the ball at the San Diego 5-yard line and finally recovered it in the end zone to tie the game. The extra point attempt was good and Oakland won the game, 21-20. Stabler, Banaszak and Casper all admitted afterwards that they had deliberately fumbled or batted the ball towards the end zone.

The Chargers protested on the grounds that Stabler’s fumble was actually a forward pass, and therefore should have been ruled incomplete when it hit the ground. As a result of the play, the NFL changed its rules to make it illegal for the teammate of a ball carrier to advance the ball if the ball carrier fumbles on fourth down or in the last two minutes of the game.

Other career highlights

Casper caught the first touchdown of Super Bowl XI, a 32-14 Raiders victory over the Minnesota Vikings. As a Raider, Casper was selected to four straight Pro Bowls (1976–1979).

Midway through the 1980 season Casper was traded to the Houston Oilers for their first and second round draft picks. He was reunited with his former Raider quarterback, Ken Stabler, when he was traded to the Oilers. He finished the 1980 season with 56 receptions and was named to his fifth Pro Bowl. In 1984 he returned to the Raiders (who by then had moved to Los Angeles) for his final NFL season.

Casper finished his pro career with 378 receptions, 5,216 yards and 52 touchdowns. In 2002 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was the 13th Raider to be inducted.

Smallthoughts Old School Tuesday …salutes Dave Casper.

Career history
Career highlights and awards

* NFL 1970s All-Decade Team

Career NFL statistics
Receptions 378
Receiving Yards 5,216
Touchdowns 52
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