The world is mourning the loss of “Old Man” Willie Brown on Tuesday, as the Oakland Raiders’ legend passed away. Brown, a Hall of Famer and key member of the Raiders’ Super Bowl-winning team of 1976, was 78 years old.
Since his passing, tributes have arrived from many of those who were impacted by Brown during their lives. That includes former Raiders coach John Madden and player Rod Woodson, among others.
Brown’s Hall of Fame career included Super Bowl
Willie Brown entered the league undrafted in 1963 at 23 years old. At first, he was signed by the Houston Oilers before being cut and then signed by the Denver Broncos. The defensive back played four seasons there, before joining his final destination in the league, the Oakland Raiders.
He’d end up with 54 interceptions for 472 yards and two touchdowns over his superstar career. One of his career highlights was certainly his pick-six during Super Bowl XI. That play involved Brown intercepting Fran Tarkenton for a 75-yard touchdown.
Rest in peace to Hall of Famer and @Raiders legend Willie Brown.
Thank you for giving us iconic moments like this one 🙏 pic.twitter.com/auqcp2jpdJ
— NFL Films (@NFLFilms) October 22, 2019
Upon the news of Brown’s passing, the Oakland Raiders posted a video in memory of the late star. It quickly notched more than 11,500 Likes and 200 comments as fans paid their respects to Willie Brown.
According to Pro Football Reference, Brown was selected for nine Pro Bowls and was a five-time First-Team All-Pro player. Brown is tied for No. 21 on the all-time interceptions list along with Darrell Green and Eric Allen.
In 1984, the Super Bowl champion Brown was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
NFL, Raiders family react to the loss of Willie Brown
According to the NFL website, Raiders owner Mark Davis called it “a very sad day for the Raider nation as a whole.” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell also released a statement as a tribute and a way of paying respect to the late football star.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell statement on Willie Brown: pic.twitter.com/TGCtkkaj06
— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) October 22, 2019
Former Raiders head coach John Madden released his own statement upon the news of Brown’s passing. He called him “a true Raider and one of the best cornerbacks that ever played the game.” Madden was Brown’s coach from 1969 on and helped guide the team to their Super Bowl XI win.
"Willie Brown was a true Raider and one of the best cornerbacks that ever played the game."
— Oakland Raiders (@Raiders) October 22, 2019
Another member of the Oakland Raiders family, Hall of Fame wide receiver Tim Brown, posted his own heartfelt message regarding Willie Brown on Twitter. Brown recalled how he and Willie connected over their same last name.
@Raiders my heart is truly heavy hearing the news my friend Willie Brown has passed away. From almost day one, we connected because of our last names, he would tell me "You can't have that name on that Jersey and not play well!"! Won't be the same w/o 24!! RIP name sake!!
— Tim Brown (@81TimBrown) October 22, 2019
Fellow defensive star and Hall of Famer from the Raiders, Rod Woodson, also paid his respect to Brown. He posted on his official Twitter to show an image of himself in a Raiders uniform with Brown standing nearby.
— Rod Woodson (@RodWoodson26) October 22, 2019
Current Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr also paid tribute to the late Hall of Famer. Carr posted on Twitter and noted that it was Willie Brown who called his name on draft day in an iconic moment for his career. Brown reminded fans not to forget Mother’s Day during another draft day moment.
A number of other personalities and players paid their respects or shared touching tributes for Brown on Tuesday. That included Oakland native MC Hammer, NFL sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson, and NFL players Waren Sapp, Gil Brandt, Lamarr Houston, Darren McFadden, and Lance Briggs.
— Tracy Wolfson (@tracywolfson) October 22, 2019
It’s clear that Willie Brown was loved and respected by those that knew him, whether they were members of the Raiders family, the fanbase, or sports fans in general. The late Hall of Famer certainly left his impact and will be greatly missed by all those who knew and admired him.