Todd Christensen was a most atypical NFL player. Which, naturally, makes him a prototypical Raider.
Todd passed away yesterday morning on the operating table while getting a liver transplant. A Mormon who didn't drink, Todd's liver trouble was believed to have been caused by a previous botched gall bladder operation. As if a guy who never drank dying while getting a liver transplant isn't wincingly ironic enough, it's fairly reasonable to assume that Todd was also smarter than all those quacks who failed him as well.
The apparent lovechild of Leapin' Lanny Poffo and Michael Irvin, Todd Christensen's nickname was Renaissance Man. He quoted, recited and wrote poetry. He also appeared on Married With Children. And it has taken me too long to mention the fact that he was an excellent football player. Todd was drafted in the second round as a running back out of pass-happy BYU. After a lost rookie season in Dallas, Mr. Davis swooped him up and converted him to tight end. Christensen proceeded to win two Super Bowls, set various receiving records, and help redefine the position altogether. Mr Davis was one of the earliest proponents of using backs and tight ends in the passing game, particularly on deeper routes. But Christensen was one of the first players to line up at the position who physically was a matchup nightmare for defenses. Quick enough to be impossible to cover for a linebacker, big enough to line up at TE every down and do what was required.
Also, the haircut. I am an authority on haircuts. I have a better haircut than you. Some of you know this, some of you will just have to trust me, but it isn't any less true in either case. Todd Christensen's loose jewfro/mullet is quite possibly the greatest haircut in NFL history. You're almost surprised there isn't activator flying off those bouncing curls. And then with the 'stache, the camera loved him. That love was far from unreciprocated. Yet somehow Todd masterfully pulled off being so many various things that seem mutually exclusive. A fully committed athlete at the top of his game, a smart guy, a smartass, a devout Mormon, a Raider... and Hollywood. The last one is the kicker for me personally. Todd Christensen never hesitated to punk the shit out of a dumbass reporter in his playing days. And then he carved out a modest career for himself in that game just off his sheer undeniable awesomeness. You couldn't ask for a better public face for a franchise relocating from Oakland to LA and trying not to lose that working class identity (Howie Long is just too damned good-looking). Yeah, Todd Christensen is all up in your grill. Because he's smarter than you, he's a badass, and LOOK AT THE HAIR. You can't say a goddamn thing.
Todd Christensen is quite possibly the only Raider who we needed more than he needed us. Nothing would be worse than the sin of ingratitude; thanks for everything Todd.
The Giants game... the defense rebounded nicely from the loss to Philly, the offense did not. I'm assuming that as soon as Jared Veldheer is activated and we have some semblance of an offensive line, Matt McGloin will see significant time playing at QB regardless of Pryor's health. The highlight of this game was definitely watching the final nails in the coffin of Peyton Hillis' career. I cannot remember seeing a worse performance by a football player not named "Flynn." He ran like a wooden cutout on pulleys. He had the ball security of somebody who had been asked to do an impression of Jay Schroeder playing running back. And he whiffed entirely on pass protection leading to a sack. We no longer have to ask "Hey, what the hell happened to Peyton Hillis?" Because hey, Peyton Hillis really fucking sucks.