Jim Otto
Personal Information
Born: January 5 1938 (1938-01-05) (age 82) in Wausau, Wisconsin
Birthplace: {{{birthplace}}}
Career information
Year(s) 19601974
NFL Draft Not Drafted (Free Agent) / Round: N/A / Pick: N/A
NFL Supplemental Draft / Pick:
College University of Miami
Professional teams
Career stats
Games played 217
Games started 207
Fumble Recoveries 5
Stats at
Career highlights and awards

  • AFL All-Star selection, (1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969)
  • Pro Bowl selection (1970, 1971, 1972)
  • 10× All-AFL selection (1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969)
  • All-Pro selection (1970, 1971, 1972)
  • American Football League Champion 1967
  • AFL All-Time Team

James Edwin Otto (born January 5, 1938 in Wausau, Wisconsin) is a former center for the Oakland Raiders of the American Football League.

Wausau High School and University of MiamiEdit

Otto played high school football at Wisconsin's Wausau High School, under coach Win Brockmeyer. He then went on to play collegiate football at Miami. In addition to playing offensive center at UM, he also played linebacker on defense.

Oakland RaidersEdit

After no National Football League team showed interest in the undersized center, Otto signed with the Oakland Raiders of the new American Football League. He was issued jersey number 50 for the AFL's inaugural season, 1960, but switched to his familiar 00 the next season. The AFL permitted the unusual number because it was a pun on Otto's name (aught-oh). Otto worked diligently to build his body up to his playing weight of 250 pounds.

For the next fifteen years, Otto became a fixture at center for the Raiders, never missing a single game due to injury. Including pre-season, regular season and post-season games, Otto competed in 308 consecutive games. With the Raiders, he won 1 AFL/AFC championship in 1967 against the Houston Oilers, but lost 5: in 1968, 1969, and 1970, 1973, and 1974 to the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Colts, Miami Dolphins, and Pittsburgh Steelers, respectively, all 5 teams winning the Super Bowl of their respective years, playing alongside Gene Upshaw, a Hall-of-Famer, at left guard from 1967 until Otto's final year in 1974.[1] In the 1967 regular season, Oakland scored 468 points (33.4 points/game), leading the AFL, but lost Super Bowl II to the Vince Lombardi-led Green Bay Packers. In the 1968 regular season, Oakland scored 453 points (32.4 points/game), once again leading the AFL, beating the Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional round before losing to the Jets. In the 1969 regular season, Oakland scored 377 points (26.9 points/game), once again leading the AFL, beating the Houston Oilers in the divisional round before losing to the Chiefs. In the 1970 regular season (1st year of the NFL-AFL merger), Oakland scored 300 points (21.4 points/game), 9th of 26 teams in the NFL, beating the Miami Dolphins in the 1970-71 NFL playoffs before losing to the Colts. The Raiders missed the playoffs for the first time in 5 years in 1971, despite scoring 344 points (24.6 points/game), 2nd of 26 teams in the NFL. However, they came back stronger in 1972, scoring 365 points (26.1 points/game), 3rd of 26 teams in the NFL, but lost 13-7 to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional round of the 1972-73 NFL playoffs, the infamous and outrageous (from Oakland's point of view) Immaculate Reception game. In the 1973 regular season, Oakland scored 292 points (20.9 points/game), 10th of 26 teams in the NFL and avenged their defeat at the hands of the Steelers during the 1973-74 NFL playoffs before losing to the Dolphins. In Otto's final year, 1974, Oakland scored 355 points (25.4 points/game), leading the NFL, and then avenging their loss to the Dolphins during 1974-75 NFL playoffs before losing to the Steelers again. In 1975, he was replaced by Dave Dalby.

To this day, Otto embodies the toughness and determination the Raiders began to ferment in the mid-1960s, after Al Davis took control of the team and later hired John Madden as head coach.

Otto was one of only 20 players to play for the entire ten-year existence of the American Football League, and was selected as the Sporting News All-League center from 1960 through 1969. He was an All-Star in the first 13 of his 15 seasons (every year in the AFL from 1960 through 1969) and three of his five seasons in the NFL. He was also named the starting center on the AFL All-Time Team.

He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980, the first year he was eligible. In 1999, he was ranked number 78 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.

Since 1995, Otto has worked for the Raiders in the department of special projects and is active in the business world. As a show of respect, he always calls Raiders' owner Al Davis "Mr. Davis."

Injuries and surgeriesEdit

Otto punished his body greatly during his NFL career, resulting in nearly 40 surgeries, including 28 knee operations (nine of them during his playing career alone) and multiple joint replacements. His joints are riddled with arthritis, and he has debilitating back and neck problems.

One time, Otto nearly died on the operating table. He also fought off three life-threatening bouts of infections due to his artificial joints, and during one six-month stretch, was without a proper right knee joint because he had to wait for the infection to clear up before another artificial one could be implanted. Today, Otto is handicapped, but he says he wouldn't change a thing if given the opportunity to do it over again. It's detailed, proudly, in his book, "The Pain of Glory" (ISBN 1-58261-066-5), published in 2000.

Jim Otto had his right leg amputated on August 1, 2007.[2]


During the 1980s, Otto was involved in numerous business ventures. He owned numerous Burger King Restaurants near Sacramento, California until the early 1990s.

In 1997, Otto's daughter, Jennifer, a 39-year-old mother of four, died from a blood clot. Five years later, in 2002, Otto was stricken with prostate cancer, though the cancer is currently in remission.

Otto is also the subject of works by artist Matthew Barney.[3]

He was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998.


  • Jim Otto: The Pain of Glory by Jim Otto
  • Jim Otto by Dave Newhouse

External linksEdit

de:Jim Otto

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