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

Wausau High School and University of Miami

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

Oakland Raiders

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.

During the game of the Immaculate Reception Ken Stabler threw a pass that was tipped by a Steelers player. Otto picked the ball out of the air and ran about 20 yards. He remembers his wife telling him he should have scored and there wouldn't have been any Immaculate Reception.

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 every single year. He was an All-Star in the first 13 of his 15 seasons (every year in the AFL from 1960 through 1969) and was named the starting center on the AFL All-Time Team.

He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Famemarker 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 surgeries

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.


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 numerous works of art by artist Matthew Barney.

See also


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

External links

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