John David "Jack" Tatum (November 18, 1948 – July 27, 2010) was an American football safety who played ten seasons from 1971 through 1980 for the Oakland Raiders and Houston Oilers in the National Football League (NFL). He was popularly known as "The Assassin" because of his playing style." He was voted to three consecutive Pro Bowls (1973–1975) and was a member of one Super Bowl-winning team in his nine seasons with the Raiders. He is best known for a tackle he made against New England Patriots wide receiver Darryl Stingley in a 1978 preseason game that paralyzed Stingley from the chest down.
A member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Tatum was a unanimous All-American in 1969 and 1970. He was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the first round of the 1971 NFL Draft, and with them earned a reputation as a fierce competitor and one of the hardest hitters ever to play the game. Tatum was also noted for his involvement in the Immaculate Reception play during a 1972 playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Tatum's hitting style was well recognized in the 1970s, and his New York Times obituary stated Tatum was a "symbol of a violent game".
By Dean Hanley
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