Former NFL Player Joe Campbell, a Defensive End and Super Bowl Champion, tragically passed away at the age of 68 while enjoying a hike in Florida. The news of Campbell’s untimely death has sent shockwaves through the football community, as his contributions to the game and his incredible journey to victory will always be remembered.
Campbell, a prominent member of the legendary 1980 Raiders team that secured Super Bowl XV, will forever be etched in the annals of football history. His athleticism, determination, and unwavering spirit were instrumental in leading the Raiders to their triumph, making them the first wild card team to ever seize the coveted Super Bowl title. The team’s remarkable 27-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on January 25, 1981, in the vibrant city of New Orleans will forever stand as a testament to Campbell’s indomitable will.
Born and raised in Delaware, Campbell’s journey to greatness began during his time at Salesianum School. A standout player, he played an integral role in leading the 1972 team to a state championship. Campbell’s skills and dedication to the game were evident even at a young age, garnering admiration and respect from all those who had the privilege of playing alongside him.
Following his stellar high school career, Campbell’s football prowess took him to the University of Maryland, where he continued to shine. His exceptional talent on the field earned him the title of All-American, solidifying his place among the best collegiate players of his time. Campbell’s hard work and dedication paid off when he was selected seventh overall in the 1977 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints.
Throughout his five-year professional career, Campbell donned the jerseys of the Saints, Raiders, and Buccaneers, leaving an indelible mark wherever he went. However, it was his time with the Raiders that truly defined his legacy. Known for his exceptional skills as a defensive end, Campbell’s presence on the field was a force to be reckoned with. His relentless pursuit of excellence inspired his teammates and struck fear into the hearts of opponents.
Campbell’s impact extended beyond the football field. His resilience and determination were tested in 2007 when he was involved in a tragic collision with a pick-up truck while bicycling. Despite suffering a fractured skull and being in a coma for six months, Campbell refused to be defeated. He fought his way back to health, proving his indomitable spirit once again.
A teammate I was blessed to play and win with.
Joe, RIP Brotherhttps://t.co/BIZzkbpWQT
— Burgess Owens (@BurgessOwens) July 13, 2023
In the wake of this devastating loss, the football community mourns the passing of a true legend. The Raiders organization expressed their heartfelt condolences, stating, “The thoughts and prayers of the entire Raider Nation are with the Campbell family at this time.” Former teammate and current congressman, Burgess Owens, took to social media to honor Campbell, calling him a “teammate I was blessed to play and win with” and offering his sincerest condolences.
Campbell’s memory will live on through his loved ones, including his two daughters, brother, and three grandchildren. He leaves behind a legacy that will inspire future generations of athletes to strive for greatness both on and off the field.
Joe Campbell’s journey from a determined high school player to a Super Bowl champion serves as a powerful reminder that dreams can be achieved through hard work, perseverance, and an unwavering belief in oneself. His legacy will forever be etched in the hearts of football fans and his name will be spoken with reverence whenever the story of the 1980 Raiders team is told. Rest in peace, Joe Campbell, a true champion of the game.