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6 Least Known Facts About Art Shell


Art Shell is a former National Football League (NFL) player and coach who attained the rank of an executive. He amassed huge success as a player and earned coaching positions in college and in the NFL. In this article, we reveal more about his personal life and career.

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Played for One Team

Rarely do modern players commit to playing for one team. That makes footballers like Art Shell stand out. In the 1968 NFL draft, the Oakland Raiders selected him from Maryland State College, now Maryland-Eastern Shore, as a third-round 80th pick.

The team changed its name to Los Angeles Raiders and now the Las Vegas Raiders. It’s the only side he represented in his 14-year career. 

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Two-Time Super Bowl Winner

Art Shell on Super Bowl XV. Video Credit: Pro Football Hall of Fame

The offensive tackle won the Super Bowls XI and XV with the Oakland Raiders in 1977 and 1981. Shell began both games against the Philadelphia Eagles (Super Bowl XI) and the Minnesota Vikings (Super Bowl XV).

He played in seven other playoffs, consisting of 23 post-season games, in which he took part but the team fell short. 

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Earned Recognition

Art Shell talking about being in the All-time team. Video Credit: NFL Highlights Channel

Apart from winning the biggest title in the game, Art Shell was an eight-time Pro Bowl player between 1972 & 1978 and 1980. He also made it into the first-team and second-team All-Pro twice.

More than that, Shell was included in the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team and the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.

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Hall of Fame Inductee

After his excellent playing career, Art Shell was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989. He’s also in the College Hall of Fame.    

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Broke the Color Barrier in NFL Coaching

Art Shell on becoming the Raider’s coach. Video Credit: Al Broderick

After Art Shell ended his playing career, his former team (Oakland Raiders) hired him as the offensive line coach. He held this position between 1983 and 1989 and was then promoted to the interim head coach in 1989. This was before he became the head coach of the silver and black in 1990.   

This made him the second African-American to coach in the NFL and the first in the modern era to do so. He won 54 games and lost 38. In 1990, Shell was the Coach of the Year, after becoming the first black coach to lead a team to a Conference Championship game. 

Unfortunately, after four years in the position, the Raider’s owner fired him. He joined the Kansas City Chiefs between 1995 and 1996 as the offensive line coach and later Atlanta Falcons. He rejoined Oakland and became the head coach of the Raiders in 2006.

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Art Shell Played Basketball

Before Art Shell settled for football, he was an accomplished basketball player at Bonds-Wilson High School in North Charleston. He made the All-State team. Standing at 6 inches, 5 feet tall, he had the physique for it.

When he committed to football, former Raiders coach John Madden said they were impressed by his physical abilities and knew he could do more.

Art Shell had a stellar career as an offensive tackler and is one of the best to have graced the game. His coaching achievement, being the first black coach in the modern era was a turning point in the NFL because he demonstrated our capacity to handle these positions.

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