Chris Riehm was a four-year
letterman for Ohio State, where he played defensive end. Shortly after entering the USFL with the Oakland Invaders in
1984, Riehm switched to defensive tackle and also played on special teams. The Gamblers quickly grabbed Riehm in the USFL
Dispersal Draft held on December 6, 1984, and used him at the offensive tackle position during the 1985 season.
His play in the USFL obviously caught the attention of someone in the NFL's L.A. Raiders organization, and
Riehm saw action during the 1986, 1987 and 1988 seasons with Los Angeles.
A black and silver Raiders home jersey
is quite a sight to behold, and this one is no exception. Each number and letter is individually sewn
on to the shirt body and nameplate. Riehm was issued the number "77" in 1986, the year after former All-Pro lineman
Lyle Alzado retired from the team.
A closer view of the nameplate
and rear numbers. The nameplate was cropped to be just slightly larger than the letters themselves.
Like many Gamblers jerseys, this
Raiders shirt has spandex sides and undersleeves, along with a series of gromets (holes) that could be tied with string to
shorten and tighten the sleeves. Unlike Gamblers jerseys, this Raiders example has a thick spandex band at the end
of each sleeve to add extra tightness against the upper arms.
Here's another thing we haven't
seen on any of our other jerseys... The body of the shirt is made of two very different styles of nylon material! The
top half and sleeves of the jersey are made of a "solid" nylon fabric, while the bottom half
is made of a nylon "mesh." By placing white paper inside the jersey, you can clearly see where the two meet (just
below the numbers). We can only imagine how hot it would get playing mid-day in the L.A. Coliseum during the month
of September, and the extra ventilation that the mesh provided was probably worth having.
Raiders jerseys in the mid to
late 1980s were manufactured by Sand-Knit (MacGregor Sporting Goods) of Berlin, Wisconsin. Two manufacturer tags
are located inside the rear neck of Raiders jerseys used during this era, and this particular shirt also has two
"wash" tags located on the lower left inside.
A closeup of the two tags located
inside the rear neck area of the jersey. The first is the traditional "Designed & Tailored Exclusively for the Los
Angeles Raiders" tag, which is virtually always present on Sand-Knit jerseys produced specifically for NFL
teams during the 1970s and 80s. Retail Sand-Knit jerseys from this period will usually have a tag that states, "Designed
& Tailored Exclusively for Pro Action." The second tag gives the size of the shirt as a 52, but thanks to the
factory spandex sides modification, we have our doubts.
Many linemen chose to have a "crotchpiece"
added to the bottoms of their jerseys, and here's a photo of the one on the Riehm jersey. The long "strap"
of material, which was attatched to the rear of the jersey, would be placed between the wearer's legs and fastened to the
front by three buttons. This simple, hidden feature would prevent the jersey from coming partially or fully untucked
during a game.
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