Oakland Raiders Football
The Oakland Raiders are a professional football team playing in the NFL. Based in the AFC West, the Raiders first competed in the American Football League. Since the AFL/NFL merger, the team has won three Super Bowls and appeared in five. Registered trademarks of the team include the slogans “Pride and Poise,” “Commitment to Excellence” and “Just Win, Baby.”
Birth of the Oakland Raiders
Shortly after the AFL was formed, the owner of the then- unnamed Minneapolis team accepted an offer to join the NFL. The league needed a replacement, and Oakland was eventually chosen on January 30th, 1960.
A contest was held to name the team, and the winner was the “Oakland Senors.” After being poked fun of, the team quickly changed their name to the Raiders (which finished third in the contest). The team logo was also designed around this time, and the raider wearing a football helmet was reportedly patterned after the face of actor Randolph Scott.
The Raiders went 6-8 in their first season. They also lost $500,000 and had to get a loan from the founder of the Bills franchise, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.
Enter Al Davis
Al Davis, a former assistant coach for the San Diego Chargers, was hired as head coach and general manager after the 1962 season. Davis changed the team’s colors to silver and black and installed a vertical offense which emphasized more passing.
The team improved to 10-4 in 1963, and Davis was named Coach of the Year. In 1966, he would leave the team to become commissioner of the AFL. When the merger between the NFL and AFL was announced, his position was no longer needed, so he returned to the Raiders as part owner (having spent $18,000 to purchase 10 percent).
In 1967, the team won the AFL Championship and then fell to the Packers in Super Bowl II, 33-14. The following two years, the team would be eliminated in the AFL Championship.
In 1968, the team played against the Jets in what would be known as the “Heidi Game.” With 65 seconds remaining in the game – and the score extremely close – the network opted to cut away from the game and show a made-for-TV version of Heidi. Not surprisingly, fans were outraged.
John Madden became the head coach in 1969, and the team won six division titles during the 1970s. In 1976, the team defeated the Steelers in the AFC Championship and went on the beat the Vikings in Super Bowl XI, 32-14. During this time, the team was led by quarterback Kenny “The Snake” Stabler.
Beating the rival Steelers was sweet revenge for the Raiders, as the Steelers had kept them out of the Super Bowl in three of four consecutive years during the 70s (including the famous “Immaculate Reception” game).
In 1978, the team took on rival San Diego in what would later be known as the “Holy Roller” game. The Raiders fumbled the ball on a play and kept hitting and kicking it forward until it was finally in their opponent’s end zone. The ball was then recovered by the Raiders for a touchdown. After the game, the league made this tactic illegal.
Madden left in 1979 to pursue a career in television broadcasting. Under Madden’s direction, the team had ten consecutive winning seasons.
Tom Flores replaced Madden and became the league’s first Hispanic head coach. Behind quarterback Jim Plunkett, the team went 11-5 and won their second Super Bowl in five years by beating the Eagles, 27-10.
Moving to Los Angeles
When the city refused to make improvements to Oakland Coliseum and add luxury boxes, Al Davis moved the team to Los Angeles in 1982. In 1983, they were back in the Super Bowl, where they won their third NFL championship by beating the Redskins, 38-9.
The team struggled in the late 80s, and coach Mike Shanahan barely lasted more than a season. His firing in the early part of the 1989 season created a long-standing feud between he and Al Davis.
Art Shell was hired as his replacement, and he became the first African-American coach in the modern NFL. The Raiders finished 12-4 in 1990, but would only make two more playoff appearances in the decade. The team also faced the retirement or departure of star players like Howie Long, Marcus Allen and Bo Jackson. Shell was fired following the 1994 season.
Back to Oakland
Oakland Raiders football returned in 1995. They struggled for the next five seasons, but then John Gruden was hired to coach the team in 1998. After going 8-8 in both 1998 and 1999, the team finished the season 12-4 in 2000. Their quarterback at this time was Rich Gannon.
In 2001, the Raiders paired Jerry Rice with Tim Brown, and the team finished the year at 10-6. They were eliminated in the divisional round of the playoffs by the Patriots, in a game known by many as the “Tuck Rule Game.”
In 2002, the team once again made it to the Super Bowl, but they faced former coach John Gruden and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Raiders lost Super Bowl XXXVII by a score of 48-21.
Following their most recent Super Bowl appearance, the Raiders have posted five consecutive losing seasons. Even the addition of receiver Randy Moss didn’t seem to improve the team.
In 2007, the team named Lane Kiffin their new head coach, In the 2007 draft, the team selected quarterback JaMarcus Russell with the number one overall pick.
The Raider Nation
Worldwide fans of the NFL Oakland Raiders are known as the Raider Nation. Many attend home games wearing masks and black costumes (often with a skull motif). The rowdiest fans sit in the “Black Hole,” which is located in sections 104, 105, 106 and 107 of McAfee Coliseum.
Current Raiders Stars
The following players are some of the most recognized stars on the Raiders’ roster: JaMarcus Russell, LaMont Jordan, Justin Fargas, Javon Walker, Zach Miller, Sebastian Janikowski, Gibril Wilson, Michael Huff, DeAngelo Hall and Michael Bush.
Hall of Famers
The following players and coaches have been inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame: Marcus Allen (2003), Fred Biletnikoff (1988), George Blanda (1981), Willie Brown (1984), Dave Casper (2002), Al Davis (1992), Mike Haynes (1997), Ted Hendricks (1990), Howie Long (2000), John Madden (2006), Jim Otto (1980), Art Shell (1989) and Gene Upshaw (1987).
As for retired jerseys, the Raiders do not follow this practice.