The L.A. Raiders

Graeme
By
Posted: December 21, 2014


The Los Angeles Raiders were a professional American football team that existed between 1982 and 1994 as part of the history of the Oakland Raiders, a successful NFL team. During their time in Los Angeles, the team was based at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

How did the Raiders Start up?

The franchise that became the LA Raiders had existed since 1960 as the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders had been a relatively successful team having won several Championships and two Super Bowls. In the years leading up to the relocation to Los Angeles, club president Al Davis had tried unsuccessfully to have improvements made to the Oakland Coliseum. Frustrated, Davis decided to seek a move to Los Angeles but this was shot down by NFL owners 22-0. As a result the LA Memorial Coliseum and the Raiders filed two antitrust lawsuits, the second of which granted the Raiders a much coveted move. The team finally moved to LA ahead of the 1982 season and made the LA Coliseum their home.

The LA Raiders in Competition

They made the playoffs in the strike-shortened 1982 season after finishing 8-1 but were eliminated by the Jets in round 2 of the playoffs. They made amends in the 1983 season, sailing all the way to the Super Bowl XVIII in which they routed the Washington Redskins 38-9 for the franchise’s third Super Bowl championship. They returned to the playoffs in 1985 after winning another division title but they were beaten by the New England Patriots. After that, the raiders were on the decline as they had to wait until 1990 to make the playoffs again where they were obliterated 51-3 by the Buffalo Bills. They returned to the divisional playoffs twice during the remainder of the 90s but lost both times and eventually posted a 9-7 record in 1994, their final season in LA.

The Raiders Most Notable Moments

Team owner Al Davis had a stormy relationship with star running back Marcus Allen. Trouble began brewing in 1986 when Davis publicly accused Allen of faking injuries and called him the “cancer of the team” following a contract dispute. In subsequent years, amid further injury woes Allen was relegated down the ranks as the relationship between the pair got worse. It reached an all-time low in December 1992. During halftime of a clash with the Dolphins Marcus told Monday Night Football that he was convinced Davis was out to ruin his career by denying him game time so as to stop him from entering the Hall of Fame.

Victory in Super Bowl XVIII was definitely the highlight of the Raiders’ stay in Los Angeles. En route to the Super Bowl, the Raiders would rout the Cleveland Browns and the San Diego Chargers to become the first AFC wild card to reach the Super Bowl. They faced the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl in a one-sided affair which ended 27-10 in favor of the Raiders. At the time, the Raiders were embroiled in a lawsuit against the NFL and NFL officials put up a thinly veiled support for the Eagles. The presentation of the trophy was an uncomfortable affair as NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle had to present Al Davis with the Lombardi Trophy.

Raiders’ Most Notable Players

Hall of Famer Marcus Allen signed for the LA Raiders as a rookie in 1982 and he hit the ground running as he rushed for 697 yards to help the team to a conference topping 8-1 record in the strike shortened 1982 season. His greatest contribution in Raiders colors was his heroics in the Super Bowl XVIII which saw him rush for 191 yards and score two touchdowns as they hammered the Redskins 38-9. He also made a 74 Yard touchdown that remained a Super Bowl record until Super Bowl XL when it was broken by Willie Parker of the Pittsburg Steelers.

Cornerback Mike Haines joined in 1983 and formed a formidable partnership with Lester Hayes, an important factor in the Raiders’ Super Bowl XVIII victory. He made 18 interceptions in seven seasons with the raiders for a career total of 46 for 688 yards. He also made a team-record 97-yard touchdown against Miami in 1984. He is widely considered the best corner back in the history of the NFL.

Howie Long played defensive end for the Raiders between 1982 to 1993, having stayed on from Oakland. He made a career high 13 sacks in 1983 including 5 against the Redskins in the Super Bowl. Between 1983 and 1986 he helped the Raiders defense record 249 sacks which ranked joint top with the Chicago Bears. He entered the Hall of Fame in 2000.

What Happened to the Los Angeles Raiders?

As early as 1988 with the team clearly unable to replicate the success of the early years in LA, there was already talk of a move back to Oakland. Al Davis was unhappy with the unenthusiastic crowd in Los Angeles and there were signs he longed to return the franchise to Oakland. In 1994, after 13 largely unsatisfying years in Los Angeles, the Raiders announced that they would move back to Oakland for the 1995 season. The city of Oakland had agreed to a massive makeover of the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum. The team was welcomed back to Oakland with great fanfare and the original Oakland Raiders was reborn, signaling the end of the LA raiders.

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