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The NFL’s Oakland Raiders have had two different eras in Oakland, interrupted by a period between 1982 and 1994 when they were based in Los Angeles. During the first stint in Oakland, 1960 to 1982, the team was one of the more successful teams in the league.
How did the Oakland Raiders Start up?
The Raiders began as an AFL expansion franchise in 1960 when they were awarded the slot originally meant for Minnesota. Initially the team was to be called the Oakland Senors, a name picked out of a fans contest but it was dropped due to public ridicule. Eddie Erdelatz, a San Francisco native and a former college football coach was hired as the Raiders’ first head coach. It is not known exactly why the name Raiders was chosen but it has a possible connection with first principal owner Chet Soda and his partners.
The Oakland raiders in Competition
The Raiders were one of the most successful football teams of their era. They amassed a total of three Super Bowl wins out of five appearances and were crowned division champions nine times. In their 22 year existence, they reached the playoffs 12 times. The Raiders kicked off their competitive life with a 37-22 loss to the Houston Oilers on September 11, 1960. They however got the better of the Oilers in a rematch two weeks later, winning 14-13 in Houston. They finished the 1960 season with a 6-8 record. They began the 1961 season in disastrous fashion, losing the first two games by a combined score of 99-0, prompting the club to fire Erdelatz. They eventually posted a woeful 2-12 record for the season. The following season was even worse as they finished with a 1-13 record.
They made major improvements starting the 1963 season as they finished in second place with a 10-4 record. From there it was all the way up as they made Super Bowl II in 1967. However they were beaten 33-14 by the formidable Green Bay Packers. After a near miss in the 1968 AFL Championship game, the Raiders would go into limbo, as they posted several average seasons before they made it back to the Super Bowl in 1976. Pitted against the Minnesota Vikings in Pasadena, the Raiders would win Super Bowl XI largely due to the impressive play of wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff. They made another super Bowl appearance in 1980 despite the lurking possibility of a move away from Oakland. With the Raiders pitted in a court battle with the NFL over the league’s refusal to allow relocation, they defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 27-10 in Super Bowl XV. After that win, the Raiders would spend only one more season in Oakland, posting a 7-9 record before finally transplanting to LA.
Oakland Raiders most Notable Moments
While it would be hard to rank the three Super Bowl in terms of importance to the Raiders, the 1980 version definitely has an edge due to the manner in which it was won. Embroiled in a bitter court battle with the NFL for their insistence that the team remains in an unconducive home, the Raiders pulled a miracle of sorts by beating the Eagles 27-10. The presentation of the Lombardi Trophy was a very uncomfortable affair for league commissioner Pete Rozelle as he handed the trophy to court nemesis Al Davis.
Oakland Raiders most Notable Players
Wide Receiver Fred Biletnikoff was a fixture in the Raiders roster between 1965 and 1978. His play was instrumental in the Raiders’ appearance in the AFC/AFL championship game (Super Bowl II) in 1967 as well as the 1976 Super Bowl XI win. He made more than 500 receptions and for 10 straight years with the Raiders, he made 40 or more receptions. He was inducted to the Pro Hall of Fame in 1988.
Quarterback Dave Casper was a member of the Raiders from 1974 to 1981, helping them to two Super Bowls. He was named in the Pro Bowl for four straight seasons between 1976 and 1979. He made five touchdowns in the post season of 1977, a record that stands to date.
Other notable players include Ted Hendricks, Gene Upshaw, Ray Guy, Jim Plunkett and George Blanda.
What Happened to the Oakland Raiders?
Al Davis, owner of the Raiders was unhappy with the condition of the team’s home, the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum and wanted the city to make improvements, with the addition of luxury boxes being his main goal. However, the city of Oakland refused and Davis began to push for a move to Los Angeles prior to the 1980 season where the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum lay in wait to be occupied.
The move however was shot down by the league owners, but Davis defied them and tried to move the team anyway. The league filed an injunction in court which blocked the move but Davis in turn filed an antitrust lawsuit which he won in 1982 following an appeal. Before the beginning of the 1982 season, the Raiders finally relocated to Los Angeles and became the Los Angeles Raiders.