The Oakland Raiders are on the move again in 2019 after 46 years in Oakland and 13 years in Los Angeles. This time the Silver and Black are headed to the Entertainment Capital of the World, Las Vegas. The Raiders will play the next two years (possibly three) in Oakland and it will be an extremely awkward two years as they prepare to leave the city that loved them. But the turmoil surrounding the decision to leave will not negate the rich history and exciting moments in Raiders history.
Here are the top 10 moments in Oakland Raiders history:
10. The Playoff Drought Is Over
Derek Carr was selected with the 36th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Less than two weeks later, he signed his rookie contract of 4 years, 5.37 million. He played backup to Matt Schaub in all the preseason games and earned the starting quarterback job after impressing both coaches and fans in the last preseason game.
Over the last decade, Raiders fans haven’t had much to cheer about until the 2016 NFL season. After 14 consecutive seasons of missing the playoffs, the Raiders were led by MVP candidate Derek Carr and NFL Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack. They finished the season with 12 wins and punched their ticket to the playoffs with their Week 15 win over Philip Rivers and the Chargers in San Diego.
9. The Raiders Return To The Big Game
In the 2002 AFC Divisional Playoffs, the Raiders played the New England Patriots in the final game ever played at Foxboro Stadium. The Raiders lost to the Patriots 16-13 on a snow covered field on a controversial game-deciding play which eventually became known as the tuck rule.
After the disappointing loss the season before, the Raiders were determined to make it to the Super Bowl. The Raiders made it to the big game under first-year coach Bill Callahan. Oakland beat the Jets and the Titans in the earlier playoff games by an average of 18.5 points. Unfortunately, the Raiders lost to the Jon Gruden-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48-21, after the Raiders traded his contract rights to acquire draft picks that season.
8. Red Right 88
One of most disappointing moments in Cleveland Brown’s history is one of the most memorable in Oakland Raiders history. On a freezing day at Cleveland Stadium, the Browns trailed by only two points with the ball on the Raiders 13-yard-line late in the game. A simple field goal kick would have secured the win, but the Browns elected to go for the touchdown.
7. The Raiders Are A Football Power
The Raiders first three years in the newly formed AFL were dismal at best. They had only won nine games heading into the 1963 season and only had one win the season before. Enter Raiders legend, Al Davis.
In his first year with the organization, Davis, formerly a receivers coach with the San Diego Chargers, replaced the team’s original gold and black uniforms with the current silver and black scheme. Under his leadership as the head coach and general manager, the Raiders shocked the rest of the AFL by winning ten games. They finished with a record of 10–4, which was good for second place in the Western Division, one game behind the eventual AFL champion Chargers, whom they had defeated twice. The Raiders swept the Western division in 1963, winning all six games. For his role in the Raiders’ miraculous turnaround, Al Davis was named the AFL’s “Coach of the Year”. The Raiders would have only one losing season in the next 17 years.
6. The Heidi Game
In the late 1960s, few professional football games took longer than two and a half hours to play, and the Jets–Raiders’ three-hour time slot was thought to be enough time. A high-scoring contest, together with a number of injuries and penalties for the two bitter AFL rivals, caused the game to run long. NBC executives had originally ordered that Heidi begin at 7:00 p.m. ET, but decided to allow the game to air to its conclusion. However, as 7 p.m. approached, NBC’s switchboards were blocked by viewers phoning in to inquire about the night’s schedule, preventing the planned change from being communicated.
The Raiders scored two touchdowns, one from their star QB Daryle Lamonica and the other from a fumble recovery from reserve RB Preston Ridlehuber, winning the game 43-32. Oakland kicked off to New York again, but it could do little with the ball in the final seconds. Sadly, fans around the nation never got to see the comeback from the Oakland Raiders.
5. Bo Versus The Boz
Nov. 30, 1987. The day when the troubled and insolent Brian Bosworth promised to shut down the explosive and electrifying Bo Jackson. The game had spun into an epic showdown between two of the most popular rookies in NFL history. To some extent, it was good versus evil, talent versus talk, offense versus defense, the greatest athlete of all time versus the game’s greatest villain.
In the second quarter of the game, Bo blew past Boz in the open field for a spectacular 91-yard touchdown. In the second half, Jackson took a handoff near the goal line, moved to his left, cut toward the end zone and bulldozed Bosworth for his third score of the night on his way to a Monday Night Football-record 221 rushing yards. This was the Birth of Bo and the End of the Boz.
4. Sea Of Hands
Before the game, analysts were referring to the matchup with the Dolphins and Raiders as “Super Bowl Eight-and-a-Half,” since the winner was widely expected to advance to Super Bowl IX. The expectations were understandable: The Raiders had gone 12-2 during their regular season and had appeared in five of the previous seven AFC Championship games, while the Dolphins, 11-3 that year, had appeared in the previous three Super Bowls and were two-time defending champions. It pitted the Don Shula-led Miami Dolphins against the John Madden-led Oakland Raiders at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
The game was ultimately decided in the final seconds by a now-iconic play in which Oakland quarterback Ken Stabler launched an 8-yard touchdown pass to running back Clarence Davis, who seemed tightly covered but somehow wrestled the ball away from multiple Miami defenders to secure victory for the Raiders, thus effectively ending Miami’s historic run of Super Bowl appearances.
3. Ghost To The Post
This game was simply one of the greatest games in NFL history. To this date, the game is still the fifth-longest in pro football history. The game also marked the last playoff appearance for the Baltimore-based Colts. The name “Ghost to the Post” refers to the play that ultimately tied the game for the Raiders.
Specifically, it refers to the 42-yard pass from Ken Stabler to Dave Casper, nicknamed “The Ghost” after Casper the Friendly Ghost, that set up a game-tying field goal in the final seconds of regulation in a double-overtime playoff game played between Casper’s Oakland Raiders and the then-Baltimore Colts on December 24, 1977. Casper also caught the last pass of the game, a 10-yard touchdown pass.
2. Raiders Bring Home Lombardi Again
Super Bowl XV was the climax of Jim Plunkett‘s revival as an NFL starting quarterback. The 1970 Heisman Trophy winner was drafted by the New England Patriots and was later named the 1971 NFL Rookie of the Year. But Plunkett suffered through five losing seasons with the Patriots and two uneven seasons with the San Francisco 49ers before being released as a free agent. Plunkett was signed by Oakland to be their backup quarterback, and thus he did not see much playing time. But after the Raiders started the 1980 season with a 2–3 record, starter Dan Pastorini broke his leg and suddenly Plunkett was thrust into the starting role. Plunkett made 165 out of 320 pass completions for 2,299 yards, 18 touchdown passes, was intercepted 15 times and earned the Raiders a wild card spot.
Aided by two touchdown passes from Plunkett, the Raiders jumped out to a 14–0 lead in the first quarter, from which the Eagles never recovered. Oakland linebacker Rod Martin also intercepted Philadelphia quarterback Ron Jaworski three times for a Super Bowl record. Plunkett was named the Super Bowl MVP after completing 13 of 21 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for 9 yards. The Raiders defeated the Eagles by the score of 27–10, becoming the first wild card playoff team to win a Super Bowl.
1. Oakland Raiders Win Their First Super Bowl
Your first of anything is always the most memorable: your first car, your first love, your first Super Bowl victory. For the Raiders, this couldn’t be any more true. This game marked the second Super Bowl appearance for the Oakland Raiders, who lost Super Bowl II. Two years after their Super Bowl loss, the Raiders hired John Madden as their head coach. Under Madden, the Raiders posted an 83–22–7 record in his eight seasons. But Super Bowl XI was the first time Madden led his team to a league championship game. They had been eliminated in all 6 of their previous playoff appearances, including 5 losses in the AFC Championship Game.
Oakland gained a Super Bowl record 429 yards, including a Super Bowl record 288 yards in the first half, en route to winning Super Bowl XI. After a scoreless first quarter, Oakland scored on three consecutive possessions to take a 16–0 lead at halftime. The Raiders also had two fourth quarter interceptions, including cornerback Willie Brown‘s 75-yard return for a touchdown. Oakland wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff, who had 4 catches for 79 yards that set up three Raider touchdowns, was named the game’s Most Valuable Player (MVP). Ken Stabler of the Raiders became the first left-handed quarterback to win the Super Bowl.