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Team Spotlight: Oakland Raiders

Posted on September 10 2019

Through the years, the Oakland Raiders have cemented themselves in football history. Love them or hate them, they have made superstars out of players and coaches. The Oakland Raiders have won 15 division titles and attended three super Bowls. Not every team in the NFL can say that! To gain a better understanding of the NFL's Oakland Raiders (an AFC team), let's take a look at some of the high points of their history.

In the Beginning

The owner of the Los Angeles Chargers insisted that the franchise would be forfeited if a second team was not assigned to the West Coast. So, in 1960, the Oakland Raiders football club began. That meant that the eighth AFL franchise would now go to the city of Oakland. At that time, Minneapolis’ draft picks were inherited by the team.

Kezar Stadium was initially chosen as home field for the Raiders who had a 6-8 record at the end of their first season. But a problem arose. It was thought that they might not be able to continue to play because they were hurting financially. Ralph C. Wilson, Jr., the Buffalo Bills’ founder, loaned the team some money. Sadly, they only won a single game in their next season. They managed to improve their record to 10-4 with head coach Al Davis in 1963. They were now on the right track.

Winning an AFL Championship

The AFL championship was won in 1967 by the Raiders who knocked out the Houston Oilers. That guaranteed them a trip to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately for the Raiders, however, the Green Bay Packers, led by Vincent Lombardi, were victorious. John Madden, who became famous in his own right, was assigned as Raiders head coach in 1969. With his guidance and leadership, the Raiders would become one of the NFL's most successful teams. Sadly, three AFC championship losses were suffered by the Raiders from 1973 to 1975. But, never a team you could keep down, they won their first ever NFL title in the 1976 Super Bowl.

The Madden Years Continue – For A While

Before leaving for a TV commentator job in 1979, Madden helped the Raiders achieve 10 consecutive winning seasons. The first NFL Hispanic head coach in history, Tom Flores, took over his position. Number one draft pick Jim Plunkett fell into the job of quarterback when Dan Pastorini broke his leg in 1980. Plunkett ended up propelling the team to their first wildcard berth with an 11-5 record. The playoffs were swept by the Raiders, leading them to a Super Bowl XV matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles. Becoming the first wild card team ever to be victorious in the Super Bowl, the Raiders won convincingly against the Eagles, 27-10.

Trouble in Paradise

Drawn out legal battles ensued between owners and, in 1982, a move was made to Los Angeles by the Raiders. Fortunately, their third NFL championship was captured in 1983. Unfortunately, over the next five years, the performance of the team waned. Returning to much fanfare to Oakland in 1995, the Raiders were, once again, home. But, the season turned out to be disappointing with injuries plaguing the team and a start of 8-2. For the second consecutive season, the Raiders slipped out of playoff contention.

Things Are Looking up – Or Are They?

The Raiders won three divisional titles from 2000 to 2002 and made a Super Bowl XXXVll appearance. But interceptions hurt the Raiders and they lost badly to Tampa Bay, 48-21.

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