The Oakland Raiders are a National Football League team based in Oakland, California.
Founded: 1960 (charter American Football League member; joined NFL in 1970 merger)
Formerly known as: Los Angeles Raiders (1982-1994)
Home field: McAfee Coliseum (a.k.a. "The Black Hole") (1966-1981, 1995-present)
Previous home fields:
Kezar Stadium (1960)
Candlestick Park (1961)
Frank Youell Field (1962-1965)
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (1982-1994)
Uniform colors: 1960-1962: Black, Gold and White, 1963-Present: Silver and Black
Helmet design: Silver with a black shield with crossed swords and image of a Raider.
League championships won: AFL 1967; NFL 1976, 1980, 1983
Super Bowl appearances: II (lost), XI (won), XV (won), XVIII (won), XXXVII (lost)
Legally, the team is a limited partnership operated by Al Davis, who serves as President of the team's general partner, A.D. Football, Inc.
The Oakland Raiders were a charter member of the American Football League
. The Raiders' image was synonymous with the AFL
's: brash and bold. Starting out as a poor franchise with a weak team playing in Frank Youell Field, towards the end of the 1960s
it became an AFL powerhouse and one of professional football's most consistent teams. The franchise is tied with the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs
for the most post-season games played as an AFL team, six.
The team spent its first three seasons changing stadiums and losing more games than it won. Al Davis, a former assistant coach for the San Diego Chargers, was hired as head coach and general manager in 1963. He reorganized the Raiders, and the team improved to a 10-4 won-loss record. Four years later, the club captured the 1967 AFL Championship. Clem Daniels, Billy Cannon, Hoot Gibson , Art Powell and Daryle Lamonica were among many great players to wear the "silver and black", to be joined in 1967 by AFL legend George Blanda at the start of his nine-year career with the Raiders. In 1966, Davis became Commissioner of the AFL and is considered a driving force in raising the AFL to competitive levels that forced the NFL to merge with the younger league. The Raiders appeared in Super Bowl II (the first of five Super Bowls) in 1968 but lost to the NFL champion Green Bay Packers. In 1970, the AFL-NFL merger took place, and the Raiders joined the West Division of the American Football Conference in the newly merged National Football League.
In 1969, John Madden became the team's head coach, and during the 1970s he helped start the Raiders' ascent towards their current status as one of the most successful franchises in NFL history, starting with their 1977 Super Bowl XI win over the Minnesota Vikings. In spite of his success, Madden left coaching in 1979 to pursue a career as a television football commentator.
In 1982, the Oakland Raiders moved to Los Angeles, California to play their home games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum; they won the championship the following year. Also that year Al Davis hired future hall of famer Art Shell to coach the Offensive Line . Shell held that position until 1988 when he was made the team's Head Coach. This was momentous as it made Shell the first ever African American Head Coach in the history of the NFL. In 1987, the Raiders drafted dual-sport athlete Bo Jackson after he originally decided to not play professional football in 1986 (when drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round). Al Davis's perceived infatuation with Jackson caused a major rift between Davis and star running back Marcus Allen, who eventually left to play for the Kansas City Chiefs. This also marked a somewhat down period in Raider franchise history, both on the field and, more importantly, off the field. This period was marked by the career-ending injury of Bo Jackson in 1990, the failure of troubled quarterback Todd Marinovich, and the departure of Marcus Allen in 1993. After the following season, the Raiders moved back to Oakland.
By 2000, the Raiders began to reclaim their position among the NFL's greatest teams, highlighted by the emergence of veteran quarterback Rich Gannon as one of the best all-around quarterbacks in Raiders history.
The Raiders acquired all-time leading receiver Jerry Rice prior to the 2001 season. They finished 10-6, but lost their divisional playoff game to the eventual Super Bowl champion New England Patriots in the controversial "tuck" game, in which an apparent fumble by the Patriots (that was recovered by the Raiders) was reviewed and determined to be an incomplete pass.
The Raiders finished the 2002 season with an 11-5 record and clinched the top seed in the playoffs. Gannon was named MVP of the league, and the Raiders made their fifth Super Bowl appearance following the season, only to lose to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The 2003 season was a 180-degree turnaround for the Raiders. They finished with a losing record of 4-12, tied with three other teams for the worst record in the NFL, and the worst record ever for a team who were Super Bowl contenders one season previously. In fact, in a press conference at the end of one game, then-coach Bill Callahan berated both his players and the media for the team's poor performance that season. After the end of the 2003 regular season, Callahan was fired, and ultimately replaced by current head coach Norv Turner.
In the 2004-2005 season, their first season under Turner, the Raiders continued to suffer on the field, posting their second consecutive losing record (5-11), heavy laden with turnovers and injuries.
The Raiders are the most litigious team in the NFL. They have been involved in several lawsuits, most famously with the cities of Los Angeles and Oakland, as well as the NFL. Also, they were the only team that was not a defendant in the USFL's ultimately unsuccessful antitrust suit against the NFL; Davis was a witness for the USFL in that action. The Raiders sued the city of Los Angeles over the fact that the city backed out of a stadium deal for the team. After moving back to Oakland, they were sued by the NFL for losing the Los Angeles television market, the second largest in the United States. Their most recent legal battle is with the city of Oakland. In this lawsuit, the Raiders agreed that they would sell out all of their home games, in exchange for the city helping to renovate their stadium. They did this by issuing "personal seating licenses", without which fans cannot buy tickets to the games.
Players of note
None (the Raider organization does not retire the jersey numbers of former players)
Last updated: 05-06-2005 14:42:58