professional football team and one of five teams in the Western Division
of the American Football Conference (AFC) of the National Football
League (NFL). The Raiders play at Network Associates Coliseum in
Alameda, California, and wear uniforms of silver and black.
The Raiders were professional football’s most consistent team from the
mid-1960s through the mid-1980s, reaching the playoffs 15 times and
earning four NFL or American Football League (AFL) titles in 19 seasons.
As AFL champions, they played in the second Super Bowl, in 1968, and
lost to the Green Bay Packers. During John Madden’s ten years as head
coach (1969-1978), Oakland played in seven league or conference
championship games and won one Super Bowl, in 1977. From 1980 to 1993
the team reached the postseason eight times, winning the Super Bowl in
1981 and 1984. The Raiders are the only team that appeared in at least
one Super Bowl each decade during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.
The Raiders joined the AFL as a charter member in 1960. The team spent
its first three seasons changing stadiums and recording losing records.
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 win-loss record. Four years later, the
club captured the 1967 AFL title under head coach John Rauch.
Quarterback Daryle Lamonica won the first of his two passing titles as
Oakland advanced to the Super Bowl to face the NFL-champion Green Bay
Packers. Green Bay won 33-14, but the Raiders had established themselves
as an AFL power. The Raiders reached the AFL Championship Game under
Rauch in 1968 and again in 1969, this time under former Raiders
assistant coach John Madden, who had taken over the head coaching
duties. Madden was named AFL coach of the year in 1969 when, at age 32,
he was the AFL’s youngest coach.
Oakland joined the NFL in 1970 when the NFL and AFL completed their
merger. The team promptly won the 1970 Western Division crown and
advanced to the AFC Championship Game, where they lost to the Baltimore
Colts (now Indianapolis Colts). Under Madden the Raiders gained a
reputation as one of the most intimidating teams in professional sports.
Their character was exemplified by center Jim Otto and offensive linemen
Art Shell and Gene Upshaw, who fiercely protected quarterbacks George
Blanda and Kenny Stabler. The Raiders lost three consecutive AFC
Championship Games from 1973 to 1975 before winning the game in 1976. In
the subsequent Super Bowl, veteran wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff played
an outstanding game as the club defeated the Minnesota Vikings, 32-14.
Madden left the Raiders after the 1978 season and was replaced by Tom
Flores, who had been the team’s first quarterback. In Flores’s nine
seasons as head coach he led the club to five postseason appearances and
two Super Bowl championships. Quarterback Jim Plunkett, playing his
first full season in Oakland in 1980, commanded a potent offense that
also starred wide receiver Cliff Branch and running back Mark van Eeghen.
That year the Raiders became the first wild-card playoff team to win a
Super Bowl, defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 27-10.
With hopes of a better-equipped stadium and more fan support, the
Raiders franchise moved to Los Angeles, California, following the 1981
season. At its new home in the Los Angeles Coliseum, the team put
together a 12-4 record in 1983 and returned to the Super Bowl. Plunkett,
running back Marcus Allen, and tight end Todd Christiansen powered an
offense that crushed its three postseason opponents by an average of 24
points. The Raiders’ defensive stars were cornerback Lester Hayes and
end Howie Long.
From 1986 to 1989 the Raiders failed to make the playoffs. Coached by
former Raider player Art Shell, the club rebounded with three postseason
appearances in four years from 1990 to 1993. Shell was named coach of
the year in 1990. Tim Brown emerged as one of the league’s swiftest wide
receivers and most skilled punt returners during the 1990s. Following
the 1994 season Shell left the team and the Raiders moved back to
Oakland, as fan support in Los Angeles reached an all-time low and
disagreements over renovations of the Los Angeles Coliseum continued
between the city and owner Al Davis. After the 13-year hiatus, the
Oakland City Council welcomed the team back with a remodeled, expanded
stadium and helped the franchise pay for relocation expenses. Despite
the move, the club remained near the bottom of the division through the
mid- and late 1990s.
IV SUPER BOWL RECORD
1968 Super Bowl II Lost to Green Bay Packers, 33-14
1977 Super Bowl XI Defeated Minnesota Vikings, 32-14
1981 Super Bowl XV Defeated Philadelphia Eagles, 27-10
1984 Super Bowl XVIII Defeated Washington Redskins, 38-9
NFL History Guide