Know thy enemy…
The Oakland Raiders were founded in 1960. No one’s sure where they were found, but it is suspected that it was in a dark, dreary, and very warm place that no one wanted to be. They were even re-founded in 1995. In between they were on the lam in Los Angeles. Ironically, they were formed as a last minute addition for the AFL after Minnesota joined the NFL instead of the AFL. Oakland didn’t even ask for a team, but the AFL needed an 8th team, and the Chargers owner threatened to drop out if there wasn’t another West coast team. So we have the Chargers to thank for the mess that followed. They even had a team naming contest, and the winner was the Oakland Señors. There were so many jokes made about the name that it only lasted 9 days when they changed the name to the 3rd place name, which was the Raiders. This selection was appropriate because the Raiders not being in 1st or 2nd place would make up a large part of their future history…. The team colors were originally black, gold and white. After the 1962 and 1963 seasons, where they went a combined 3-25, including a 19 game losing streak, they decided to drop the overly-optimistic gold color and go with silver. The rumor was that they used this color, so they could use black sweatshirts and duct tape for the uniforms.
This was the time they hired Al Davis to be the coach. He spent 3 years as their coach before becoming the commissioner of the AFL. He only lasted 2 months in that position because the AFL and NFL merged, and he was no longer commissioner. Sounds like my writing career. Now in between jobs, trying to get back into the Raiders organization, money was tight, and he had to resort to cutting his 11-year-old son Mark’s hair himself using a Tupperware bowl and some old scissors.
In 1969, the raiders hired video game developer John Madden as coach. He was known for his fondness of turkey drumsticks, which he often presented to his games MVPs… The rest of the turkeys formed the nucleus of his teams…
A major event occurred in 1972. At the time, Wayne Valley and Ed McGah were the main owners, and Al Davis had just a 10% stake in the team. While Valley took off for a few weeks to see the Munich Olympics, Davis had his attorneys draw up ownership papers giving Davis total control over the Raiders. He managed to talk McGah into signing them, taking over complete control of the team. Valley wasn’t happy when he learned of this, took it to court but lost. The Raiders players weren’t the only ones that played dirty…
This started a period where the Raiders were winning games and BS like that, so we’ll skip this period.
In 1982, Davis moved the team to Los Angeles. They would remain a solid part of the city’s homeless population for the next 12 years, when they would then move back to Oakland. It was around this time that Davis coined the phrase “Just win, baby” signifying putting winning above everything such as rules, sportsmanship and such. This did not go unnoticed by a future Patriots coach who chose to follow the same principles. His little known version of the saying was “Just deny it, Brady”. The return to Oakland also gave birth to what is known as “the black hole”. The name refers to the area of the stadium that has sucks all useful brain cells out of the individuals residing there, leaving them nothing but an empty shell that basically spills beer, yells vulgarities, and think that dressing like a pro wrestler is a good idea. It is believed they are politicians during the off season.
After some winning seasons, the Raiders come to their glory years. From 2003 to 2009 they had a combined record of 29 wins and 83 losses. They were the first team in history to lose 11 or more games in 7 straight seasons. Trying to end their losing ways, in 2007 they drafted JaMarcus Russell first overall. They found he quickly adapted to the Raiders culture and the losing continued.
In 2010, the Raiders managed an 8-8 record, becoming the first team to sweep their division and not make the playoffs. Coach Tom Cable said “I finally began to feel that we weren’t losers”. Al Davis fired him for saying that. (Probably because everyone knew they were still losers). In 2011 Al Davis passed away. His son Mark inherited the team and the family Tupperware bowl. However, the Raiders would continue their losing ways.
In 2018, the Raiders hired the renowned Hollywood horror movie star Chucky as their coach. To date, they have failed to win more games in a season than the number of movies their coach made (8). However, they managed to maintain fan interest and excitement with such personnel moves like hiring Television personality Mike Mayock as their new GM. Mayock started his new job with a splash trading for Antonio Brown from the Steelers. They traded a 3rd and 5th round draft pick for him, but apparently forgot to include his helmet in the trade. Brown arrived at training camp in a hot air balloon. Apparently the over-abundance of hot air in the balloon caused it to raise to a higher elevation than planned, and he got his feet frostbitten. Things went downhill from there.
In 2020, they relocated to Las Vegas. Time will tell if what goes in Vegas stays in Vegas… The Raiders probably won’t. However, they still manage to have strange things happen – In a 2020 game against the Dolphins, the defensive backs coaches were ruled out of the game due to COVID, and GM Mike Mayock filled in as the defensive backs coach. They still lost.
To summarize, while the Raiders try to provide entertainment to their fans, the reality is that they are more entertaining to the other teams fans. In the last 18 seasons, the Raiders have had 1 winning season – and yet they are the ones that trademarked “Commitment to Excellence”.