The Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders were one of the original AFL teams, joining that league in 1960. They ended up in Oakland after the owner of the San Diego Chargers wanted a second west coast football team. The Raiders eventually joined the NFL in 1970. They have been Super Bowl champions three times: 1977, 1981, and 1984. Notable Raiders players include Marcus Allen, Ken Stabler and Howie Long.
The badge of the team is a pirate on a black crest. The simple badge is emblematic of the Raiders' spirit: a swashbuckling, often violent team that often plays the villain. Their late owner, Al Davis, invoked a lot of that spirit after taking control of the team in 1976.
This spirit has been adopted by Raiders fans, known collectively as the black hole. Raiders fans are some of the most ferocious in the league, seen often in the crowd in over the top fancy dress evoking punk, metal and goth imagery.
PRO TIP: Al Davis embodied his villainous and tenacious spirit in his most famous quote "Just win, baby!" He was often seen saying it after his team won a championship.
Part of the streak of playing the villain began with the Raiders' love of moving. Originally the team settled in Oakland but, after a dispute with the local government over a new stadium, the Raiders wanted to move to Los Angeles in 1980.
When Davis signed a memo to move the team there, the NFL denied the owner's wishes. This lead to a bitter lawsuit between the league and the team, which the Raiders eventually won. They officially moved to LA in 1982.
Again, after a stadium issue, the Raiders moved back to Oakland in 1995. Now, after a third time in which the current owner, Mark Davis, Al's son, has been unhappy with the stadium, the Oakland Raiders are set to become the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020 when a new stadium will be built for them.
How They Look Now?
The current Raiders are now competing at the same high level from the past. In new head coach Jon Gruden's first season, they finished 4-12. They lost the Super Bowl to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002 and have only had one winning season since then.
PRO TIP: That Buccaneers team that the Raiders lost to was coached by Jon Gruden.
The Raiders don't need much to turn around and be as good as they were before. But they could also burn out in spectacular fashion with an enigmatic coach like Gruden at the helm.
The Raiders have had many famous players but most were from their glory days in the 70s and 80s. Some of their most famous players are:
- Ken Stabler
- Marcus Allen
- George Blanda
- Bo Jackson
Ken Stabler was the Raiders quarterback when the team won their first Super Bowl, enshrining him in team lore for good. He was actually a member of the squad for all three Super bowl seasons but didn't play in the postseason during either the 1981 or 1984 run.
Marcus Allen was the face of the Los Angeles version of the team, joining the Raiders in 1982 and staying with them all the way through to their return to Oakland, retiring in 1997. Allen is the 14th all-time leading rusher in NFL history.
It's not often a kicker is one of the team's most famous players but what helps George Blanda is he was both a kicker and quarterback, helping early Raiders offenses in multiple ways. Blanda was one of the last dual-position players as the NFL transitioned to more specialized roles shortly after his career ended.
Speaking of dual positions, Bo Jackson only played running back for the Raiders, playing alongside Allen, but he also played professional baseball. He was the first athlete in history with an All-Star appearance in two major league U.S. sports.