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Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Flash Points: Raiders' defining moment

By Bill Williamson

What key event significantly changed the fortunes of the Raiders -– for better or worse? Give us your take and we’ll give you our definitive moment May 24.

Any Oakland Raiders history lesson begins with Al Davis. He joined the team in 1963 as a coach and we all know the rest. Davis is arguably the most famous owner in the history of sports.

After years of playing the bridesmaid, the Raiders were finally champions with a thumping of Minnesota in Super Bowl XI. The Raiders went on to win two more Super Bowl titles, but this was significant because it was the first title and it came during the NFL’s golden age in the 1970s.

After leaving for Los Angeles in 1982 the Raiders moved back to Oakland, where they belong, in 1995. Before I covered the NFL on a full-time basis, I went to the Raiders’ first game back in Oakland as a spectator. It was electric, certainly one of the more memorable sporting events I’ve attended.

Not all of these moments are positive, and the trade of coach Jon Gruden to Tampa Bay in 2002 qualifies as one of the negatives. The Raiders lost to Gruden and the Buccaneers in the Super Bowl in his first season in Tampa and haven’t had a winning season since. The loss of Gruden was a major hit for this franchise.

Honestly, I could have posted 10 options for this storied franchise. If you have a better option than what we have listed, hit Other in the SportsNation poll and let us know in the comments section.