ALAMEDA, Calif. -- With the Oakland Raiders withdrawing their bid to relocate to Los Angeles on Tuesday night, the St. Louis Rams getting the green light to move to neighboring Hollywood Park in Inglewood and the San Diego Chargers having an option to join the Rams, the Raiders are apparently set to stay in Oakland for at least one more year.
ESPN.com NFL Nation reporter Tania Ganguli reported that Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said the Raiders and Chargers would both get $100 million from the league to stay in their respective home markets.
Let's look back at the top 10 moments to remember of the Raiders' in Oakland. And it is important to note that most of these moments occurred during their first Oakland stay.
Winning Super Bowl XI: After so many close calls -- three straight losses in the AFC title game the previous three years, three straight losses in the conference championship game from 1968-1970 and a defeat in Super Bowl II -- the Raiders finally broke through, thumping the Minnesota Vikings 32-14 at the Rose Bowl. “Al [Davis] and I hugged in the locker room five minutes after the game and I said, ‘We finally did it,’” Ken Stabler told HBO Sports. “And his reply was, ‘Can you do it again?’”
Winning Super Bowl XV: Having missed the playoffs the previous two years, the Raiders, behind the Lazarus-like Jim Plunkett, became the first wild-card team to win a Lombardi Trophy, beating up on the favored Philadelphia Eagles 27-10 in the New Orleans Superdome to give the Raiders two titles in five years. They’d win a third three years later in Los Angeles, but I digress. The 1980 Raiders were foundering at 2-3, so the heat was on from owner Al Davis. “I was in a little trouble,” then-coach Tom Flores said, referencing the Raiders’ 2-3 start. “Al was a little ticked off because of how we were playing. It was a season full of doubt. Can Plunkett still play? Can I coach? We did it the hard way, by being the wild card.”
The return to Oakland in 1995: After a 13-year sojourn in Los Angeles, the prodigal sons returned to the East Bay with much fanfare, a reconfigured Coliseum and promises of a return to greatness. Alas, in the 21 seasons since the return, the Raiders have had only three winning seasons and a blowout loss in Super Bowl XXXVII.
The Sea of Hands: In one of the most iconic plays in NFL history, Ken Stabler, being pulled down by Miami Dolphins defensive end Vern Den Herder, somehow got a pass off on first-and-goal from the 8-yard line to running back Clarence Davis in the end zone at the Coliseum. He outfought a sea of hands for the game-winning score to knock the two-time defending Super Bowl champion Miami Dolphins out of the 1974 AFC playoffs. “Clarence has a huge heart,” Stabler said. “Great runner, tough kid, wonderful person. Worst hands on the team.”
The Ghost to the Post: On Christmas Eve 1977, Stabler uncorks a long pass to tight end Dave Casper late in the fourth quarter of a divisional playoff game at the Baltimore Colts and Casper uses his baseball skills to haul in the ball with a Willie Mays-style over-the-shoulder grab as he adjusted on the fly running toward the right pylon. The play got the Raiders in field-goal range to tie the game with a kick just before the end of regulation before they won in overtime. “I don’t think I caught a pass on that all year,” Casper told NFL Films. “They weren’t going to let [Cliff] Branch get deep, so they put two guys on him, and they weren’t going to let Fred [Biletnikoff] get open. I was supposed to run the post pattern but they came from the inside, covering me.”
1976 AFC championship: Having lost the previous two AFC title games to the eventual Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers, plus the Immaculate Reception playoff game four years earlier, the Raiders finally broke through against their archrivals with a dominant 24-7 defeat of the Steelers in the conference championship game in Oakland. The Raiders then rolled the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI. “The Steelers got what they deserved,” Raiders linebacker Phil Villapiano told NFL Network. “They got a nice butt-kicking that afternoon.”
1980 wild-card game: Why is a wild-card game so important? Because of the opponent. Yes, the Raiders pummeled the preseason AFC favorite Houston Oilers and their first-year quarterback, a familiar face in Stabler, sacking him seven times and picking him off twice, including a 20-yard pick-six by Lester Hayes to finish off a 27-7 Raiders victory at the Coliseum. “We made some mental mistakes, we made some physical mistakes,” Stabler, traded before that season for Dan Pastorini, said after the game, per Sports Illustrated. “Sometimes we had the wrong protection called. I can't call this game a personal thing because I didn't play well enough to win. I know they're playing better defense than they used to.”
2002 AFC title game: “The Silver and Black is back!” So bellowed Raiders radio announcer Greg Papa as the final seconds ticked off at the Coliseum and Oakland and the team, city and, well, Raider Nation celebrated a 41-24 defeat of the Tennessee Titans to win their first conference championship in 19 years behind a stingy defense and an explosive offense behind league MVP Rich Gannon. Alas, there was no week break before the Super Bowl that year and Jon Gruden and his new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, awaited. The Raiders lost in a rout and have not had a winning record since.
Red Right 88: Mike Davis, his teammates said, had hands so bad he couldn’t catch a cold. Good thing it did not matter, as the temperature at kickoff of this 1980 AFC divisional playoff game in Cleveland between the Browns and Raiders was a frigid 4 degrees. With the Browns at Oakland’s 13-yard line, less than a minute to play and the Raiders leading 14-12, Cleveland coach Sam Rutigliano opted against kicking a field goal for the win. Don Cockroft had already missed two FGs as well as a PAT. Rather, Rutigliano called a passing play, Red Right 88, and Brian Sipe had Ozzie Newsome open in the end zone for a split second. But Davis jumped the route and got the game-saving interception. “I said, ‘Oh [snap], Lord, do not let me slip on this ice,’” Davis said. “I had 2½ steps to make up. He was open, so I put on the gas.” A week later, the Raiders beat the Chargers in the AFC title game before thumping the Eagles in Super Bowl XV.
The Divine Interception: The day after Al Davis died on Oct. 8, 2011, the Raiders led the Houston Texans 25-20 with six seconds to play and the Texans on Oakland’s 5-yard line. As Matt Schaub dropped back to pass, the Raiders had only 10 men on the field. No matter. Schaub did not notice and tried to force a pass in the end zone to Jacoby Jones, but Michael Huff intercepted the pass to end the game as tears flowed on the Raiders' sideline and in the locker room. “We only had 10 helmets on the field, but it was definitely 11 men out there,” cornerback Stanford Routt said. “It was definitely 11 men out there.” Added Schaub, who would play for Oakland in 2014: “Greater forces were at play that day.”