The Las Vegas Raiders were established in 1960, in Oakland, as one of the original teams in the American Football League (AFL). The Minnesota Vikings were supposed to be a part of the original AFL, but when the franchise owners decided to go join the NFL, the newly formed AFL had to find another venue. They decided upon Oakland, California. It was an unusual choice since there was no ownership group in place, the city had not applied for a franchise and there was no stadium.
Although neighboring San Francisco had a successful NFL team, Barron Hilton, the owner of the AFL’s San Diego Chargers, said that he would relinquish his franchise unless the West Coast was given another AFL team. Thus, on January 30, 1960, Oakland became the eighth AFL club and was given the Minneapolis, Minnesota team’s picks. There was a partnership formed between various businessmen.
The club played in the AFL’s Western Division from 1960-1969. When the NFL and AFL merged in 1970, they became part of the AFC’s West Division, and they remain in that division today.
From 1960-1981, the team was known as the Oakland Raiders. Then from 1982-1994, they bore the name the Los Angeles Raiders. Since 1995, they have once again been known as the Oakland Raiders. The team has played in various venues, including Kezar Stadium in 1960 for four games and Candlestick Park from 1960-1961. They moved to Frank Youell Field in 1962 and in 1966 moved into the spacious Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. They played as the Los Angeles Raiders in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum from 1982-1994. Since 1995, when they once again became the Oakland Raiders, they have played in Oakland at McAfee Coliseum. This home field has also been known as Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (1995-1998) and Network Associates Coliseum (1999-2004).
Oakland dominated the AFL and AFC West in the late sixties through to the mid-seventies. They have won 15 division titles including three AFL West (1967, 1968 and 1969) and 12 AFC West (1970, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1983, 1985, 1990, 2000, 2001 and 2002). The club has won four AFC Championships (1976, 1980, 1983, 2002) and three Super Bowl Championships. They were Super Bowl XI (1976), XV (1980) and XVIII (1983) champions. In 1967, the team won the AFL title.
Al Davis, who owns the team and serves as the general manager, was the head coach of the Raiders from 1963-1965. In three seasons, he was 23-16-3. In 1966, he became the commissioner of the AFL. During that time, Davis worked hard to ensure that the new league could compete with the NFL for talent and prestige. When it looked like the NFL and AFL might merge, Davis went back to the Raiders as a partner and head of football operations (1966-1969). In 1970, when the merger occurred, Davis worked to gain control of the team and did so through aggressive measures. By 1972, he was in total control of football operations. By 2005, Davis was the majority owner of the team. Davis was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992.
Oakland has had over a dozen players, coaches and personnel elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including head coach John Madden (1969-1978), defensive end Howie Long (1981-1993) and quarterback and place kicker George Blanda (1949 Chicago Bears, 1950 Baltimore Colts, 1950-1958 Chicago Bears, 1960-1966 Houston Oilers and 1967-1975 Raiders).
Madden finished with an incredible overall record of 112-39-7. He guided the team to a win in Super Bowl XI. Long, who was known as a tough competitor, played his entire career with the Raiders. He appeared in 179 games making 91.5 sacks and grabbing two interceptions. Long was an eight-time Pro Bowler and a six-time All-Pro. He was selected to the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team. Blanda’s career spanned four decades. He finished with a QB rating of 60.8, having thrown for 26,920 yards and hitting for 237 touchdowns. He kicked 335 field goals and 943 extra points. Blanda played in professional football for 26 seasons.
The team nickname is the Silver and Black, which are also the team colors. The Raiders head coach is Lane Kiffin, who has had that position since 2007. In his first season with Oakland, he was 4-12-0. Prior to his appointment to the Raiders, Kiffin severed as an assistant coach or coordinator with various college teams.