Raiders is a National Football League team that has been in existence for over 60 years, going all the way back to 1960 when it was founded. The team has so far appeared in five Super Bowl tournaments, winning three of them and losing two. The franchise whose worth as of 2019 was estimated at 2.9 billion U.S dollars, has had some of the most momentous and memorable seasons in history.
As an NFL enthusiast or Raiders fan, you probably know about the Raiders 1st round pick 2016 (Karl Joseph), but there is more to learn about this team. The following makes a list of things you probably never knew about the current Las Vegas Raiders:
Raiders Don’t Retire Player Jerseys
It is common for most NFL teams to retire numbers of their former players, but not Raiders. Well there are at least two other teams in the league that don’t retire theirs either, namely Dallas and Atlanta Falcons. Why is this the case with Raiders, when they already have 23 players in the hall of fame?
Their founder Al Davis came up with the idea of not retiring Raiders players digits because according to him, retiring jerseys was more of promoting some players over the others. In his opinion, the move was also meant to keep the players’ memory alive.
It was good reasoning from Al Davis, and it looks like his son Mark Davis is keen on ensuring his father’s legacy is maintained by keeping the retired jersey tradition intact.
They Won Super Bowl In The Middle Of a Trial
Back when Raiders had settling down issues, legal battles were the order of the day. In 1980, Oakland Raiders were set to move to Los Angeles Coliseum but the NFL was against their move. Al Davis was left with no option other than filing a lawsuit against the league in the middle of ongoing playoffs. While the legal battle between Raiders and NFL ensued, the team managed to advance to Super Bowl XV where they defeated Philadelphia Eagles to lift the cup in January, 1981.
Pete Rozelle, an NFL commissioner who was feuding with Al Davis at the time, presented him with the Lombardi trophy after the win in what was termed as a charged-up moment. The jury later ruled in favor of the Raiders and slammed the NFL for being against competitive movement of teams.
Nomads of NFL
Oakland, California had been home to Raiders until 1982 when they decided to relocate to Los Angeles. In their 13 years stay in L,A, they failed to bag a deal for a new stadium and had to relocate back to Oakland in 1995. They then stayed in Oakland up until 2020 when they found a lasting solution to their unresolved stadium issues. Finally, the 26th world’s most valuable sports team in 2020 settled in Las Vegas where their Allegiant Stadium boasts a 65,000 seat capacity.
Apollo Creed of Rocky Films Once Played for Raiders
Carl Weathers who is popularly known for his screen character, Apollo Creed, was once a Raiders player. He is among several other Hollywood actors who once had thriving sports careers before venturing into acting. Carl decided to pursue his career in football after college, and he found himself playing linebacker for the Oakland Raiders team.
That was in 1970 and 1971 before he ventured into the film industry to become the iconic boxing character from Rocky films franchise.
NFL Diversity Pioneers
During his time, Al Davis, the then principal owner of Raiders made some historical coaching choices that until today make a lot of sense. He embraced diversity by giving minority candidates a chance to coach Raiders. NFL’s and Raiders first Latino coach Tom Flores was hired by Al Davis, not forgetting Art Shell, who also made history as the NFL’s first ever black coach for the Raiders team.
Amy Trask also made history under Raiders as the first female executive in the NFL. Mark Davis’s recent tweet “I Can Breathe 4-20-21”, celebrating Derek Chauvin’s (officer responsible for George Floyd death) verdict on the teams twitter account proves that he is committed to his late father’s strong perception on racial unity.
Raiders’ Linebacker Iconic Punch
In 1985, Patriots and Raiders were taking part in an AFC divisional game. The Patriots would later eliminate Raiders in the playoff game. It happened that while the game was ongoing, Patriots’ general manager Patrick Sullivan was busy on the sidelines trash talking Raiders side.
This led to a post game confrontation between him and Raiders team defensive Howie Long. It was at that confrontational moment between the two that Raiders’ linebacker Matt Millen swung into action and punched Pat leaving him with a cut above one of his eyes. The altercation was perfectly captured by cameras and once in a while, the incident is revived on the internet’s social circles.
The above list does not exhaust all the little known facts about Raiders. But it sure gives a head up of some of the worth mentioning moments the team has executed or been through since their founding year. More information on Raiders historical moments as a team, including over the years draft class recaps like raiders 1st round pick 2016, is available on their official website and other reputable sports sites.