When the AFL was founded in 1959, nobody thought about a franchise in Oakland, the Oakland Raiders didn’t exist at that time. But when Minneapolis withdrew from the AFL to join the NFL in January 1960 the eighth AFL franchise team was assigned to Oakland. However, since Oakland didn’t have a stadium, the Raiders had to play in San Francisco until 1965. Between 1982 and 1994 they were located in Los Angeles.
The start of the AFL replacement team was anything but promising: In the first three years they were only able to win 9 in 41 games. And the average attendance of 11,000 people at home games was far below expectations. But in 1963, the Raiders contracted Al Davis as their new head coach, who was the assistant coach of the San Diego Chargers at that time. The rise of the team was rapid and dramatic: In the first year under Davis the Raiders won 10 in 14 games – more wins in one season than in its entire history before – and Davis was awarded as the best AFL coach of the year. Since then, the Oakland Raiders are firmly tied with Al Davis. Although Davis became AFL commissioner in 1966, after the merger of the NFL and AFL, he returned to the Raiders and became their co-owner and general manager.
Starting in 1965 the Raiders ended 19 of 20 seasons with a positive record. Between 1965 and 1968, the Oakland Raiders won 12 division championships, four AFL or AFC titles and three Super Bowls. The Oakland Raiders are the only team that played in the Super Bowl in the 1960s, the 1970s and the 1980s. And with 285 wins, only 146 losses and 11 draws the Raiders reached the best record of a team in any of the major US sports in the 30 years between 1963-1992.
Al Davis found excellent coaches for his team over and over again, including John Rauch, John Madden, Tom Flores and Art Shell. And Davis also had a great liking for veterans: Again and again, players who had already celebrated successes elsewhere, found their way to the Oakland Raiders at the end of their careers, including, for example, quarterback George Blanda, cornerback Mike Haynes or wide receiver Jerry Rice.
Davis – who was once referred to as “enfant terrible” of the NFL by a journalist once – also made headlines off the field: In 1982, he moved the team to Los Angeles, where the Los Angeles Raiders then played in the local Coliseum for 13 years. After plans for a new stadium in Hollywood or for a move to Baltimore had failed, Davis returned moved the Raiders back to Oakland again in 1995. Since then he is in dispute with the NFL and led several lawsuits against the league. He accused the league of delaying the construction of the stadium to drive him away from Los Angeles. But in 2002 a court ruled that Davis no longer owned the rights for a team in Los Angeles. However, it is written in the stars if this decision will be accepted by Davis when the NFL decides to place a new franchise in Los Angeles.
Whether in Oakland or Los Angeles, the Raiders were one of the top teams in the 1980s and 1990s. However, they had some setbacks as well: In 1998, after a season with 4 wins and 12 losses, Jon Gruden, a young head coach, took over the team and led it back to the top of the NFL. But in 2002 Gruden moved on to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and defeated his old team in Super Bowl XXXVII. Many fans followed this game watching Oakland Raiders live streams, but after that, hard times began for the Raiders fans – which are considered the most fanatical of the league: Many changes of head coaches and players prevented stability and success for the Oakland Raiders.