Minnesota-Oakland AFL Connection

oakland raiders logo

Most AFL fans understand that Minnesota was originally scheduled to have an AFL team when the league began play in 1960.  Through a series of backroom dealings, the Minnesota ownership group backed out at the last minute, after being promised an NFL expansion franchise.  This news was brought to the AFL group by New York Titans owner, Harry Wismer, who announced to the crowd, “Boys, it looks like it’s the Last Supper.”  In classic dramatic Wismer fashion, he proceeded to call Max Winter, head of the Minnesota syndicate, “Judas,” during a series of heated exchanges.

The situation caused immediate problems for the AFL, but all worked out in the end, as a group from Oakland stepped in to fill the void left by Minnesota, and thus were born the Raiders.  The legendary Sid Hartman, who typed his first story for the Minneapolis Daily Times in 1945, recalled the situation, and his role in it, in a recent Minneapolis Star Tribune column.



Todd Tobias (790 Posts)

Todd Tobias's interest in the American Football League began in 1998, when he wrote my master's thesis about Sid Gillman. He created this site to educate and entertain football fans with the stories of the American Football League, 1960-1969. You can follow Todd and get more AFL history on Twitter @TalesfromtheAFL.

2 Responses to Minnesota-Oakland AFL Connection

  1. Matt Haddad a.k.a. overdrive1975 says:

    Ironically, the Oakland Raiders won their first pro football championship in 1976, when they routed the Vikings, 32-14. It would have been worse if not for Stu Voight catching a late touchdown from Bob Lee.

    Clarence Davis ran wild that day, and Fred Biletnikoff was named the game’s MVP. The game is also memorable for Willie Brown intercepting Fran Tarkenton and running 75 yards for a touchdown.

  2. afl says:

    Well here’s a different thought or slant (can I say that without offending?)

    Things worked out well for the AFL, Oakland having been the far more successful franchise those 10 years & to date, all considered. They might have been/were almost named Oakland Senors – which reminds me – MIN’s team name and logo, Vikings (latter of which translates ‘member a group Scandinavian people who attacked the coasts Europe the 8th-10th centuries A.D.’ – could be considered (by a Viking, one supposes) to be insensitive, discriminatory and offensive.

    What’s in a name? Apparently more than meets the eye, ear, nose, tongue and PC test, 2015.

    Raiders sport the logo a helmeted Pirate/Buccaneer… must be murderous criminals – unless they’re swashbucklers. According Merriam-Webster, latter is “a person or an character in a movie, book, etc. very brave and has many exciting adventures” (po-tay-to, po-tah-to.) The
    ‘Lakers’ another finalist, Oakland team name… what to use for a logo, circa 1960? A body of water? Insensitive, non-forward looking, consideration now drought-stricken California.

    If they’d gone with Senors? Would it have to be 86’d, like the Frito Bandito, advertising? Perhaps a generic inference a combination of, oh, say Ricardo Montalban & Cary Grant, sirs and gentlemen their dashing visages, pass muster? Or just a faceless outline a human head, to be safe?

    Kansas City Chiefs chose their name either a) in honor a former Mayor nick-name ‘Chief’ or b) in consideration Indian tribes inhabited the general area. Course, using an Indian logo variously throughout the 60’s on letterhead & pennants, tom toms beating sideline, helmet arrowhead, etc. in lieu a picture the former Mayor suggests, well…

    They moved into a new stadium 1972 too, Arrowhead the given name. Tends give weight to letter b); claim otherwise, would be as the Washington Redskins claiming they’re named after a peanut, fact the helmet features an Indian, mere coincidence. Here’s something interesting:


    “One year aft he acquired an NFL franchise in Boston, George Preston Marshall changed the team’s nickname from Braves to Redskins & kept the new name when they moved to Washington. The nickname was meant honor head coach & Native American William Henry “Lone Star” Dietz, though some question whether Dietz was a Native American.”

    His heritage (which is a contentious matter, Indian, or other) aside, “honor” seems to be the operative word, whatever Dietz origin. Common sense suggests a name of dishonor would not be the goal for any team; by the way, the Redskins mascot and logo were created by an former chairman of the Blackfeet nation, for what it’s worth.

    According most, Cleveland Browns were named after Paul Brown, original Coach. What if his last name were Wiener? Or White? Or Black? A conundrum accumulates endless possibilities: Cleveland Achromatics, perhaps? Maybe the Monotones. Much offense to be given, and taken.

    The Bears? I’m offended – they scare me, way they are depicted, reason afl never goes into the woods, why I never smoked (the thought of Smokey filing a lawsuit for a hate crime too much to ‘bear’, pun intended.) Today, offending no one/nothing in lieu everyone/everything is tantamount finding the solution pi; now, bAck to FootbalL.

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