The Only AFL Team to Beat the Oakland Raiders in 1967

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When the AFL began in 1960, the Raiders and Titans (later Jets), were two of the most feeble franchises in the league. However, by the late 1960s, both teams had been completely overhauled, and were among the AFL powerhouses.  Dave Steidel takes a look at how these two teams fared against each other in 1967.

Since Joe Namath was a rookie and became a starter late in 1965 the Jets and Raiders have played to final scores of 24-24, 24-14 Raiders, and in 1966, 24-21 Raiders and 28-28.  So when the two met in the fourth week of the 1967 season it was as both franchises were on the rise and each ready to establish themselves as the elite team of their respective divisions.  After two consecutive 8-5-1 finishes Oakland had finally found their leader in new quarterback Daryle Lamonica whom they acquired in a trade with Buffalo.  And Jet coach Weeb Ewbank, who had successfully mentored Johnny Unitas into the best quarterback in the NFL, was becoming more convincing in the change of mindset he felt necessary for his formidable but oft times distracted young play caller.

autographed 1967 topps joe namath

#098 – Joe Namath

As the fourth week of the season in 1967 arrived both teams found themselves at the top of their divisions and facing off against each other in New York’s Shea Stadium on a brisk fall Saturday night on October 7.  The AFL’s top two teams and two top quarterbacks were greeted by a swirling 15 mph wind that caused both passers to make adjustments to the ever shifting current.  Throughout the night both Namath and Lamonica were forced to throw through a wind that hit them from all directions.  The Raiders, who were coming off of an ego boosting victory over last year’s AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs the week before brought their defensive scowl and new found long range passer with them to wreak havoc upon their eastern nemesis, while the Jets were riding the high of having themselves a new found quarterback of their own in a more mature and focused version of Joe Namath.  Since an injury sidelined fullback and superior pass blocker Matt Snell in the season’s first game the Jet pushed their swift and hard running halfback Emerson Boozer into a leading role and looked to rely on him against the imposing eleven angry men of Oakland.  The Raiders planned to take advantage of Jet injuries to Snell and guard Sam DeLuca by blitzing Namath early to create pressure and confusion for Namath, then, let the AFL’s best secondary lock down his receivers and hopefully force turnovers.  But several times during the first half Namath called Boozer’s number on delayed draws to wreak a little havoc of their own and frustrate the league’s most dominant defense into indecision.  By keeping the Raider defense on their heels, it gave the Jet front line of John Schmitt, Dave Herman, Randy Rasmussen, Winston Hill, Sherman Plunkett and tight end Pete Lammons, an advantage in the tug-of-war to protect Namath.

With a first quarter touchdown run of 7 yards by Boozer and a second quarter 1 yard plunge by veteran Bill Mathis, who was filling in for Snell, and a 27 yard field goal by Jim Turner, the Jets won the first half 17-0.  Another field goal by Turner in the third quarter increased the New York lead to 20-0 before Lamonica was able to whisk one of his passes through the Shea wind tunnel and find split end Bill Miller for a 12 yard touchdown pass.

autographed 1967 topps clem daniels

#110 – Clem Daniels

In one of the game’s major role reversals, it was the Jet defense that was looking like the league’s best as they held all-star halfback Clem Daniels in check, yielding only 37 yards on his 13 carries and completely shutting down fullback Hewritt Dixon, who ran the ball 7 times for a mere 10 yards.  They further stymied the Raider attack by intercepting four Lamonica passes on the night and held him to 16 completions on 38 attempts.

As the teams changed sides to start the fourth quarter Namath was at it again, confusing the Raider defense with a fake draw to Boozer and giving him enough time to connect with Mathis for 38 yards.  The play set up another 7 yard touchdown run by Boozer, making the score 27-7.  A 25 yard TD pass from Lamonica to Warren Wells finished off the scoring and gave the Jets their third win in four starts and handed Oakland their first and only loss of the season.

For the Jets, the victory showed them how far they had come and how good they could be, as they set the pace at the top of the East for all but the last two weeks of the season.  They finished in second place, one game behind the division winning Oilers and for the first time in franchise history posted a winning record at 8-5-1.

For the Raiders, the loss showed them how far they still needed to go before they could claim the AFL’s top spot, giving them the incentive to push harder, to go further.  Oakland finished the season with 13 wins against this only loss and dominated Houston in winning their first AFL Championship 40-7.

They were two teams on the rise and both with something to prove.  At season’s end Oakland would be in Super Bowl II.  The very next year the Jets would beat them in the AFL title game and make own their mark on history in Super Bowl III.  This game on October 7, 1967, was in many ways the threshold for both team’s rise to the top.

1      2      3      4      FINAL

Oakland         0      0      7      7          14                                   

New York      7     10     3      7          27

 

OAK

NYJ

First   downs

10

15

Rush-yards-TDs

22-55-0

37-151-3

Comp-Att-Yd-TD-INT

16-38-176-2-4

9-28-166-0-2

Sacked-yards

3-21

2-20

Net   pass yards

155

146

Total   yards

210

297

Fumbles-lost

0-0

2-1

Turnovers

4

3

Penalties-yards

2-20

5-62

 

Todd Tobias (775 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.



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3 Responses to The Only AFL Team to Beat the Oakland Raiders in 1967

  1. 1967 says:

    It is interesting to look back on that 1967 season via a review of national scribes & pundits predictions that year. Most picked then to finish in second place and few gave them the nod for first… no one saw them putting up the best record in AFL history.

    The Raiders were creators of a mix of opinion – ‘the coming team in pro football’ according to an SI magazine article, ‘the Raiders must plan for Lamonica to run the ball as’ (paraphrasing) ‘he is not a passer of the first rank’ said another. Also, ‘Raiders need better running game and more pass protection’; apparently, they did enough to finish 13-1, but, they as most teams most successful seasons were also the beneficiary of good fortune, or as some would say ‘luck’.

    Make no mistake though: on the field where it counts the Raiders were the best team in the AFL 1967, and in my opinion pro football’s best 1967-1969 though that is not confirmed by the record book. This was the year that OAK acquired QB Daryle Lamonica (BUF) & CB Willie Brown (DEN) in trades, PK & QB George Blanda (HOU) and WR Warren Wells (KC) on waivers & drafted future Hall of Famer OG Gene Upshaw # 1 – a (short lived) pseudo dynasty of sorts was born.

    ‘Confidence’ was theirs – copious doses referenced ‘luck’ too after they snuck by my Kansas City Chiefs in game #3, 23-21. With about two minutes left to play, Len Dawson launched a long bomb down the left sideline and Otis Taylor was there waiting near midfield, almost a full five yards behind Willie Brown… he dropped it. The loss by KC ruined their season, as in hindsight they took it too lightly, believing they had just had an off day. Later that season, OAK’s 44-22 demolition of the Chiefs in KC on Thanksgiving erased any lingering doubt.

    The last four years of the AFL (1966-1969) remain to me the most exciting in the annals of pro football. Long live the AFL!

  2. Tim Moore says:

    Joe Willie is my all-time football hero. I am 55 and to this day, although I can tell you how many countless great ones I saw, I haven’t seen anybody like Joe. Joe was a pioneer and carried the AFL on his back. I can’t tell you what an influence that had on me as a kid.
    All of these feelings come back to me at Christmastime as my wife gave me a Joe Willie Hallmark ornament, which I proudly display right smack dab in the middle of our family tree so EVERYBODY can see it! He was and remains my all-time sports hero.
    Thanks for the blog, Todd. I eat it up every time I get an e-mail from you.
    Merry Christmas!!!

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