The Oakland Raiders will be no more. With a 20-16 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, the Raiders played their final game in the fabled Oakland Coliseum. They have two more games still in the 2019 season, at the LA Chargers and at the Denver Broncos, and then pack their bags and head to the shining lights of Las Vegas. Although the Raiders have departed from Oakland once already, leaving after the 1981 season to begin a 13-year stint in Los Angeles, this time the move appears to be permanent due to the nearly $2 billion stadium currently being built for them in the desert.
The Raiders came from humble beginnings. Granted a last-minute franchise after Max Winter took his Minnesota team to the NFL, owner Wayne Valley struggled in early years to get the the right head coach for his team. Under the leadership of Eddie Erdelatz (1960-61), Marty Feldman (1961-62) and William Conkright (1962), the Raiders assembled a 9-33 record in their first three seasons. The fabled autumn winds finally began to blow in the Raiders favor the following season with the hiring of the brash, young Al Davis as head coach. In joining the Raiders, Davis began an association that lasted the rest of his life and saw him move up the ladder from head coach to eventually becoming the principal owner of the team. Along the way he took the Raiders to new heights, developing the team’s bad boy image (Ben Davidson, John Matuszak, Lyle Alzado), exciting fans with his wide-open offensive schemes (Daryle Lamonica, Art Powell, Warren Wells), and winning Super Bowls (Ken Stabler, Cliff Branch, Howie Long) along the way.
Nothing lasts forever, though. Davis passed away in 2011, after what some would say was holding on too long to the reigns of the team. The franchise has struggled in the years since and upkeep on the old Oakland Coliseum fell by the wayside. A complicated couple of years followed and eventually the Chargers and Rams landed in Los Angeles, while the Raiders were seduced by the lights, glamour and money of Las Vegas. And with the new Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders, the NFL takes a couple of more steps away from the memory of the American Football League.
I found this Raiders California timeline recently and thought it did a nice job of succinctly discussing the history of the influential team.