Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Oakland Raiders' Top 10 Toughest Losses

I Hate The Oakland Raiders

It’s true. I hate them. For years my favorite team, the Miami Dolphins, got their brains regularly beat in by the Raiders, even when the Dolphins were really really good. At one point, the Raiders led the all-time series 14-3-1. I still vividly remember the worst loss of them all, the 1974 divisional playoff game when the Raiders came from behind on a sick flukey last-second Stabler TD pass to beat Miami 28-26 and end the Dolphin Dynasty for good. I still remember how pissed off I was in 1976 when a phantom pass-interference call gave a seemingly beaten Raiders team an undeserved second chance in a playoff game against the Patriots. Of course Oakland took advantage of it and went on to win their first Super Bowl that year. Injustice! They were lucky, they kicked Miami’s ass all the time, and they had that annoying “Bad Boy” image personified by their safeties: cheap-shot artists George Atkinson and Jack “They Call Me Assassin” Tatum. Basically, they were a bunch of dirty cheating bastards and I hated them.

Actually, at this point “hated” is probably the more appropriate word than “hate”. I just can’t muster up the kind of hatred for the Raiders that once came so naturally. Since their enjoyable humiliation in Super Bowl XXXVII they’ve been so pathetic that all I feel is pity. Man they suck. Best of all, Miami’s beaten Oakland 8 of the last 9 times so all Dolphin fans now look forward to playing the Raiduhs. Art Shell was the only coach who could make Dave Wannstedt look like a genius. And what NFL fan doesn't love those repeated shots of befuddled Raiders’ owner Al Davis in the booth in his tracksuit at every game? Priceless. However, in honor of my once white-hot hatred for the Oakland Raiders, I will present my Top 10 list of the Raiders all-time most heartbreaking defeats. Here’s numbers 9 and 10 to start off with. Enjoy. (Years listed refer to the particular NFL season not necessarily the year in which the actual game was played).

10) 1985 Divisional Playoff: New England 27-Los Angeles Raiders 20

The Raiders finished the 1985 regular season with the AFC’s best record. The team was loaded with stars: MVP Marcus Allen, experienced All-Pros like Howie Long, Mike Haynes, and Todd Christiansen, and they were heavily favored to beat the wild-card New England Patriots. The Pats jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, set up by backup safety Jim Bowman’s recovery of a fumbled Raider punt return. The Raiders then took control and scored the next 17 points. The Patriots rallied and eventually tied the game at 20 with a 3rd quarter field goal. Then, on a kickoff return, Mosi Tatupu blasted the Raiders’ Sam Seale, Seale fumbled, and the ball rolled toward the end zone where the man of the hour, Jim Bowman, fell on it for what proved to be the winning touchdown. Six turnovers by the Raiders cost them the game and their last best chance at a Super Bowl for over a decade. After the game, Patriots GM Pat Sullivan said: "Let me tell you something…We're just getting back for Jack Tatum and all the other crap that this football team has put on our football team for 12 years. This is the greatest moment in our lives." You tell 'em Pat! The best part of this game for me was that one of my college roommates was a huge Raider fan. After the Raiders’ last drive ended and defeat was assured, he threw his shoe through the sliding glass door of his apartment. He must have sensed that the door had just slammed shut on the Raiders era. That's a shame.

9) 1969 AFL Championship Game: Kansas City 17-Oakland Raiders 7

The Raiders had every reason to believe they’d win the last AFL game ever played and move on to the Super Bowl. Oakland went 12-1-1, won their third straight division title, beat the Houston Oilers 56-7 in the first round of the playoffs, and not only had the Raiders swept the regular season series with the Chiefs, they’d crushed the Chiefs 41-6 in last year’s playoffs. The Raiders were so ultra-confident that the players brought their luggage to the game in preparation for a post-game trip to New Orleans, site of Super Bowl IV. It looked a wise move early when they jumped out to a 7-0 lead but in the 2d quarter, after 7 straight incompletions, Chiefs QB Len Dawson hit Frank Pitts for 41 yards to set up the tying TD. In the 3rd quarter KC found themselves with a 3rd-and-14 at their own 2-yard line. A 35-yard pass to Otis Taylor kept the drive alive and the Chiefs eventually drove the rest of the way to take their first lead of the day. The Chiefs tried to give the game away in the 4th quarter by turning it over three times inside their own 30 but Raider QB Daryle Lamonica returned the favor each time with an interception. Kansas City won 17-7 and the Raiders had to leave their own stadium with the now-useless luggage they’d packed for the Big Easy. It’s amazing what I found out in researching this post. The Raiders put up an incredible 37-4-1 regular season mark from 1967 to 1969, but they couldn’t win a single Super Bowl.

The Oakland Raiders' Top 10 Toughest Losses of All-Time:

Tenth Toughest Loss
Ninth Toughest Loss
Eighth Toughest Loss
Seventh Toughest Loss
Sixth Toughest Loss
Fifth Toughest Loss
Fourth Toughest Loss
Third Toughest Loss
Second Toughest Loss
Toughest Loss


Mike said...

Hilarious as usual pal!

I just ordered my copy of "Final Confessions of an NFL assassin"

Yeah right.


JB said...

I remember that 85 Raider loss. I was mad because Denver should have won the West that year, not the Faders. To see them lose like that was great.

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