After waxing the Chiefs in Super Bowl I, the Green Bay Packers were heavily favored to do the same to the Raiders in Super Bowl II. The Pack had just won their fifth NFL championship in 7 years and they wanted to send Vince Lombardi out a winner one more time in the Super Bowl. Their roster featured 9 future Hall of Famers. On the other hand, the Raiders had some reason for hope. The Packers dynasty was old and just about out of gas. At 9-4-1, they were far from the commanding team of the past and only arctic field conditions allowed them to get by the up-and-coming Cowboys in the NFL title game. Meanwhile, the Raiders had their way with the AFL in 1968: a 13-1 record, an average margin of victory of almost 17 points per game, and a 40-7 demolition of the Oilers in the AFL Championship Game. Oakland had 5 future Hall of Famers of their own, all in their prime (except George Blanda) plus a bunch of other star players including their new QB Daryle Lamonica, the AFL Player of the Year. Unfortunately, hope turned into hopelessness in the Super Bowl. Green Bay methodically took the Raiders apart, the deathblow coming in the 4th quarter when CB Herb Adderly sealed the deal by intercepting a Lamonica pass and returning it 60 yards for a touchdown. If you look at the game stats, Green Bay and Oakland were pretty close in total yards and first downs but Oakland turned it over three times to Green Bay’s none and Daryle Lamonica was no Bart Starr. Another great season wasted.
7) 1977 AFC Championship Game: Denver 20—Oakland 17
The Oakland Raiders: 18 playoff games in 10 years. The Denver Broncos: one playoff game ever and that one had come just the week before. Yes, the defending Super Bowl champions faced off against a true Cinderella team with no postseason experience. The Orange Crush had just one advantage, the home field. Would it matter? Oakland dominated the first half, running 41 plays to Denver’s 19. Dominated everywhere that is but the scoreboard, Denver led 7-3 at the half thanks to a 74-yard pass from Craig Morton to Haven Moses. The score stayed that way until midway through the 3rd quarter. The Raiders fumbled at their own 17, Denver recovered and drove to the Raiders 2-yard-line. Bronco fullback Rob Lytle took a handoff and dove over the pile towards the goal line. Jack Tatum, doing what Jack Tatum did best, blasted Lytle in midair and jarred the ball loose. In the game’s critical moment, DT Mike McCoy scooped it up and ran the other way. With nothing but grass and a stunned Mile High crowd in front of him, McCoy was on his way to score the huge momentum–changing TD the Raiders had to have. But wait! An official blew his whistle. The play was dead. Why? The refs ruled Lytle was down before the fumble. All replays showed that was total bullshit but there was no replay rule at the time. Denver ball and throw in a penalty on the Raiders on top of that for arguing the blown call. Denver scored on the next play. 14-3. Home cooking? Al Davis certainly thought so. But the Raiders did mount a 4th quarter comeback. Ken Stabler hit Dave Casper with a 12-yarder to make it 14-10. Then disaster. A Stabler pick set up an easy Broncos score. But another Stabler to Casper hookup made it 20-17 with three minutes left. Could Oakland’s defense stop Denver to give the Snake a shot at a last-minute comeback? Let’s let Raiders DE Pat Toomay describe what happened next:
Momentum had shifted. You could feel it. Another Raider miracle finish was more than in the cards -- all we had to do was stop them. But we couldn't do it. Repeatedly, the Broncos gobbled up yardage by running off-tackle, straight at [John Matuzak]. Barely able to breathe in Denver's rarefied air, Tooz was more than sluggish. He seemed a count behind in every move. He could barely get out of his stance, much less shed a block. It was painful to watch him. Later, it came out that a hotel employee had tipped the Broncos about Tooz's all night pregame "party." Evidently, the Broncos were exploiting that information now. As the Denver drive continued, our players started getting on Tooz to try to wake him up, but to no avail. Finally, during one timeout, our captain begged our coordinator to get Tooz out. The coordinator, while more than sympathetic, shook his head and nodded toward the press box where Al Davis was sitting. "It ain't gonna happen," he said. And it didn't. Denver ran out the clock. We straggled into the locker room.
So a bad call and Tooz’ partying cost the Raiders a chance for back-to-back Super Bowls. It turned out that Vodka and valium were not in fact the Breakfast of Champions.
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