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The Raiders’ Top 10 Moments in Oakland

As the Raiders play their final games in Oakland ahead of their move to Las Vegas, Diablo reflects on the team’s memorable moments in the East Bay.


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Oakland-born Marshawn Lynch (No. 24) gets a rousing ovation as he makes his home debut with the Raiders.

1963: Al Davis Arrives

Upon being hired as general manager and head coach, Al Davis transformed the team on the field, improving its record from 1-13 to an impressive 10-4, and changing its color scheme to the now-famous silver and black.

 

Running back Clarence Davis overpowers three Dolphins in the history-making Sea of Hands play.

1968: The Heidi Bowl

If you weren’t at the Coliseum, then you didn’t get a chance to see the end of this game, when the Raiders scored twice in nine seconds to beat the New York Jets 43-32. The audience at home saw the movie Heidi, which NBC had switched to during a commercial break.

 

1974: The Sea of Hands

Trailing by five points with under a minute left in a playoff game, quarterback Ken Stabler desperately tossed a pass as he was hit to Clarence Davis, who was triple-covered. Davis fought through the “sea of hands” to give the Raiders a 28-26 win and send them to the AFC Championship Game.

 

Following their Super Bowl XI victory, players hoist coach John Madden on their shoulders.

1977: Super Bowl XI

In their first Super Bowl appearance since 1968, the Raiders ran over the Minnesota Vikings 32-14 and set a Super Bowl record for most yards gained.

 

1978: Holy Roller

A single play so insane it sparked a rule change: Stabler flipped the ball forward as he was sacked, then Pete Banaszak picked it up and flipped it forward again. It landed in the end zone, where Dave Casper fell on it with zero time left on the clock to give the Raiders a 21-20 win over the Chargers.

 

A Super Bowl XV ticket and championship ring.

1980: Super Bowl XV

Oakland ran the gauntlet during the 1980 playoffs: They won four straight games, with two on the road, to become the first wild-card team ever to win an NFL title. Quarterback Jim Plunkett was named Super Bowl MVP, despite starting the year as a backup.

 

1995: The Homecoming

After 13 years in Los Angeles, the Silver and Black returned to Oakland, and loyal fans around the Bay rejoiced.

 

Rich Gannon delivered in the AFC title game for the ’02 season.

2003: AFC Championship

The league MVP for the 2002 season, quarterback Rich Gannon led the Raiders to their first AFC title clinch at home since 1976—and sent the team to the Super Bowl—with a blowout win over the Tennessee Titans 41-24.

 

2011: Eternal Flame

Five days after Davis’s October 11 death, former Raiders coach John Madden lit the eternal flame for the team’s legendary figurehead. The tradition has continued ever since, with a Raiders alum igniting the flame before each home game.

 

2017: A Prodigal Son Returns

When Oakland’s own Marshawn Lynch made his home debut as a Raider on September 17, it was a special moment. The player known as Beast Mode always rode for Oakland, so when he scored a touchdown and then got hyphy on the sidelines, the fans went wild.

 

It Takes a Nation

Give it up for the most legendary fans in football.

Akim Henderson (center left) with wife Anitra and members of his Raider Nation family. Photo courtesy of Akim Henderson.

The Raiders have had their ups and downs on the field in Oakland. But one thing that has and will always remain consistent is the Raider Nation—supporters so iconic that people who don’t follow football still know about the Black Hole.

These aren’t your regular jersey-wearing fans: The diehards who make up this swarming mass of silver and black are decked out in everything from masks and face paint to full shoulder pads. Once the gear goes on, they transform into different personae, complete with their own “Raider names.” It’s not just a game to them; it’s life.

“If anybody could ever orate what [the Black Hole] experience is like, you’d have to be Shakespeare or something,” laughs Akim Henderson, better known as Your Friendly Neighborhood Raider Man. “It’s visceral. You have everything from a 95-year-old woman with a cane who screams just as loud as you, to some little kid struggling to have his voice [heard]. … It’s so layered.”

For fans who have invested their lives in this team, the thought of the Raiders moving to Las Vegas is a bitter pill to swallow. Their support doesn’t waver, but a cloud hangs over each game. “There’s a lot of reaching out and getting people’s numbers and trying to make each event special, so that part is cool,” Henderson says. “But nobody really knows what to do. You just have a sick drop-in-your-stomach feeling that something’s wrong. And you can’t get that feeling off you; you’re just stuck in that perpetual state. … But at the games, we’re just in the moment—just living and hanging on to the moments.”

 

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