With only a few home games remaining, it’s time to look back at the incredible history the Oakland Raiders have made in the Coliseum. While a shadow of the marvel it once was, there are few stadiums in the world that have seen as much history as “the Black Hole” has since it was erected in September of 1966. As time runs out on the Oakland Raiders, we’ll revisit some of the best memories in the stadium’s great history before each of the last five home games.
Coliseum Dreaming: The First AFL Championship
In an era before the criminal NFL stole Al Davis’ baby away, there were two separate professional football leagues. There was, of course, the National Football League, which we know and love (right?) today. But there was also the American Football League, the renegades, the cool alternative, and the original home of our Oakland Raiders. The relationship between the Raiders and the AFL is a unique one, as Al Davis, the original Raider, was it’s commissioner.
However, there were seven seasons in the AFL before the Oakland Raiders captured their first gold. Davis, funnily enough, served as the team’s head coach for three years, and while they had a franchise-high (at the time) 10 wins in 1963, their second place finish wasn’t good enough to warrant a shot at the AFL Championship. In fact, the franchise didn’t make the post-season until 1967… but when they did, they went for broke.
On the last day of 1967, the Oakland Raiders demolished the Houston Oilers. They accrued 263 yards on the ground, getting 144 yards and a score from Hewritt Dixon and 116 yards from Pete Banaszak, with Daryle Lamonica adding 111 yards and two scores through the air.
On defense, the Raiders weren’t backing down either, forcing three turnovers, including an interception from the legendary “Old Man” Willie Brown. On the day, the unit only gave up seven points, and that wasn’t until the fourth quarter, when the Raiders already ha a 30 point lead. They’d add an additional ten points before ultimately winning 40-7, claiming their very first AFL Championship.
This is a franchise that until relatively recently, was known for winning, and this was the first big game they finally won, and of course it happened at the coliseum. Regrettably, they would go on to lose Super Bowl II, but that’s hardly important in hindsight. The Raiders would make plenty of Super Bowl memories over the following decades, and the team most closely associated with the AFL finally had a championship to their name.