The Oakland Raiders Essay

1623 words - 6 pages

The Oakland Raiders have long been considered professional football's "badboys." Led by maverick owner Al Davis, the Raiders have always been an "in your face" team that played with reckless abandoned. However, there's a side of Al Davis that casual football fans might not be aware of. In this paper I will explain how the Raiders challenged, and changed, some of professional football's most discrimitory practices.The Ethical Oakland RaidersTeam HistoryIn 1960 the American Football League (AFL) awarded the city of Oakland, California a professional football franchise. The Oakland Raiders then began their history by losing to Houston, 37-22 and during their early years they were horrible. Two years later, Al Davis, an assistant coach of the San Diego Chargers was hired to be both the Raiders' head coach and general manager. Just 33 years old, Davis would be the youngest man in professional football to hold both titles at the same time. Although young, Davis had a solid reputation after 14 years in professional football and Sports Illustrated magazine hailed him as a "young coaching genius'' (San Francisco Chronicle, 1995). Davis immediately turned the Raiders around and they finished the year just one win shy of making the playoffs. At the end of the season, Davis was named the AFL's Coach of the Year by several national publications.In 1966, AFL franchise owners picked Davis to be the league's second commissioner and just eight weeks later the AFL formed an alliance with the established and more powerful National Football League. The two leagues soon merged and reached agreements that included a common player draft and a championship game that would later be called "The Super Bowl." Davis was instrumental in bringing the two leagues together and after the merger he returned to the Raiders to serve as managing general partner. In 1967 the Raiders had a breakout year and won the AFC conference championship. They finish the season by losing their first Super Bowl appearance to the Green Bay Packers.Although they lost their first Super Bowl appearance, Al Davis and his Raiders had arrived. In 1976, after winning their ninth AFC West title in ten years, the Raiders romp to a 13-1 record and win Super Bowl XI (San Francisco Chronicle, 1995). In addition to winning Super Bowl XI, the Raiders would also be victorious in Super Bowls XI and XV. Through it all, Al Davis is the captain of the Raiders' ship and promotes a win at all cost mentality. It's that mentality that leads Davis to choose what he feels are the most qualified personnel to be associated with his team. It's also the mentality that would lead the Raiders to look past the racial and social barriers that had been prevalent in the National Football League.Tom FloresIn 1960, when Al Davis named Tom Flores his starting quarterback, Flores became not only the first quarterback in the history of the Oakland Raiders, but also the first Hispanic-American quarterback in the NFL. Although Flores...

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