Entertain clients at an Oakland Raiders home game!
The Oakland Raiders are a storied NFL franchise with a rich history deeply rooted in winning. A tradition stemming from the late Al Davis’s “Commitment to Excellence” slogan, the Raiders gained notoriety and a national following through their dominant physical play throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Their winning culture, which culminated in three Super Bowl victories to go along with an AFL Championship from their tenure prior to the merger, brought the Oakland Raiders into the spotlight as a team known for their punishing style of football.
After the merger, Head Coach John Madden focused his team on controlling the NFL through dominant defense. The Raiders, ripe with Hall of Fame talent, would make the playoffs seven out of the next eight seasons, including their first Super Bowl win in 1976.
Madden walked away after 10 consecutive winning seasons and a Super Bowl Trophy to go on to a brilliant career as a commentator. The departure did not stop the Silver and Black, who went on to win Super Bowls in 1980 and 1983 (their only title during the Los Angeles Raiders years). Team owner Al Davis trademarked the term “Just Win, Baby!” and he clearly lived by that credo.
That winning culture, however, began to dissolve in the late 80s and by the early 90s the team had fallen into mediocrity. A mix of retirements, players traded away, and failed draft picks brought this powerhouse back to the middle of the pack. A move back to Oakland prior to the 1995 season and a flurry of new faces breathed new life into the franchise. They would climb out from the bottom of the standings and reach championship level play again, with an AFC Championship appearance in 2001 (largely remembered as the Tuck Rule Game). Unfortunately, this period did not last and by 2003 the Raiders were back in disrepair.
This misery lasted until the Raiders selected QB David Carr out of Fresno State in the 2014 NFL Draft. Immediately making his presence felt on the field, Carr’s performance improved in each of his first three seasons in the league. However, 2017 saw a regression in his play as Carr was coming back from a broken leg suffered at the end of the 2016 season. Going 6-9, Oakland was on the outside looking in at the playoffs.
There was no doubt that Carr would have a fire in his belly to start the 2018 campaign. In fact, the entire team had a renewed resolve to bring this group all the way to a Super Bowl. The coach to take them there, starting his second stint in Oakland, was none other than Jon Gruden. Commanding a huge salary, Gruden’s aim was to live up to the contact by bringing the hardware back to Raider Nation. However, the first season back with Oakland has not gone according to plan. A 4th place finish in the AFC West and an embarrassing record means that Gruden and company need to work out the kinks if they hope to compete at a high level next year.
After a miserable start, Carr’s play under center has seen a rebound and his statistics have stabilized, putting him at career numbers for yards and completion percentage. Looking forward, there may be some hope that the offense could come together next season.
Monster running back Marshawn Lynch has been placed on IR, paving the way for Doug Martin to get the majority of the touches. A huge trade in the offseason brought Antonio Brown to the bay area. A monster receiver in Pittsburgh for many years, Brown will join the blossoming Oakland offense this season.
The defense is missing a big veteran presence that galvanizes the group. Bruce Irvin, who was expected to solely anchor the defense was released midseason, leaving the group without a strong voice. Tahir Whitehead and Marquel Lee have done a good job rallying the troops, but expect Oakland to address this side of the ball in the offseason. They have already added controversial linebackers Vontaze Burfict to the roster for 2019. He brings a ferocious tenacity to every down he plays.
There is no doubt about the direction that the team is hoping to go in 2019, and now there are no doubts about the geographic location of the franchise moving forward. It was announced last year that current team owner Mark Davis won the necessary votes to move the team to Las Vegas. While the Raiders will play in Oakland through 2018 (and possibly 2019), the team is officially moving to Sin City to become the Las Vegas Raiders by 2020.
While there has been no shortage of NFL Hall of Fame players to have dressed in the iconic silver and black, a few names stand out among the rest for their unending efforts on the field and famous play which has made them hometown heroes. Among this group are George Blanda, Jim Plunkett, Dave Casper, Fred Biletnikoff, Cliff Branch, Ted Hendricks, Jim Otto, Ken Stabler, Howie Long, Willie Brown, Tim Brown, Art Shell, Gene Upshaw, Bo Jackson, and Marcus Allen. Click here to learn more about the illustrious history of the Oakland Raiders as well as about the current squad.