NFL

The Raiders’ Final Home Game in Oakland Fittingly Ends in a Loss

The Oakland Raiders led 16-3 at the half over the Jacksonville Jaguars in what would be their final game ever played in Oakland Coliseum. It looked as though the Raiders would send the fans in attendance home with a win to remember the team by, but instead, Jacksonville outscored the Raiders 14-0 in the fourth quarter and won the game 20-16 on the road. And as has so often been the case in recent years, the fans in Oakland were subjected to yet another loss.

As the dust settled, the “Autumn Wind” played for one last time at the Coliseum. Some threw trash on the field while others just sat in silence. Several Raiders players went to the Black Hole to thank the fans for their support. While the loyal and rambunctious fans were hoping to see a win in the Raiders’ final game in Oakland, a loss is probably a more fitting end to what has been a miserable stretch of football in recent years.

The Raiders were a force in their first stint in Oakland from 1960-1981

John Madden and the Oakland Raiders celebrate their Super Bowl XI victory
John Madden and the Oakland Raiders celebrate their Super Bowl XI victory | Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

During their first two decades in Oakland, the Raiders were a force to be reckoned with. It was in this era that the Raiders earned their reputation as a tough, physical team that pushed opponents around. From 1963 through 1981, the Raiders compiled a record of 186-77-11 during the regular season over that stretch.

From 1967 through 1976, the Raiders won the West nine times in 10 seasons and possessed a dominant 108-25-7 record. They won their first Super Bowl in franchise history in Oakland in 1976, and followed that up with another Super Bowl championship in 1980 before moving to Los Angeles for the start of the 1982 season.

The Raiders went 195-110-11 during their first stint in Oakland. They followed that up with a 118-82-0 run in Los Angeles that included another Super Bowl victory in 1983. And then they returned to Oakland in 1995.

But their second stint has been marred with disappointment

Jon Gruden and Derek Carr have led the Raiders to four straight losses in their final season in Oakland
Jon Gruden and Derek Carr have led the Raiders to four straight losses in their final season in Oakland | Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

A franchise that was once proud, physical, and dominant became a laughing stock in the NFL during its second stay in Oakland. In 24 seasons from 1995 through 2018, the Raiders have produced only four winning seasons.

Three of those winning seasons came in consecutive years in 2000, 2001, and 2002. Jon Gruden built up a winner that went 12-4 in 2000 and 10-6 in 2001 before losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion in the postseason in both of those years. With Al Davis and Jon Gruden not getting along, Gruden was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before the start of the 2002 season. The Raiders went 11-5 in 2002 and advanced all the way to the Super Bowl, where they ran into Gruden’s Buccaneers. Oakland lost the big game 48-21.

Since then, it’s been all downhill. Including Sunday’s loss to the Jaguars, the Raiders are now 85-178 since the start of the 2003 season with only one winning season and one playoff game (a loss) over this 17-year span. It’s hard to believe this is the same franchise that used to strike fear into opposing teams back in the 60s and 70s.

On to Las Vegas

Jon Gruden hopes to return the Raiders to their former glory over the life of his 10-year, $100 million contract. If he is able to do so, it will be when the Raiders are playing their home games in Las Vegas at the brand new $1.84 billion Allegiant Stadium.

Perhaps a change of scenery will do the Raiders some good. While they are still one of the most popular and recognizable brands in the NFL, the last two decades in Oakland have not been good to them. Or, perhaps more accurately, the Raiders have not been good to Oakland; and Sunday’s game was just another example of this.