Raiders

Raiders

On Monday night, the Raiders will host the Denver Broncos in their final home game of 2018. It also could be the final Raiders game at Oakland Coliseum, closing the book on a stadium steeped in NFL lore.

“This is a real football stadium,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said at his weekly press conference. “It has dirt, grass. It’s got tradition. It’s where some of the best games in the history of football have been played.”

The fans are a big part of that tradition, rooting for their Raiders through two stays at the Coliseum. But it's off to Las Vegas in 2020 (and perhaps elsewhere before that), so we asked Raiders fans to offer up their favorite Coliseum memories, and the responses didn’t disappoint.

Here are some of the highlights.

'Sea of Hands,' 1974

The Raiders moved into the Coliseum in 1966. Eight years later, they found themselves taking on the Miami Dolphins -- who were coming off consecutive Super Bowl victories -- in an AFC divisional playoff game. Chris Burke remembers it well.

With the Raiders trailing 26-21 with 35 seconds remaining in regulation, quarterback Ken Stabler lofted a pass into a crowd of Dolphins in the end zone as he was being taken to the ground. Running back Clarence Davis was in the middle of that frenzy, and somehow came down with one of the most famous catches in NFL playoff history, known simply as the Sea of Hands.

 

The Raiders advanced to the AFC Championship Game, where they ultimately lost 24-13 to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

1976 AFC Championship vs. Steelers

The Steelers beat the Raiders 16-10 the following year in the AFC Championship. The next season, however, the Raiders finally got their vengeance.

The Raiders beat Pittsburgh 24-7 to advance to Super Bowl XI, where they beat the Minnesota Vikings for their first of three titles in Oakland.

Return of the Raiders, 1995

The Raiders won the second of those titles in 1980. The following season proved to be their final in Oakland -- for the time being -- before the team was moved to Los Angeles, where they’d play for 13 seasons.

Al Davis moved the Raiders back to Oakland in 1995, and their first home game back at the Coliseum was a hot ticket. So hot, in fact, that some held onto it.


Tory James’ pick-six in 2000 AFC divisional playoff game

It took the Raiders six years to make it back to the postseason after their return to Oakland. 

They went 12-4 and won the AFC West in 2000, pitting them against the Dolphins in an AFC divisional game in January 2001. It represented the first playoff game at the Coliseum in two decades.

Cornerback Tory James didn’t wait long to give the home crowd a reason to get on their feet.

James returned his interception of a Jay Fiedler pass 90 yards for a touchdown less than five minutes into the game. The rout was on, as Oakland cruised to a 27-0 shutout to advance to the AFC Championship, where they’d ultimately lose to the Baltimore Ravens.

Metallica and the 2002 AFC Championship

The Raiders made the playoffs again in 2001, but they were vanquished by the Patriots in the infamous Tuck Rule game. The following season, Oakland not only made it back to the playoffs -- it also reached its first Super Bowl since 1983.

The Raiders had to beat the Titans in the AFC Championship to get there. Before the game even started, a certain band had the Coliseum parking lot rocking.

The Raiders haven’t won a playoff game since.

Brett Favre honors late father on Monday Night Football in 2003

Raiders fans are a knowledgeable bunch, and they know an historic moment when they see one. 

 

Of all the memorable performances produced by visiting players in Coliseum history, perhaps none stands out quite like Brett Favre’s emotional roller-coaster on a Monday night in December 2003.

One day after his father’s death, Favre threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns against the Raiders in a 41-7 Green Bay Packers victory. He threw for 311 yards and all four scores in the first half alone.

When Favre was announced as the Packers' starter that night, Raiders fans gave him an ovation.


Woodson says goodbye to the Coliseum in 2015

Charles Woodson loved being a Raider so much that he had to do it twice.

The defensive back played the first eight seasons of his Hall of Fame career in Oakland, and then returned for the final three seasons of it after seven years in Green Bay.

After his final game for the Silver and Black, he had to say goodbye to the fan base that had so fervently supported him ever since he was taken by Oakland with the fourth overall pick of the 1998 NFL Draft.

“RAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIDDDDDDEEEEEERRRRRSSSS!! RAAAAAIIIIIIDDDDDDEEEEEERRRRRRSSSSS!!!”

Woodson grabbed hold of a microphone after his final game in a Raiders uniform to address the Coliseum crowd.

“Though this is my last game in the Coliseum, just know that I’ll never leave you,” Woodson said in closing. “Go Raiders!”


Tailgating

Some Raiders fans’ favorite Coliseum memories oactually transpired outside of it. The parking lot long has been site of one of the more famous NFL tailgates in existence. 

“In that parking lot … it’s basically a Mardi Gras, and it’s a big family there,” NBC Sports California’s Scott Bair described. “It’s a really fun experience.”

They might look intimidating, but Raiders fans look after their own. As Maribel Hernandez said, “Raider nation is family.”

If Monday indeed is the Raiders’ final game at the Coliseum, perhaps they’ll add a few memorable moments to the list.