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OAKLAND
RAIDERS

American Football League
Charter Members

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     The Oakland Raiders' image was synonymous with the American Football League's: brash, bold, and unconventional.  Starting out as a poor franchise with a weak team playing in Frank Youell Field, towards the end of the 1960s it became an AFL powerhouse and one of pro football's most consistent teams.  The franchise tied with the Texans/Chiefs for  the most post-season games played as an AFL team, six.  
      The team spent its first three seasons changing stadiums and losing more games than it won. Al Davis, a former assistant coach for the San Diego Chargers, was hired as head coach and general manager in 1963. He reorganized the Raiders, and the team improved to a 10-4 won-loss record.  Four years later, the club captured the 1967 AFL Championship. Clem Daniels, Billy Cannon, Hoot Gibson, Art Powell and Daryle Lamonica were among many great players to wear the "silver and black", to be joined by AFL legend George Blanda in 1967, the start of a nine-year career with the Raiders.

Oakland Raiders in the
American Football League Hall of Fame

Fred Biletnikoff
George Blanda
Willie Brown

Billy Cannon
Clem Daniels
Ben Davidson
Tom Flores
Claude "Hoot" Gibson
Dave Grayson

Wayne Hawkins
Daryle Lamonica
Gene Mingo
Jim Otto
Vito "Babe" Parilli
Art Powell

Art Shell
Gene Upshaw
Al Davis

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Jack Larscheid Wayne Crow Fred Williamson Bo Roberson Alan Miller Mike Mercer Bill Budness Bob Svihus Kent McCloughan Dan Conners Pete Banaszak
Click on images for a larger view.

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RAIDERS TAKE 1967 AFL TITLE, 40-7

            After going 13-1 in 1967, the Western Division Champion Raiders met the 9-4-1 Eastern Division Champion Houston Oilers for the American Football League Championship.  The Raiders prevailed, 40-7, for their first league championship.  George Blanda kicked four field goals and four PATs, Hewritt Dixon scored on a 69-yard run, and Daryle Lamonica threw for two touchdowns and ran for one more.  Lamonica was the AFL season MVP for the second time in 1967, sharing the honor with Joe Namath.

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        Early Raiders logo from a 1960 pennant.  The moustache seems to be a remnant of the originally considered name of the franchise, the 'SenÚres'.

 

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Oakland Raiders vs New York Titans game played on September 9, 1962 at Frank Youell Field in Oakland.

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Clem Daniels (36), star halfback for the Raiders, gets ready to change direction to avoid an onrushing defender.

(Photo provided by Charles Oakey)

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George Blanda
Quarterback

Houston Oilers
Oakland Raiders

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RealPatch10Year.gif (2119 bytes)George Blanda was an "NFL reject". Yeah, right!!  
          
           Just like George Washington was a "British reject"!    The NFL Bears thought the University of Kentucky's Blanda wasn't good enough to be a quarterback and wanted him to be a place kicker only. But in 1960, the formation of the American Football League led to Blanda's signing by the Houston Oilers as a quarterback and kicker.
          Blanda went on to lead the Oilers to the first two league titles in Americn Football League history, and he won AFL Player of the Year honors in 1961.  Blanda once passed for seven touchdowns in one game, and thirty-six in a season, 1961. Thirteen times he threw four or more touchdown passes in a game, and once he unleashed sixty-eight passes, for Houston against Buffalo on Nov. 1, 1964. 
         For three staight years, 1963 through 1965, he led the league in passing attempts and completions, and was in the top ten for attempts, completions, yards and touchdowns for seven straight years.

           He was a four-time member of the American Football League All-Star team. In 1967, when Blanda was almost 40, he left the Oilers but the Oakland Raiders saw him as a contributing backup passer and a dependable kicker, so they picked him up. At Oakland, he was a clutch kicker and a valuable "reliever" who pulled games out if fellow Hall of Famer Daryle Lamonica was unavailable or ineffective. Blanda went on to become the oldest quarterback to start a title game, and the oldest pro football player, with the longest career, 26 years.
 
          Until his death at age 83 on 27 September 2010, he considered himself an AFL player, and was a strong supporter of the American Football League's heritage, often saying: "That first year, the Houston Oilers or Los Angeles Chargers (24-16 losers to the Oilers in the title game) could have beaten the NFL champion (Philadelphia) in a Super Bowl," Blanda further said: "I think the AFL was capable of beating the NFL in a Super Bowl game as far back as 1960 or '61. I just regret we didn't get the chance to prove it."
          Blanda was one of only 20 players to play all ten years of the AFL and one of only three who were in every regular season AFL game their teams played, 140 straight.  He is the placekicker on the All-time All-AFL Team.    Blanda is also in the University of Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame.

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame

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Willie Brown
Defensive Back

Denver Broncos
Oakland Raiders

          Willie Brown played collegiate football at Grambling and was not drafted by any Professional team after leaving school in 1963.  He was signed by the Houston Oilers but was cut from the team during training camp.         
           He was then signed by the Broncos and became a starter by the middle of his rookie season. He won All-AFL honors in 1964 and played in the AFL All-Star Game, recording 9 interceptions for 144 yards.  He was also an AFL All-Star for the Broncos in 1965.
          In 1967, Brown was traded to the AFL's Oakland Raiders, and would spend the remainder of his AFL career there, serving as defensive captain.  At Oakland, he was named to 3 more AFL All-Star games.  He was also named All-AFL 3 times.
          He is a member of the American Football League All-Time Team and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on July 28, 1984, his first year of eligibility. In 1999, he was ranked number 50 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players, making him the highest-ranking Raider player.

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame

 


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Billy Cannon
Halback ~ Tight End

Houston Oilers
Oakland Raiders

         Billy Cannon, the All-American and 1959 Heisman Trophy winner from Louisiana State University, was one of the American Football League's most celebrated combatants. He had an uncommon combination of brute strength with the speed of a sprinter. In 1960, his signing by the Houston Oilers followed a fierce bidding war that began when Oilers owner Bud Adams met Cannon in the end zone following LSU's Sugar Bowl victory, and ended in court, with the AFL winning against the NFL. That put the fledgling league on the football map.    Cannon, at halfback, scored an 88-yard touchdown on a pass from George Blanda in the first AFL Championship game, a 24-16 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. He scored the only touchdown in the Oilers’ repeat victory over the (San Diego) Chargers in the second-ever AFL Championship game.

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           Cannon amassed 2,043 all-purpose yards in 1961, and led the league in rushing. He played for the Houston Oilers from 1960 through 1963 and went to the Raiders in 1964. Al Davis converted him to a tight end during the 1964 season, and he finished his career as one of the best players of all time at that position.  Cannon made the AFL All-star team as a halfback in 1961, and as a tight end in 1969.  As a tight end, he averaged 15.5 yards per catch, which is better than the greatest tight ends of any era.
          In 1967, Cannon scored 10 touchdowns receiving. He scored 64 touchdowns in his career, 47 of them receiving. He played in a total of six American Football League Championship games, winning twice with the Oilers and once with the Raiders. Cannon is one of twenty players who played the entire ten years of the American Football League.

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame

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Clem Daniels
Halfback

Dallas Texans
Oakland Raiders

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        Clem Daniels of PRAIRIE VIEW A&M University was voted to All-Conference honors during his sophomore and junior years, and captained the NAIA National Championship team in his senior year.
          He was voted into Prairie View's Hall of Fame in 1992 and the California Black Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993.  Daniels was drafted in 1960 by the Dallas Texans. He was on the Texans' roster for fourteen games in 1960, listed as a defensive halfback, but saw little playing time at defense or running back, behind Hall of Famers Johnny Robinson and  Abner Haynes.
        In 1961, Daniels was traded to the Oakland Raiders, and spent seven stellar years there. He was an American Football League All-Star five straight years, in 1963, ‘64, ‘65, ‘66 and ‘67.
          In 1963, Daniels was the Sporting News' American Football League Most Valuable Player, with a 5.1 yards/carry average, gaining 1,099 yards.  His 5,101 yards on 1,134 attempts made him the All-Time leading rusher in the American Football League.
          In 1970, Daniels was selected to the All-Time All-AFL Team

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame

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Tom Flores
Quarterback

Oakland Raiders
Buffalo Bills
Kansas City Chiefs

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        In what may be the only flaw in an otherwise perfect book, "The Other League" leaves the University of the Pacific's Tom Flores off the list of men who played in the AFL throughout its ten-year existence.  I recall that when I spoke to the late author Jack Horrigan about that, he told me it was because Flores had not played for a whole year that he spent on "injured reserve".
         Be that as it may, when the AFL was formed in 1960, Flores was on an AFL team roster, and he was still on an AFL team roster through the league's last year in 1969, winning a World Championship ring as Len Dawson's able backup in the Chiefs' demolition of the Vikings.
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American Football League Hall of Fame has rectified the earlier omission, by including Flores on its list of 10-year AFL players.                

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       Flores was the first Hispanic-American quarterback in Professional Football.  He became the team's starting quarterback early in the 1960 season and led the league by completing 54.0 percent of his passes, throwing for 1,738 yards and 12 touchdowns.
         Flores had his best season in 1966, when he was an AFL All-Star.   He completed 49.3 percent of his attempts, for 2,638 yards and 24 touchdowns in 14 games.  He is the fifth-leading passer, all-time, in the AFL.   Oh, by the way, he also went on to coach the Raiders to two Super Bowl victories.

        As such, Flores is the only head coach to have done so, and NOT be inducted to the "pro football" Hall of Fame.  Another NFL-biased flaw in the PFHOF.

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame

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Dave Grayson
Defensive Back

Dallas Texans
Kansas City Chiefs
Oakland Raiders

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       Dave Grayson played offensive and defensive halfback at the University of Oregon.  He was drafted by the Dallas Texans in 1961 and played four years with the Texans/Chiefs before joining the Oakland Raiders in 1965.   Grayson held the AFL record for longest interception return for a td, 99 yds against the New York Titans in 1961.  He had an interception off George Blanda in the Texans' classic 1962 double-overtime championship game victory over the defending AFL Champion Houston Oilers.  Grayson was an American Football League All-Star six times,  in Dallas/Kansas City in 1962, 1963 and 1964, and in Oakland in 1965, 1966  and 1969.   He made a 48-yard return with the opening kickoff against the Oilers in  the 1967 AFL Championship Game.  With Oakland, he led the AFL in interceptions in 1968 with 10.   He is the all-time AFL leader in interceptions with 47, for a 20-yard return average and 5 tds, and he averaged 25.4 yards on 110 kickoff returns.  He is a member of the American Football League All-Time Team.

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame


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Wayne Hawkins
Offensive Guard

Oakland Raiders



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          Wayne Hawkins from the University of the Pacific was drafted as an offensive guard in the American Football League's first draft by the Denver Broncos, but joined the Oakland Raiders before the start of the first AFL season. Hawkins is one of only twenty AFL players who were in the AFL for its full 10 years.   He is one of only seven players who played all ten years in the AFL for one team in one city, playing in 129 consecutive regular-season games with Oakland.              

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           Hawkins was an AFL All-Star in 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, and 1967, and was on the 1967 AFL Champion Oakland team in Super Bowl II against the Green Bay Packers.   He is a member of the Raiders' All-Time Team.

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame


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Tom Keating
Defensive Tackle

Oakland Raiders

       At MICHIGAN Tom Keating was a three-year starter at defensive tackle, selected as the team's Most Valuable Player in 1963.   He was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the fifth round of the 1964 American Football League draft, and earned AFL Championship rings with the team in 1964 and 1965.
       Keating was traded to the Oakland Raiders in 1966, and started at defensive tackle in the 1967 season in which the Raiders went 13-1, and beat the Houston Oilers 40-7 in the AFL Championship Game, earning a third Championship ring for Keating.  That year, Keating, Ben Davidson, Dan Birdwell and Ike Lassiter led a defense that gave up the fewest yards rushing and the fewest rushing yards per attempt in the AFL. Oakland also had 67 sacks and finished third in fewest passing yards and second in least points allowed.
        Keating was an American Football League All-Star in 1966 and 1967 (First Team).

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Daryle Lamonica
Quarterback

Buffalo Bills
Oakland Raiders

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          After a 20 for 28, 349 yard performance in the 1962 East-West Shrine Game played at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco, Notre Dame's Daryle Lamonica was drafted by the Buffalo Bills, where he went on to be the "relief pitcher" for their two American Football League championship seasons in 1964 and 1965.  His trademark became 'saving' games in which he would enter late in the game and lead the team to victory, often bringing them from behind.
          In a trade that still rankles Bills fans, he went to the Raiders with Glenn Bass in 1967, for Art Powell and Hall of Famer Tom Flores.  With the Raiders, he continued his 'long-ball' tactics, earning the title 'the Mad Bomber'
          In his first year with the Raiders, he threw for 30 touchdowns and ran for four more.  In 1969, he threw for 34 touchdowns and over 3,300 yards. His AFL Raiders teams won three straight Western Division titles and one American Football League Championship.   Lamonica was a three-time American Football League All-star and twice was selected as the American Football League's Most Valuable Player, in 1967 and 1969.  

        Daryle Lamonica's regular season record as a starter in the AFL was a phenomenal 40-4-1, winning 90% of his starts.  He went 66-16-6 for his overall career as a starter, good for a 78.4% winning percentage, second in Pro Football history.

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame


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Jim Otto
Center

Oakland Raiders

        Jim Otto played first for Win Brockmeyer at Wausau High School, then at the University of Miami as a center and linebacker, setting the school record for career tackles.
       Otto wasn't drafted in the NFL; no team in that league was interested in the undersized center, so he signed with the AFL's Oakland Raiders and was issued uniform #50 for the AFL's inaugural season, 1960.  He switched to his familiar #00 the next year, the number  permitted by the AFL because his jersey number 00 is a homonym pun of his name (aught-O). Jim Otto worked diligently to build his body up to his normal playing weight of 250 pounds.
      For the next fifteen years Jim Otto became a fixture at center for the Raiders, never missing a single game due to injury ó and there were many of them. Including pre-season, regular season and post-season games, Otto competed in 308 total games when, arguably, for the sake of his body, he should have retired far sooner. 
      To this day, Jim Otto embodies the toughness and determination the Raiders began to exemplify in the mid-1960s when Al Davis took control of the team.

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      He is one of only twenty men to play the entire ten years of the AFL, and one of seven to spend them all with a single team.  He was All-AFL in 1960, and an AFL All-Star from 1961 through 1969. Otto was named the starting center on the All-Time AFL team

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame


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Art Powell
Wide Receiver

New York Titans
Oakland Raiders
Buffalo Bills

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       Art Powell was another so-called "NFL Reject".  The receiver from San Jose' State was expendable to the Eagles, but with the New York Titans in 1960, he teamed with Hall of Famer Don Maynard to form the first professional wide receiver tandem to each gain over 1,000 yards on receptions in a season.   They did it again in 1962.    Powell had the size, speed and ability to make remarkable plays all over the field.  He led the American Football League in receiving yards in 1960 and in touchdowns in 1960 and again in 1963, after being traded to the Oakland Raiders.    The Raiders' record improved from 1962's 1-13 to 10-4 after obtaining Powell in 1963.   That year, Powell scored 16 touchdowns and caught 73 passes for 1,394 yards in just 14 games to lead the raiders to their first winning season.  

       Powell is still the Raiders 7th leading receiver of all-time, and he scored 50 touchdowns in just four 14-game seasons with Oakland.  He had five seasons with over 1,000 yards in receiving, and was an American Football League All-Star in 1963, ‘64, ‘65, and ‘66.  He had 81 career receiving touchdowns, three behind leader Don Maynard and four more than Lance Alworth.  He was first or second team on All-Time All-AFL Teams selected by hall of fame selectors and wire services.

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame

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Harry Schuh
Offensive Guard

Oakland Raiders

       The Raiders' Harry Schuh was one of many outstanding draftees to be signed by the American Football League in the years before the "common draft".  Joe Namath was the AFL's first pick in 1965; Schuh was the second.  Schuh was the first of Oakland's first five choices,  including Fred Biletnikoff, who were all signed that year by Al Davis.   The Raiders' successful 1965 draft and Davis' influence on the rest of the AFL to out-sign the NFL can be considered a pivotal moment in the events leading to the pro footall merger. 

       Schuh, the lineman from Memphis State (now the
University of Memphis) had been an all-century high school fullback and lineman in Pennsylvania, and an All-American in college, playing in the College All-Star game and the Coaches All-America game as a senior.   An agile, quick lineman, he played guard and tackle for the Raiders, providing excellent pass blocking for Daryle Lamonica.  Schuh was an American Football League All-Star in 1967 and 1969.  He was selected as a member of the Raiders' All-Time Team.
 

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Al Davis
Head Coach, General Manager, Owner
Oakland Raiders

American Football League
Commissioner

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        Al Davis attended Wittenberg, graduated from Syracuse University, and went on to become an icon of the fledgling American Football League, first with the Los Angeles Chargers and then with the Raiders.
        In 1963 at the age of 33, as the head coach and general manager of the Raiders, Davis led them to a 10-4 record and received unanimous American Football League Coach of the Year honors, with a team that had been 9-33-0 in its first three years. 
       
After the 1965 season, when the other league's Giants broke a gentleman's agreement and signed Pete Gogolak away from the Bills, Al Davis was made AFL Commissioner, and and brought the pompous NFL to its knees by orchestrating a masterful series of signings by AFL teams of star NFL players, including 49ers QB John Brodie, Bears TE Mike Ditka, and Rams QB Roman Gabriel. 
        
Fearful NFL owners asked for a merger in secret meetings with AFL owners in June 1966, and without Davis' knowledge, the leagues agreed to merge. 

 

        Davis was offered the assistant commissioner job, but declined and went back to the Raiders' front office.  AFL Hall of Fame reporter Jerry Magee (San Diego Union) says: "Al Davis taking over as commissioner was the strongest thing the AFL ever did.  He thought the AFL-NFL merger was a detriment to the AFL . . . it was a disappointment to him that they merged."
          In this webmaster's opinion, had Al Davis been given the opportunity to continue his efforts, the NFL would have folded or capitulated to join the AFL.  Davis was blindsided by AFL owners who agreed to the NFL's offer of a merger without consulting him.  His devotion to the AFL remains strong.  The Raiders' three Super Bowl rings (won as an NFL team) all bear the logo of the American Football League.  For his contribution in making the AFL the genesis of modern Professional Football, Al Davis will forever be a hero to American Football League fans, and will always be known as "Mr. AFL".
       
  A member of the American Football League for its entire ten-year existence.

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame

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