Top 10 Greatest NFL Games Featuring the Oakland/Los Angeles/Las Vegas RaidersThroughout their history in the NFL, the Raiders have been one of the most iconic teams in all of sports. They have had stints in Oakland, Los Angeles, and now Las Vegas.
The Raiders have been part of some of the most memorable games in NFL history. Regardless of whether they won or lost, any NFL classic that involved the Raiders should be remembered as a thriller.
Here are the top 10 greatest NFL games featuring the Silver and Black.
In snowy Foxborough, Massachusetts, the normally warm-weather Raiders got off to a strong start, building a 13-3 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Patriots cut the lead to three following a Tom Brady rushing touchdown. Then came one of the most controversial calls in NFL history. Raiders defensive back Charles Woodson appeared to have hit Brady and caused a fumble a second after Brady tucked the ball back in, which allowed the Raiders to recover the ball. But before Oakland could run the clock out, the play went to review and, for some reason, it was overturned and ruled an incomplete pass. The Patriots would score the tying field goal and then win the game 16-13 in overtime. This would not only be the start of the Patriots' dynasty but also the beginning of a bad period in Raiders history.
As the defending Super Bowl champions, the Raiders were looking to repeat in 1977. Their divisional playoff game pitted them against the Baltimore Colts. In one of the longest games in NFL history, the Raiders prevailed 37-31 in double overtime. The play of the game was a key pass from Ken Stabler to tight end Dave Casper, in which Casper had to make an over-the-shoulder catch while running the post route in the fourth quarter. This led to a game-tying field goal, sending it to overtime, which culminated in the Raiders' win.
The Raiders had just scored a touchdown from Stabler to lead 7-6 in the final moments of their divisional round against the Pittsburgh Steelers. With 22 seconds left, Pittsburgh had the ball at their own 40 and were facing 4th and 10. Terry Bradshaw dropped back and threw a pass to Frenchy Fuqua, who collided with Raiders' defensive back Jack Tatum just as the ball hit one (or both of them) simultaneously. Meanwhile, Steelers running back Franco Harris caught the deflection before it hit the ground and ran in for the winning score. Controversy remains over the rules at the time, which questioned whether the ball hit Fuqua only (which would have been illegal) or hit Tatum or both (which would have been legal).
Facing the two-time defending champion Miami Dolphins in a game dubbed Super Bowl 8 1/2, the Raiders fell behind 26-21. However, they had the ball and drove down to the Miami 8-yard line. Ken Stabler dropped back, scrambled to find a receiver before he fired a shot-put toss to Raiders running back Clarence Davis, who somehow caught the pass while being surrounded by three Dolphins defenders. This gave Oakland a 28-26 win and put an end to the Dolphins' dynasty.
In a game that lasted longer than NBC executives had anticipated, the Jets and the Raiders battled to a 29-29 tie before New York took the lead 32-29. At 7:00 Eastern Time, NBC decided to switch from the game to show the movie Heidi. What fans in the Eastern time zone missed was the Raiders scoring two touchdowns in the final moments to win 43-32. By the way, it wasn't the Shirley Temple version of Heidi the fans saw, but it did cause an uproar amongst the fans, leading to telephone fuses blowing out.
On a cold, frigid day in Cleveland, the Raiders clung to a 14-12 lead in the final moments before the Browns drove down the field. With Cleveland at Oakland's 13, they were in position to score a field goal. However, after witnessing two field goals missed and one blocked, Browns head coach Sam Rutigliano elected to throw the ball. What ensued was a pass from Brian Sipe that was intercepted in the endzone by Mike Davis, preserving Oakland's victory.
Down 20-14 late in the game against the Chargers, Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler felt the pressure of San Diego's defense. In the chaos, Stabler "intentionally" fumbled the ball, which rolled to running back Pete Banaszak. Banaszak failed to recover and pushed the ball forward towards tight end Dave Casper, who batted and kicked the ball before recovering it for the touchdown. The Raiders won 21-20 following the extra point. This play was controversial even years later when the Raiders admitted to deliberately batting the ball forwards when it was illegal to do so.
The Raiders trailed the Patriots (the only team to beat them in 1976) 21-17 in the fourth quarter. They faced a 3rd-and-18 when quarterback Ken Stabler threw an incomplete pass. However, a controversial call would save the Raiders as Patriots' defensive lineman Ray Hamilton was called for roughing the passer late. This extended Oakland's drive, allowing them to score the winning touchdown and advance to the next round.
In one of the coldest games ever played, the Raiders traveled to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers in the AFC Championship game. The field at Three Rivers Stadium was so icy that players slipped and fell, and there were only three points scored after three quarters. However, the Steelers took the game late and held off a late Oakland rally to win 16-10.
In a bizarre situation, the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers found themselves in a Week 18 matchup where both teams would make the playoffs with a tie, eliminating the Steelers. The Chargers overcame a 29-14 deficit to tie the score and send it to overtime. After each team converted a field goal, it seemed like both teams were content with a tie. But then, a timeout was called by the Chargers, changing the mindset for the Raiders, who then secured a 35-32 win, sending Los Angeles packing.