History of the Los Angeles Raiders
The professional American football team now known as the Las Vegas Raiders played in Los Angeles, California as the Los Angeles Raiders from 1982 to 1994 before relocating back to Oakland, where the team played from its inaugural 1960 season to the 1981 season. The team's first home game in Los Angeles was at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum against the San Diego Chargers on November 22, 1982 after a 57-day player strike. They played their last game as a Los Angeles-based club on December 24, 1994 at the Coliseum against the Kansas City Chiefs, a game which they lost 19–9 to eliminate them from playoff contention.
|Los Angeles Raiders|
Played in Los Angeles, California
Headquartered in El Segundo, California
|Team colors||Silver, black|
|Fight song||The Autumn Wind|
|Owner(s)||Al Davis (1982–1994)|
|Head coach||Tom Flores (1982–1987)|
Mike Shanahan (1988–1989)
Art Shell (1989–1994)
|General manager||Al Davis (1982–1994)|
|League championships (1)|
|Conference championships (1)
|Division championships (4)|
|Playoff appearances (7)|
Prior to the 1980 season, Raiders owner Al Davis attempted unsuccessfully to have improvements made to the Oakland Coliseum, specifically the addition of luxury boxes. On March 1, 1980, he signed a Memorandum of Agreement to move the Raiders from Oakland to Los Angeles. The move, which required three-fourths approval by league owners, was defeated 22–0 (with five owners abstaining). When Davis tried to move the team anyway, he was blocked by an injunction. In response, the Raiders not only became an active partner in an antitrust lawsuit filed by the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (who had recently lost the Los Angeles Rams to Anaheim), but filed an antitrust lawsuit of their own. After the first case was declared a mistrial, in May 1982 a second jury ruled in favor of Davis and the Los Angeles Coliseum, clearing the way for the move. The Raiders finally relocated to Los Angeles for the 1982 season, playing their home games at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
In the strike-shortened 1982 season, the team finished first in the AFC with an 8-1 record. They defeated the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the playoffs before losing to the New York Jets in the second round. The following season, the team compiled a 12-4 record and a first-place finish in the AFC West. in the playoffs, they convincingly defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Divisional Playoffs and Seattle Seahawks in the AFC Championship Game to advance to Super Bowl XVIII against the Washington Redskins. The Raiders built a 21–3 halftime lead over Washington en route to a 38–9 victory and their third NFL championship. The Raiders had another successful regular season in 1984, finishing 11–5, but a three-game losing streak in late October and early November forced them to enter the playoffs as the second wild card team. They were defeated by the Seahawks in the Wild Card Playoffs, 13-7. The 1985 campaign saw 12 wins and another division title, but the first-seeded Raiders suffered a humiliating 27-20 defeat at the hands of the New England Patriots in the Divisional Playoffs.
1986–1989: Struggles, beginning of the endEdit
The Raiders' fortunes declined after the loss to the Patriots in the 1985 playoffs. From 1986 through 1989, they finished no better than 8–8 and posted consecutive losing seasons for the first time since 1961–62. Also, 1986 saw Al Davis get into a widely publicized argument with running back Marcus Allen, whom he accused of faking injuries. The feud continued into 1987, and Davis retaliating by signing Bo Jackson to take Allen's place. However, Jackson was also a left fielder for Major League Baseball's Kansas City Royals, and could not play full-time until the baseball season ended in October. Even worse, another strike cost the NFL one game and prompted them to use substitute players. The Raiders fill-ins achieved a 1–2 record before the regular team returned. After a weak 5–10 finish, head coach Tom Flores moved to the front office and was replaced by Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan. Shanahan led the team to a 7–9 mark in 1988, and Allen and Jackson continued to trade places as the starting running back. Low game attendance and fan apathy were evident by this point, and in the summer of 1988, rumors of a Raiders return to Oakland intensified when a preseason game against the Houston Oilers was scheduled at Oakland Coliseum.
As early as 1986, Davis began to seek a new, more modern stadium away from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the dangerous neighborhood that surrounded it at the time (which caused the NFL to schedule the Raiders' Monday Night Football appearances as away games). In addition to the team having to share the venue with the USC Trojans, the Coliseum was aging and still lacked the luxury suites and other amenities that Davis was promised when he moved the Raiders to Los Angeles. Finally, the Coliseum had 100,000 seats and was rarely able to fill all of them, and so most Raiders home games were blacked out on television. In August 1987, it was announced that the city of Irwindale paid Davis $10 million as a good-faith deposit for a prospective stadium site. When the bid failed, Davis kept the non-refundable deposit. During this time Davis also almost moved the team to Sacramento in a deal that would have included Davis becoming the managing partner of the Sacramento Kings.
1989–1994: Final yearsEdit
Negotiations with OaklandEdit
Negotiations between Davis and Oakland commenced in January 1989, and on March 11, 1990, Davis announced his intention to bring the Raiders back to Oakland. By September 1990, however, numerous delays had prevented the completion of the deal between Davis and Oakland. On September 11, Davis announced a new deal to stay in Los Angeles, leading many fans in Oakland to burn Raiders paraphernalia in disgust.
After starting the 1989 season with a 1–3 record, Shanahan was fired by Davis, which began a long-standing feud between the two. He was replaced by former Raider offensive lineman Art Shell, who had been voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame earlier in the year. With the hiring, Shell became the first African American head coach in the modern NFL era, but the team still finished a middling 8–8. In 1990, Shell led Los Angeles to a 12–4 record. They beat the Bengals in the divisional round of the playoffs, but Bo Jackson had his left femur ripped from the socket after a tackle. Without him, the Raiders were crushed in the AFC Championship by the Buffalo Bills. Jackson was forced to quit football as a result, although surgery allowed him to continue playing baseball until he retired in 1994.
The team's fortunes faded after the loss. They made two other playoff appearances during the 1990s, and finished higher than third place only three times. In 1991, they got into the postseason as a wild card after a 9–7 regular season, but fell to Kansas City. 1992 saw them drop to 7–9. This period was marked by the injury of Jackson in 1991, the failure of troubled quarterback Todd Marinovich, the acrimonious departure of Marcus Allen in 1993, and the retirement of Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long after the 1993 season, where the Raiders went 10–6 and lost to Buffalo in the divisional round of the playoffs. The Todd Marinovich fiasco overshadowed the Raiders' 1991 and 1992 efforts. Marinovich was groomed from childhood to play football; his strict upbringing led to him being called "Robo QB" in the sports press. He attended USC and was the 24th overall pick in the 1991 draft. However, he struggled on field and was cut after the 1992 season due to repeated substance abuse problems.
Shell's five-plus-year tenure as head coach in Los Angeles was marked particularly by a bitter dispute between star running back Marcus Allen and Al Davis. The exact source of the friction is completely unknown but a contract dispute led Davis to refer to Allen as "a cancer on the team." By the late 1980s, injuries began to reduce Allen's role in the offense. This role was reduced further in 1987, when the Raiders drafted Bo Jackson—even though he originally decided to not play professional football in 1986 (when drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round). By 1990, Allen had dropped to fourth on the team's depth chart, leading to resentment on the part of his teammates. In late 1992 Allen lashed out publicly at Davis, and accused him of trying to ruin his career. In 1993, Allen left to play for the rival Kansas City Chiefs. Shell was fired after posting a 9–7 record in the 1994 season.
End of the Los Angeles RaidersEdit
In May 1995 after the departure of the Rams' for St. Louis, the owners of the National Football League teams approved with a 27–1 vote with two abstentions, a resolution supporting a plan to build a $200 million, privately financed stadium on property owned by Hollywood Park in Inglewood for the Raiders. The stadium would have also been the home of the UCLA Bruins football team, opened in 1997, and been guaranteed at least two Super Bowls. Al Davis balked and refused the deal over a stipulation that he would have had to accept a second NFL team at the stadium as soon as 1998.
On June 23, 1995, Davis signed a letter of intent to move the Raiders back to Oakland. The move was approved by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors the next month, as well as by the NFL. The move was greeted with much fanfare, and under new head coach Mike White. Hollywood Park would later become the site of an NFL Stadium for their former rivals, the Los Angeles Rams and a divison rival, the Los Angeles Chargers.
Attempted return to Los AngelesEdit
On February 19, 2015, the Raiders and the Chargers announced that they would build a privately financed $1.78 billion stadium in Carson, California if they were to move to the Los Angeles market. Both teams stated that they would continue to attempt to get stadiums built in their respective cities.
On April 22, 2015, the Carson City Council bypassed the option to put the stadium to public vote and approved the plan 3–0. The council voted without having clarified several issues, including who would finance the stadium, how the required three-way land swap would be performed, and how it would raise enough revenue if only one team moved in as tenant.
On May 19, 2015, the Chargers and Raiders announced that they had finalized a deal to secure land in Carson which was transferred to a joint powers authority in Carson after the 157-acre site was purchased by Carson Holdings a company set up by the two teams.
The League was skeptical of the site and seemed to prefer the Rams' stadium plan on a site at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, the same place rejected by the Raiders in 1995. In response, Jerry Richardson, then owner of the Carolina Panthers, who supported the plan, convinced Chargers owner Dean Spanos to recruit Bob Iger, the then CEO of The Walt Disney Company. Iger was appointed non-executive chairman of the Carson stadium project.
Despite the sales pitch from Bob Iger, many owners held reservations about the Carson site, with Jerry Jones even making a wise crack about Bob Iger. The Committee set up by the league initially recommended the Carson Site, but the Chargers and Raiders were unable to secure the votes they needed to move. After hours of debate, the NFL owners voted to allow the St. Louis Rams to move back to Los Angeles after a two decade long absence on January 12, 2016 with the San Diego Chargers having the option to join them within a year.
It was still possible, however, for the Raiders to move as they could have moved into the Rams' new stadium in Inglewood with the Rams if the Chargers opted to stay in San Diego. On January 12, 2017 the Chargers opted to join the Rams in Los Angeles, thereby closing the door on the return of the Raiders to the city. Although with an AFC West rival playing in Los Angeles, the Raiders get at least one game in Los Angeles each season playing the Los Angeles Chargers.
Cultural impact and legacyEdit
The Raiders’ time in Los Angeles had a large cultural impact on both the Raiders brand and Los Angeles. During this time, there was an explosion of popularity in both the team and the Raiders brand, as L.A. was America's second-largest media market. The team's early success was coupled with brand exposure by way of Hollywood celebrities, most notably the gangsta rap group N.W.A., wearing Raiders gear. This period is chronicled by the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary Straight Outta L.A.. This period is also considered by many to have been the beginnings of Raider Nation.
Today Los Angeles and Southern California continue to have a very large number of Raider fans. After the Raiders left Los Angeles, many fans began to travel to Oakland to see the Raiders play. The Southern California fans were considered essential to the success of the Raiders' relocation to Las Vegas.
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