The Oakland Raiders franchise has perhaps one of the richest histories of any professional sporting team with countless memorable games. With such an illustrious past, this brings many memorable moments to be relived. RaiderRamble.com brings you this countdown of the eight greatest Raider games with their respective nicknames.
On October 9th, 2011, the Oakland Raiders took the field in Houston against the Texans. NFL legend and team owner Al Davis had passed away the day before. With six seconds to go in the contest, the Texans had the ball on the five-yard line down by five. Quarterback Matt Schaub tossed a game-clinching interception to safety Michael Huff. The Raiders, however, had only lined up with ten players. It has been speculated by many that Davis was the eleventh man on the field, truly one of the greatest moments in the “post-Al” era.
7. Heidi Game
On November 17th, 1968, the Raiders defeated Joe Namath’s Jets in a regular season battle by a score of 43-32. The Raiders were boosted ahead by two last-minute touchdowns. The East Coast missed the final 65-seconds of the game due to switch to the television show Heidi. When NBC broke away to Heidi the Jets were leading 32-29, and the Raiders had the ball at their own 22-yard line. Oakland scored a quick touchdown and on the ensuing kickoff returned the fumble to score another touchdown. Unfortunately, the Jets bested the Raiders in the AFC Championship later that year.
6. Holy Roller
On September 10th, 1978, the Raiders defeated the Chargers 21-20. The ending was nothing short of controversial. With ten ticks to go on the clock, the Raiders were beating down the Chargers door at the 14-yard line down by six. Raider legend Ken Stabler was going to be sacked at the 24-yard line on the final play of the game when instead he “fumbled” the ball forward. Then, Raiders running back Pete Banaszak pitched/fumbled the ball forward. Finally, Dave “The Ghost” Casper fanned and kicked the ball forward before jumping on it to score a touchdown as time expired. The point after attempted clinched a Raiders victory though needless to say, this is illegal in the NFL today.
On December 21st, 1974, John Madden’s Raiders took down Don Shula’s mighty Dolphins 28-26. The game was decided by another miracle play by Ken Stabler. Stabler tossed a touchdown pass to running back Clarence Davis from eight yards out. Davis was tightly covered. Stabler lobbed the ball between four Dolphins as he was being sacked. Davis snagged the pigskin and engraved himself in Raider folklore forever.
On December 24th, 1977, the Raiders beat the Baltimore Colts in double overtime in the divisional round of the playoffs, 37-31. In the final seconds of regulation, Ken Stabler hit Dave Casper for a 42 yard gain that would set up the game-tying field goal. Stabler and Casper would also connect again for the game-winning touchdown in the second overtime. Unfortunately, the Raiders were eventually ousted by the Broncos in the AFC Championship.
3. Red Right 88
On January 4th, 1981, the Raiders defeated the Browns 14-12 in the AFC Divisional Round. The Browns were marching into a score with a minute left. On the Raiders 13-yard line and in field goal range, the Browns dialed up a play called “Red Right 88”. Browns’ quarterback Brian Sipe tossed an interception to Raiders safety Mike Davis which effectively ended the Browns’ postseason run that year. The Raiders for their part went on to win the Super Bowl.
On December 23rd, 1972, the Raiders lost 13-7 to the Pittsburgh Steelers. On 4th and 10 with 22 seconds to go and trailing, Steelers’ quarterback Terry Bradshaw threw a pass towards one of his running backs, John Fuqua. Fuqua was then obliterated by Jack Tatum with the ball then bouncing off the turf and into the hands of fullback Franco Harris. Somehow the officials deemed Harris caught the ball.
The Steelers then got away with an obvious clip on linebacker John Villiapiano. Harris went on to score the game-winning touchdown and became a Steeler legend, even though the Steelers lost the AFC Championship to the Dolphins.
If you ever wonder how Tom Brady and Bill Belichick took over the NFL, look to the Tuck Rule Game. The New England Patriots beat the Raiders 16-13 in overtime of the 2001 AFC Divisional game. With 1:50 remaining and the Patriots trailing by three, Charles Woodson sacked Tom Brady and forced a fumble that was recovered by the Raiders. Brady dropped his head and slowly walked to the sideline because he knew the game was over. The officials eventually overturned the call for some awful reason. That reason was a little-known rule, “The Tuck Rule”. The Patriots tied and later won in overtime.
They also, allegedly, went on to film the St. Louis Rams’ practices leading up to the Super Bowl. The Patriots won the Super Bowl and their dynasty began at the expense of the Raiders depending on how you feel about the situation. This was and still is the worst call in football history and is also the biggest Raiders game with a nickname