The NFL has 32 franchise teams at the moment and they’ve all had their ups and downs. Some of them are new and still trying to establish their place in league history. Some are recent additions to the record books. Others have a long-established history such as the Raiders, and either continued success or are struggling with their own mediocrity.
Whatever the story, every team has one. Each is different depending on who’s telling it but based on pure performance, what makes your team a storied franchise? Is it longevity? Consistency? Wins and losses? There are a few things it’s not. It’s not the team that didn’t start winning until this century. It’s not the team that’s been around for 50 years in the league but can count their Super Bowl visits on one finger. It is, however, the team that’s been to the big show more than once, in more than one decade, and has more players that earn their way to the Pro-Football Hall of Fame, whether they’ve been inducted or not.
There are several franchises in the league that have been around for a long time. Those names inspire polarizing reactions, love them or hate them. No middle ground. No gray area. Teams like the Dallas Cowboys, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Green Bay Packers. These are teams that make you respect their history, no matter how you feel about their players.
They’re not the only ones who matter
Unfortunately, those are not the only franchises that deserve recognition. So why are they the only ones that get it? The Raiders have a long history in the NFL. The team is celebrating its 60th season this year. The franchise is officially a senior citizen, but no matter how much history, greatness, polarity, or up-and-down seasons, the Raiders are still the black sheep of the league. However, they deserve every bit of respect you’d give the Cowboys, Packers or Steelers.
Why don’t the Patriots count?
Before we get into why the Raiders are so important, you’re probably wondering why the New England Patriots aren’t. This century has seen the emergence of a new dynasty in the Patriots. Unfortunately for New England, this century has pretty much been it. The Patriots were enfranchised in 1960, the same year as the Raiders, and made it to the playoffs for the first time in 1963. They wouldn’t see the postseason again until after the AFL/NFL merger, where they would lose in the 1976 divisional round to the Oakland Raiders. They would then go through an on again/off again relationship with the postseason, visiting a couple of times a decade, but ultimately they saw no playoff success until 2001 when the Belichick/Brady era began.
It’s true that winning six Super Bowls isn’t an easy accomplishment, and the New England Patriots have earned that. More important, however, is that they have had no success outside of one quarterback and one coach. While the Patriots have proven themselves a dynasty, sustained success will dictate whether they will be a storied franchise in the annals of NFL history.
Recognize The Raiders’ History
The Raiders have been through the wringer in their almost 60 years of existence. Al Davis has moved them from Oakland to LA, back to Oakland, and had a plan to move the team to Las Vegas, which will be realized in 2020. Through all of that, they have produced Super Bowl wins and losses, playoff trips, long stretches of dominance, and dark ages in the pits of the league.
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Through all of this, the team has produced and attracted superstar players almost every year. The individual seasons’ teams may not have had success but the organization is consistently at the forefront of news and rumors. That says a lot about the clout a team has. The franchise has three Lombardi trophies in the case and is building to bring home another one.
Since 1963, the team has won 15 division titles (three AFL and 12 NFL), four AFC Championships (1976, 1980, 1983, and 2002), one AFL Championship (1967), and three Super Bowl Championships (XI, XV, and XVIII).
The team saw so many changes over the last two years that showed a clear departure from the mediocrity that this franchise has settled for over the last almost two decades, it’s clear that they’re fed up and not going to take it anymore. Love it or leave it, the Raiders, no matter where they end up, have cemented their place in sports history.