Roman history is divided into the Golden, Silver, and Bronze ages, respectfully, and one could apply a similar format to the history of the Raiders.
There’s no rhyme or reason to the number of years in each era but each one has a starting point and an ending point. If a historian were to look at the Raiders’ history, they could break up their long journey into four eras. In fact, we’ll be examining those eras here shortly.
The four eras of the Raiders
The Learning Stage 1960-1966
During this era, the Raiders started the decade as a struggling franchise. In fact, during their first three seasons, they went 9-33 and nearly went 0-14 in 1962. However, a 20-0 win in the season finale against the New England Patriots prevented that. Oakland went 40-54-4 during this six-year span in which the team suffered many of the growing pains that expansion franchises endured prior to 1995. They were outscored 1,729 to 1,987. They missed the playoffs in 1963 despite finishing the year 10-4 because they were swept by the San Diego Chargers, who finished 11-3.
The Golden Age 1967-1983
A golden age is a period in a field of endeavor when great tasks were accomplished. The term originated from early Greek and Roman poets, who used it to refer to a time when mankind lived in a better time and was pure. One thinks of Bruce Springsteen’s song “Glory Days” when this era is revisited. Unsurprisingly, a large amount of the team’s Hall of Famers played during this era.
The Raiders went 183-66-8 during this sixteen-year span of greatness. They also won their division 13 times and only suffered one losing season, a 7-9 record in 1981. In ten of these seasons, they won 10 or more games; sheer dominance. In addition, they won all three of their Super Bowls during this span after an appearance in Super Bowl II in 1967. The Raiders outscored their opponents by 6,360 to 4,747.
The Silver Age 1984-2002
The silver age is a period that is regarded as notable but inferior to the golden age. If we go back to January 22, 1984, we can see the beginning of this era. As Marcus Allen raced to the endzone in Super Bowl XVIII, he knew that he had finally guaranteed the Raiders their third world championship. In hindsight, it marked the second stage in Raiders’ history that marked a time frame of great change. No longer one of pro football’s most dominant teams, their excellence would, unfortunately, slip a bit.
The team won division titles in 1984, 1985, and 1990, but a decade would pass before they would ride the wave of three straight division titles between 2000 and 2002. During this nineteen-year span, the team made the playoffs eight times and they made it to the AFC Championship Game three times. Unfortunately, the team only made it to the Super Bowl once and all eight playoff appearances ended in defeats. The Raiders’ regular-season record during this span was 166-137. The Silver and Black outscored their opponents 5,648 to 5,414.
The Doldrum Age 2003-present
The word “doldrum” is defined as “a state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or depression.” This best describes the Raiders following their defeat in Super Bowl XXXVII. Covering 18 years, the Raiders are 100-188 during this span and have one playoff appearance (2016). They’ve suffered nine or more losses in fifteen of those eighteen years and in eleven of those years, they have eleven or more losses.
The team did not win a division title during this span but did content hard for one in 2016. They’ve been grossly outscored by opponents by 5,319 to 7,050! During their golden era, they had only three head coaches, during their silver age, they had seven, but during this era of being stuck in the doldrums, the Raiders have had 10 different head coaches. Go back and read the Silver Age era that I described and compare these phases. There is only a one-year difference between the two and the difference between the two eras is unquestionable.
What will the future hold? Could there possibly be a new era dawning? Keep the faith, Raider Nation.
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*Top Photo: George Gojkovich/Getty Images