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Bigger “What If” In Raiders History: 2016 Team Or Bo Jackson?

Examining “what if’ scenarios is never fun; usually, they’re bittersweet in nature. For Las Vegas Raiders fans in particular, it can be downright depressing. Still, we’re in the midst of July—the dog days before training camp gets underway.

So, if you could indulge us for a moment…

The 2016 Squad or Bo Jackson?

When it comes to Raiders history, there’s no shortage of disappointment. The recent development surrounding JaMarcus Russell served as a reminder of past draft day mistakes, namely at the quarterback position. Still, not all is doom and gloom.

One of the greatest American athletes in history once donned the Silver and Black uniform. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? No. 34: Bo Jackson.

In just a short four-year stretch, Jackson captured the hearts of Raiders fans everywhere. You could argue that no one has seen his explosiveness, movement, velocity, and sheer raw talent since. Unfortunately, those 38 games played are all that were witnessed. A freak hip injury cut Jackson’s career drastically short. Following Jackson’s absence, the Raiders struggled with relevance, accumulating up-and-down seasons.

The 2016 Raiders were…

The 2016 Raiders were heartbreak personified. Coming off a 2015 season under head coach Jack Del Rio, the team was on the upswing. A squad filled with promising youngsters at multiple positions, including Derek Carr, Khalil Mack, and Amari Cooper, the Raiders positioned themselves to shock the world. Finally, after years of losing and front office incompetence, was it possible for the Silver and Black to join the upper echelon of NFL teams?


The 12-4 mark in 2016 is a deceiving one. Despite several players receiving individual accolades, the team unceremoniously lost in the first round of the playoffs. The culprit? Carr’s injury at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts in Week 17 deflated all hope. One could argue that the team didn’t recover for years—the Raiders didn’t return to the postseason until 2021 under then-interim coach Rich Bisaccia.

Both Jackson’s and Carr’s injuries altered the course of Raiders history. That much cannot be argued.

*Top Photo: Getty Images

Bad Romance: Why The Raiders Were Better Off Without The 2016 Core

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