Updated: August 9, 2016


Gary Norris Gray BASN Staff Reporter




OAKLAND, CA.-The Oakland Raiders impact the National Football League history with changes that become “Raider Rules.” However, the Raiders are currently in limbo, at the start of the 2016-17 season, not knowing where they will be playing in the future because of the lack of action by the City of Oakland administration to secure the team.  What new “Raider Rule” might emerge from this chaos?

The Oakland Raiders were the last team to pick their colors in 1960, BLACK AND SILVER. The team struggled the first three years of their existence but they stuck with their plans, what we call today a stretch offense. Those eighty yard touchdown passes worked.

This team picked up so many different colorful names like The Soul Patrol, Eleven Angry Men, Men In Black, Silver and Black, now they are known as Raider Nation.


The team played in a place that is six feet below sea level (Oakland Alameda County Coliseum) just fitting for the band of football misfits, and pirates. Then there is the loyal fan base that created the world famous Black Hole. Other teams are still afraid to enter the Black Hole. One might enter but may never-ever come out. Darth Vader feels right at home on Hegenburger Road.

 The 2016 National Football League season will begin in a few weeks. Oakland Raider fans might have something to hope for, an AFC Western Division crown. In the 1970s Raider Nation flew their flag high winning five straight division crowns.

We all know that we have to know the past in order to move into the future. The Black and Silver could be doing just that with their new improving team. Current quarterback Derek Carr may have big shoes to fill with the histories of champions Daryle Lamonica, Ken Stabler, and Jim Plunkett.

The National Football League and the Oakland Raiders have not seen eye to eye throughout the last 64 years but it has been a fun and interesting ride. The (AFL) American Football League and the NFL merged in 1966.  Al Davis was the commissioner of the younger (AFL) league. Davis the true general wanted to undercut the senior (NFL) league by raiding and signing their star players.

Davis stated many times the NFL had the advantage over the AFL because of their teams location in major cities. The AFL also did not fear signing African Americans which made them very popular with young Black football fans. NBC-TV would broadcast the Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles-San Diego Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, and Denver Broncos at four o’clock eastern time, taking away the younger fan from the old guard NFL who rarely broadcasted a late games.


There was an uneasy truce between the leagues in 1964-1966.The two leagues agreed not to sign free agents. The New York Football Giants broke the agreement by signing free agent field goal kicker Pete Gogolak from the Buffalo Bills in 1966. The war was on led by none other than Al Davis. He challenged the NFL many times and wanted to be commissioner of the NFL. It did not happen.  Some football historians have stated that the NFL wanted to pay back Al Davis for his power play to become the league’s commissioner.

The Oakland Raiders have had some interesting games the past 64 years with the impetus for changing league rules.



Remember November 1968? The Oakland Raiders were playing Joe Namath and the New York Jets at Oakland Alameda County Coliseum. The Jets seemed to have an insurmountable lead in the early 4th quarter. Executives of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) had to make a decision; stay with the game or leave for Walt Disney’s Sunday night show.

The game was closing in on the hour of seven on the east coast and four o’clock in the west. The Walt Disney Wonderful World of Color was scheduled from 7-8. On this night Disney televised the movie called “Heidi”. The NBC executives made the choice to leave the football game and the Oakland Raiders made one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history winning the game 43-32.

East coast and Midwest fans were upset because`they missed the end of the game. NBC, CBS, and ABC made new television contracts with the NFL stating that the networks would never leave a late game in progress but would push back regularly scheduled programming.


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The 2nd Raider rule was the elimination of stickum. In the late 60′s and early 70′s Lester Hayes, Jack Tatum, Fred Biletnioff, and other Oakland Raider receivers and defensive backs used a new chemical substance. This yellow gooey, sticky gel was placed on player’s socks, shoes, and jerseys before the game started. Players would place this goo in their hands during the game so that the football would stick to their hands. It  also helped to keep their hands glued to opposing players so that it would be difficult to separate from each other during the play. The League banned the substance in 1970.



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This play broke the hearts of many Oakland Raider fans.

The name came from a loyal Pittsburgh Sports broadcaster one day after it happened at Three Rivers Stadium. The name stuck.

In December 1973 old foes met again for the American Football Conference title. The Oakland Raiders traveled to Pittsburgh to meet surging young Steelers. Oakland Quarterback Ken Stabler and the Raiders scored what seemed to be the winning touchdown with little time left on the clock.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw never gave up and started the last drive of the game with time running out. Bradshaw threw the ball to John “Frenchy” Fuqua on a simple S pass pattern. An “S” pattern starts with the receivers near the sidelines and curves through the middle of the field.

On that play the football thrown by Bradshaw bounced off of an unknown helmet in a crowd of players into the hands of Steeler and former New Jerseyan fullback Franco Harris, his hands barely touching the ground. He scooped up the ball and ran 40 yards down the sideline for a Steeler touchdown and an apparent Pittsburgh victory. This was one of the most controversial plays in NFL history. Raider fans to this day believe that Jack Tatum never touched the football. Steeler fans stated that it was a legal play. The controversy will live on forever.

The rule stated in 1973 only one offensive player could touch the ball to advance. If a defensive player touched the ball in-between offensive touches then the ball could be advanced..

In the league Winter Meetings of 1973-1974 the rules were changed and now many offensive players can touch the pass as long as it does not touch the ground.

Rumors still exist. At the end of the game the umpire went to the phone bank and asked what happened on the play? and how many Pittsburgh Police officers were stationed at Three Rivers Stadium? The answer came back within minutes the film was inconclusive and that there were only 150 Pittsburgh police personal on duty.

The referee ran to the middle of the field and signaled Steeler touchdown and history was changed forever. The Steelers won two more Super Bowls while the Raiders won only one Super Bowl in the 1970′s.




In September 1978, the Oakland Raiders traveled to San Diego’s Jack Murphy Stadium and the San Diego Chargers. The Raiders were on a drive with time running out. Ken Stabler dropped back to pass, with a throwing motion fumbled the ball forward, then pushed the ball to tight end Dave Casper. Casper in turn kicked the ball towards the end zone before recovering the ball. The officials looked at each other then signaled Raider touchdown and another Silver and Black victory.

During the winter league meetings in 1978-1979 the administrators created a new rule. No offensive player can move the football forward after it is fumbled by another offensive player.



                                                OAKLAND AND THE NFL VS. LOS ANGELES AND AL DAVIS


This was a battle for eminent domain and the owner Al Davis seemed to have the upper hand.

In the 1982-83 season The Oakland Raiders packed their bags and headed south to the Hollywood City of Los Angeles. The NFL, Al Davis, the City of Oakland, and the Raiders were in a nasty legal battle. The league did not want the Raiders moving anywhere and Mr. Davis saw an opportunity to make money and challenge the National Football League anti-trust law.

The NFL and the City of Oakland could not stop Al Davis as they lost the antitrust and bad faith violations suit. “A United States Federal District Court Jury ruling that the NFL bylaw, stating that a franchise could not move unless 21 of the 28 owners gave their approval, was a violation of Federal Antitrust Law”.

This Federal court ruling voided the NFL bylaws and allowed the Oakland Raiders to become the Los Angeles Raiders”, This opened the door for other teams to move to the city of their choice by their respective  owners. Let the caravan begin.

A year later the Baltimore Colts moved to Indianapolis in the middle of the night with owner Bob Irsay. They became the Indianapolis Colts. Three years later the Saint Louis Cardinals moved to Tempe Arizona and became the Phoenix Cardinals. This team would finally become the Arizona Cardinals.

The Houston Oilers wanted out of the 35 year old wonder, the Astro Dome and moved to Tennessee to become the Titans. It was the first time a team moved and changed its name.

Last the Los Angeles Rams moved back to St. Louis the very same year the Raiders returned to Northern California in 1994, completing the Los Angeles loop.

Art Modell and the Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore to become the Ravens in 1995. It was the second team to change its name. Cleveland filed court papers to keep the Brown name and records in the mid-west city.

In the 2016-17 season the St. Louis Rams returned to Los Angeles. The Oakland Raiders are currently in limbo, not knowing where they will be playing in the future because of the lack of action by the City of Oakland administration.

The NFL panicked and feared other teams would follow the Oakland Raiders. League executives wanted stability and the Black and Silver disrupted this quietness. The league changed the bylaws that prohibited teams from moving without consent of the majority to minority. No team has challenged this new rule.




In 2001 the Oakland Raiders were playing the New England Patriots in the American Football Conference Championship. A fierce nor’easter struck the greater northeast during game time. The two teams battled. Then the unbelievable happened. The Oakland Raiders had a 13-10 lead with minutes left in the game.

The New England Patriots drove down the field when quarterback Tom Brady fell back in the pocket to throw a pass on 3rd down in the 4th quarter. The Oakland Raider corner back Charles Woodson seemed to have sacked Brady. Tom Terrific while  falling down in the snow moved his arm forward losing the football. Linebacker Glenn Biekert seemed to have recovered the ball and the Raider defense ran off the field with the football. Game over – right? Not so fast my friends. Not so fast Raider Nation.

All Raider fans knew this was a fumble and the Raiders were heading to another Super Bowl. Oh, but hold on there, the officials wanted to review the play. The officials in the replay booth determined that Brady’s arm was going forward thus it was an incomplete pass. New England kicked a field goal to tie the game and then won the game 13-10 in overtime for the AFC crown and a trip to the Super Bowl. This was the first time in the playoffs that this rule was enforced.


 So the Silver and Black have their mark all over the NFL rulebook and will most likely introduce additional new rules as time passes.

As the late Al Davis stated many times., “JUST WIN, BABY’.

Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian. Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove, Soul Tree Radio In The Raw, and The Batchelor Pad Network, Disabled Community Activist. Email at

©Copyrighted Gary Norris Gray @ Gray Leopard Prod


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