The 1967 Oakland Raiders were coached by John Rauch (pictured) and anchored by the likes of center Jim Otto, guard Wayne Hawkins, running back Hewritt Dixon, CB Willie Brown and LB Dan Conners. Rauch was named the American Football League’s Coach of the Year for 1967 in just his second year at the helm. The Raiders posted a 13-1 record that season and won the AFL Western Division. The Raiders outscored their opponents 468-233. The Silver and Black led the AFL in scoring and only Houston allowed fewer points.
Wally Lemm was the head coach, Pete Beathard led the Oilers on the field at the quarterback position while Andy and George Rice (no relation) and Ken Houston anchored the defense. Woodie Campbell and Hoyle Granger handled the ball carrying duties.
The American Football League formed in 1959 with the Raiders joining in 1960 after a twist of fate shifted the origin of the franchise from Minneapolis to Oakland. After winning only three games from 1961-62, Al Davis was hired as head coach and general manager and immediately set to turning the club around. After steady improvement and narrow playoff misses, and Mr. Davis now serving as managing general partner, the Raiders took the next step in 1967.
On a sunny, 47-degree New Year’s Eve day, in front of 53,330 fans at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, the Raiders would not be denied their first championship. RBs Hewritt Dixon and Pete Banaszak combined for 260 yards on the ground and the Raiders defense limited the Oilers to 146 yards of total offense. QB Daryle Lamonica tossed a pair of touchdown passes and George Blanda kicked four field goals on the day.
QB Daryle Lamonica (3) tossed two TD passes in the 1967 AFL Championship game against Houston.
The first quarter was fairly quiet in terms of scoring. Dave Grayson returned the opening kickoff 47 yards. Dixon and Banaszak runs, and a pass to WR Fred Biletnikoff, got the Raiders into scoring range, but Blanda missed a 38-yard attempt wide right and the Oilers offense took the field for the first time.
Beathard led Houston on an 11-play march but Connors stole the ball from TE Alvin Reed and the Raiders had the ball back. The Oilers defense held the home team to a three-and out and P Mike Eischeid’s punt was fair caught at the Houston 40. The Raiders defense returned the favor with a three-and-out of their own. Jim Norton’s 39-yard punt was returned 9 yards to the Oakland 43 by Rodger Bird.
Lamonica led the Raiders on a 7-play, 28-play drive that resulted in a 37-yard Blanda field goal that put the Raiders up 3-0 with 3:06 left in the first quarter. The Oilers next drive stalled at their 44 and the quarter ended with a Norton punt. The Oilers actually outgained the Raiders 93-52 in the opening stanza.
Bird returned the punt 11 yards to the Oakland 31. On the very next play, Dixon broke loose around left end and raced for a 69-yard touchdown run. Blanda’s extra point was good and the Silver and Black led 10-0 with 14:49 left in the second quarter.
The Raiders defense held the Houston Oilers to just 146 yards of total offense. AP Photo.
The Raiders defense turned up the heat on Beathard causing a Willie Brown interception on the second play of the Oilers next possession. But, the Raiders were unable to capitalize as Blanda missed a 44-yard field goal attempt wide left. Houston’s next drive stalled at their 28 and Bird called for and made a fair catch of a 31-yard punt at the Oakland 41. The Raiders drove to the visitor’s 36-yard line but Dixon was stuffed on 4th and 1 and Houston took over on downs.
The Raiders defense forced another three-and-out with CB Kent McCloughan breaking up a pass on 3rd and 4 to force a punt. WR Warren Wells made a fair catch of a 36-yard punt at the Oakland 22. A 10-yard pass mixed in with Banaszak and Dixon runs, and a Lamonica scramble, set the Raiders up at the Houston 17-yard line. Again facing 4th and 1, Blanda lined up for a field goal with Lamonica as his holder. The savvy veterans pulled off a fake and Lamonica connected with TE Dave Kocourek for a 17-yard touchdown pass. Blanda’s extra point was good and the Raiders led 17-0 with 12 seconds left in the first half. An 11-yard Granger run brought the half to a close.
Zeke Moore fielded the opening kickoff of the second half. Duane Benson stripped the ball and Ken Herock recovered it and returned the fumble to the Oilers 29. Seven plays later, Lamonica scored from 5 yards out, Blanda’s extra point was good and the Raiders all of sudden led 24-0.
The Raiders got the ball back after a three-and-out and a punt. Blanda capped a 9-play, 56-yard drive with a 40-yard field goal to put Oakland up 27-0.
Oilers QB Pete Beathard was harrassed all day and sacked three times. AP Photo.
The Raiders defense continued their dominating performance forcing another three-and-out. Norton’s 33-yard punt was fair caught and the Silver and Black started their next possession at their 46. Houston’s defense returned the favor and the Raiders were forced to punt. Eischeid’s 44-yard punt went out of bounds at the Oilers’ 2-yard line. Another three-and-out brought Norton on for another punt. Bird returned the 49-yard punt to the Houston 31.
Blanda capped off a 7-play drive with a 42-yard field goal to give the Raiders a 30-0 lead with 14:16 left in the fourth quarter.
Beathard answered by guiding the Oilers on a 5-play, 78-yard drive, which was aided by a roughing the passer call. Beathard connected with Charles Frazier for a 5-yard TD pass. The extra point was good and the Raiders lead was cut to 30-7 with 12:43 left to play.
Undeterred, the Raiders padded their lead when Blanda connected from 36 yards out to cap a 5-play, 20-yard drive and make the score 33-7 with 10:53 left in the game. The Raiders could start to think about that trip to Miami.
A 12-yard touchdown pass from Lamonica to Bill Miller with 6:54 left in the 4th quarter capped an 8-play, 48-yard drive. Blanda’s extra point was good and the Raiders finished off the Oilers 40-7. The teams traded punts the remainder of the game with the Raiders getting the ball back with 10 seconds left and running out the clock.
The Raiders captured their first American Football League Championship and earned the right to play in Super Bowl II, the first of five Super Bowl appearances to date for the Team of the Decades.