THIS WEEK’S NOTABLE STORYLINES:
- The Raiders open their 53rd season against the San Diego Chargers on ESPN’s Monday Night Football at O.co Coliseum.
- The game will mark the regular-season debut of Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen, the 18th coach in franchise history and youngest coach in the NFL in 2012.
- The game will also mark the first under the direction of General Manager Reggie McKenzie and the first season-opener since 1962 without Raiders owner Al Davis.
- Monday night’s game against the Chargers will mark the third time in four seasons, and the fifth time since 2006, that the Silver and Black have opened the season on Monday Night Football.
- Monday marks the 34th anniversary of “The Holy Roller,” one of the most famous endings to a game in pro football history, a 21-20 win at San Diego on Sept. 10, 1978.
- Oakland has 23 players who were not with the team in 2011.
- The Raiders and Chargers have met at least twice per season since the fi rst year of the American Football League in 1960, making the rivalry the oldest in-state pro football battle in California.
A NEW ERA OF EXCELLENCE: The Raiders enter the 2012 season under new leadership for the fi rst time in nearly fi ve decades. Owner Mark Davis named Reggie McKenzie the team’s General Manager on Jan. 10, making McKenzie the fi rst person to hold the GM title since Al Davis was named Head Coach and General Manager in 1963. McKenzie named Denver defensive coordinator Dennis Allen head coach on Jan. 30.
DENNIS ALLEN DEBUTS: Monday night’s game will mark the first in a new era for the Oakland Raiders. Dennis Allen, the NFL’s youngest coach, will be at the helm for the fi rst time as head coach of the Raiders, and the Silver and Black will take the field for the first opener without owner Al Davis since 1962. Allen will be the third head coach in franchise history to face the Chargers in his head-coaching debut following Mike Shanahan (1988) and Mike White (1995), who both posted opening-game victories.
CALIFORNIA RIVALRY RENEWED: On Monday night, the Raiders and Chargers will renew the longest-standing, in-state pro football rivalry in California. The series dates back to the fledgling days of the American Football League and began when the Chargers were based in Los Angeles and the Raiders were playing home games in San Francisco. Th e Chargers moved to San Diego in 1961 and the Raiders relocated to Los Angeles for 13 seasons from 1982-94, but the two franchises have met on the gridiron at least twice a year for 52 straight seasons, including the strike-shortened years of 1982 and 1987. Th e Silver and Black leads the all-time series against San Diego, 57-45-2, and won the lone postseason contest between the two with a 34-27 victory in the 1980 AFC Championship game. Including 14 preseason tilts, the Raiders and Chargers have met 119 times, with each game taking place within the Golden State.
SET FOR PRIME TIME: The Raiders are no strangers to the bright lights of Monday Night Football. Monday’s game will mark the third time in four seasons and the fifth time since 2006 that the Silver and Black have kicked off the season on Monday Night Football. The Raiders snapped a sevengame Monday Night Football losing skid with a 23-20 victory at Denver in last season’s opener, and last faced the Chargers to open a campaign in the 2009 regular-season opener at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders have compiled a 37-26-1 all-time record on MNF since defeating the Washington Redskins, 34-20, on Oct. 19, 1970.
MNF SPOTLIGHT ON AFC WEST: The Raiders and Chargers will lock horns on Monday Night Football for the 10th time, with the Silver and Black holding a 5-4 advantage in the series. The Raiders most frequent opponents on Monday Night Football have been AFC West rivals Denver, San Diego and Kansas City. Miami and former AFC West member Seattle are the Silver and Black’s next most frequent opponents on Monday Night Football.
SERIES OF STREAKS: The Raiders and Chargers have met twice a year since the American Football League began play in 1960 and the series has been marked by long winning streaks on both sides. The Raiders recorded 10 straight victories over the Chargers from 1972-77, that marks the second-longest series winning streak over an opponent in franchise history. That streak was actually part of a longer 17-game unbeaten stretch for the Raiders against the Chargers from 1968-77 that included two ties. More recently, the Chargers strung together 13 straight wins over the Raiders from 2003-09, the longest series losing streak in Silver and Black history. The Raiders snapped that streak with a 35-27 victory at O.co Coliseum in 2009, which started a three-game winning stretch for Oakland.
100-YARD RECEIVING COMBO: WRs
417 GOOD FOR THIRD: QB
DENARIUS vs. SAN DIEGO: WR Denarius Moore posted two of his top performances as a rookie against the Chargers last year. Moore caught five passes for 123 with two touchdowns in the Raiders’ Thursday night victory on Nov. 10. Among his five catches was a fingertip grab that sent him tumbling head over heels into field-goal range. In the season finale at O.co Coliseum, Moore totaled 101 yards on just three catches, including a 78-yard grab that helped set up a field goal.
NOTABLE CONNECTIONS:Senior offensive assistant Al Saunders was head coach of the Chargers from 1986-88 after serving as an assistant coach under Don Coryell...LB