The Nokia Theatre plays host to the ESPY Awards, the biggest night in sports, in Los Angeles.
Hosted by recording artist Drake, the best athletes and teams in the world are honored for their achievements throughout the year in a variety of categories such as Best Breakthrough Athlete and Best Play.
This recognition of great athletes, sparked a thought; if the Raiders were to host their own version of the ESPYs, which teams and moments would stand out over the rest?
The Raiders have been one of the most successful franchises in sports over the past 50 years, so it’s hard to narrow down just a singular winner for each category, but we did our best; here are the best moments in franchise history according to Raiders.com.
The Silver and Black cruised through their first two postseason games with convincing wins over the Steelers and the Seahawks to advance to a matchup with the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII in Tampa.
Paced by RB Marcus Allen who rushed for nearly 200 yards, the Redskins were no match for the dynamic Raiders, who eventually won the game 38-9 to secure their third championship in team history.
Originally drafted the year previous by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the two-sport athlete elected not to jump to the NFL and joined the Kansas City Royals, which allowed the Raiders to select him in 1987.
Jackson is arguably the greatest pure athlete of all-time, having accumulated four 20-home run seasons (1987-90) and an All-Star nod in 1989 while in the MLB, and also racking up 2,782 rushing yards during his four seasons in Silver and Black.
What truly made Jackson a special athlete was not just his statistical production, but the way he played the game. He had the rare combination of both size and speed, and as a result some of his runs are truly athletic feats more than just football plays.
Best Championship Moment
In a Hall of Fame career highlighted by 61 interceptions, none may have been more memorable for Willie Brown than his interception return for a touchdown in Super Bowl XI.
With the Raiders holding a convincing 26-7 lead in the fourth quarter, Willie Brown saw the opportunity to put the game away and that’s exactly what he did when he picked off Vikings QB Fran Tarkenton and returned it 75 yards for the score.
“Minnesota was in a hurry-up offense and I just knew their tendencies and what they would be like. I just played a hunch,” said Brown when asked about his memorable grab. “When you’re playing the CB position, you can’t be afraid to make a mistake and so I took a chance and I was right on taking that chance.”
Brown’s pick six was the nail in the coffin for the Vikings, and the Raiders cruised to a 32-14 victory and secured their first World Championship in team history.
With 8,545 rushing yards and 79 touchdowns, Marcus Allen is the top rusher in Raiders history.
During his career in Silver and Black, Allen had more than a handful of memorable runs, but none may be better than his 74-yard touchdown run against the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII.
From the first whistle, the Raiders came out firing, and with just over a minute left in third quarter they had established a 28-9 lead over their foes from the nation’s capital.
With the ball at their own 26-yard line, it was time for Marcus Allen to go work, and he did just that, galloping downfield through the Redskins defense for a 74-yard touchdown, which put the Raiders up 35-9.
In addition to putting the game out of reach for Washington, Allen’s run was a then-record in the Super Bowl and helped catapult him to being named the MVP of Super Bowl XVIII.
The Raiders secured their third World Championship with a 38-9 win, and Allen finished the day with 191 yards.
On Christmas Eve 1977, the Oakland Raiders and the then-Baltimore Colts played in one of the best games in professional football history when they met in an AFC Divisional Playoff game at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore.
Both teams entered the matchup riding hot streaks and playing confident football, and at the end of the first half, the score was 10-7 in favor of the Colts.
However, after forcing the Colts to punt on their first possession of the second half, the Raiders drove the length of the field and Ken Stabler connected with TE Dave Casper for an 8-yard touchdown pass. The Silver and Black took a 14-10 lead.
The two teams continued to exchange blows, and with 2:55 left in the game, the Colts found themselves back on top 31-28.
Determined to put some points on the board, Ken Stabler and company drove down the field, highlighted by an amazing over-the-shoulder grab by Casper, now known as Ghost to the Post, to set up a K Eroll Mann 22-yard field goal to tie the game and force overtime.
In the first overtime, neither team could find the end zone, so still tied at 31, they advanced to a second.
In the early moments of the second extra period, Ken Stabler connected with Dave Casper on a 10-yard touchdown pass to secure a 37-31 victory and propelled the Raiders to the AFC Championship Game.
The man who has become synonymous with the Silver and Black, Al Davis arrived in Oakland as the head coach and general manger in January 1963, at just 33 years of age.
In recognition for his contributions to the game, Davis was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992 and was presented by John Madden.
Additionally, he holds the prestigious honor of having presented the most Hall of Famers at the induction ceremony in Canton with nine, including Willie Brown, Gene Upshaw and Fred Biletnikoff.
Mr. Davis earned the respect of NFL owners, general managers, coaches and players throughout his life. "Al Davis' passion for football and his influence on the game were extraordinary,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after Mr. Davis passed away. “He defined the Raiders and contributed to pro football at every level. The respect he commanded was evident in the way that people listened carefully every time he spoke. He is a true legend of the game whose impact and legacy will forever be part of the NFL."