As the NFL celebrates their 100th season in 2019, fans will have the unique opportunity to vote for the greatest moment in the Raiders' 60 season history. The four moments are listed below in chronological order. The winning moment will be announced during the regular season. It will then compete in a bracket tournament against the greatest moments from every NFL team, with the top moment in league history set to be revealed at NFL Honors the night before Super Bowl LIV in Miami.
The Heidi Game changes broadcasting history
November 17, 1968
Trailing by three points with 65 seconds left against the New York Jets, the Oakland Raiders staged one of the most improbable comebacks in NFL history… and almost no one saw it.
With the score 32-29 at 7:00 p.m. ET, NBC switched the game over to their regularly scheduled programming - the children’s movie Heidi. As a result, only the fans at the Oakland Coliseum witnessed the Raiders score two touchdowns in nine seconds to beat Joe Namath’s Jets.
The fallout from the game has become its own legend. Special “Heidi phones” were installed in network control rooms, so broadcast personnel could avoid a similar situation. Perhaps most importantly, when the NFL came of age, it ensured all game telecasts would be shown to their conclusion.
The Heidi Game taught broadcasters across the nation a lesson they’ve never forgotten, as former NFL chief of broadcasting Val Pinchbeck said: “Whatever you do, you better not leave an NFL football game.”
Red Right 88 ignites Wild Card magic
January 4, 1981
Looking back, the 1980 Raiders seemed unlikely champions - especially after losing starting quarterback Dan Pastorini early in the season.
But helmed by journeyman Jim Plunkett, the Raiders raced to an 11-5 record and a Wild Card playoff berth. After hammering the Houston 27-7 in the Wild Card game, the Raiders traveled to icy Cleveland to face the Browns. Trailing late, the Browns eschewed a potential game-winning field goal for a pass play in the freezing conditions.
What happened next has become lore: Raiders safety Mike Davis, not exactly known for his sure hands, slipped in front of Hall of Fame tight end Ozzie Newsome to intercept QB Brian Sipe’s pass and put a Raiders victory on ice.
The play, known as “Red Right 88,” helped foster a sense of destiny and magic among those 1980 Raiders. They would go on to become the first Wild Card team in NFL history to win the Super Bowl, defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 27-10 in Super Bowl XV.
Los Angeles’ first Super Bowl title
January 22, 1984
“On came Marcus Allen, running with the night.”
The words of NFL Films' John Facenda, narrating the Raiders running back’s efforts to help the Raiders defeat the Redskins 38-9 in Super Bowl XVIII, will live on not just in the hearts of fans of the Silver and Black, but throughout many Los Angeles fans of a certain age watching their city’s team win it all on football’s biggest stage for the first time.
It was Allen’s night to put on a show. He rushed for a then-Super Bowl record 191 yards, but his effort is best remembered for the eye-popping 74-yard touchdown that sparked Facenda’s words: In the third quarter, Allen took a handoff and started to his left but was cut off. He abruptly reversed field and sprinted to daylight. It remains one of football’s most iconic plays.
Art Shell coaches his first game
October 9, 1989
When Raiders Owner Al Davis promoted Art Shell to head coach four games into the 1989 season, he knew whom he was getting: a Hall of Fame offensive tackle, a consummate student of the game and a well-respected leader who knew the Raider Way. The fact he was the first African-American head coach in the NFL’s modern era was just something most everybody else was talking about.
“Let the thing about me being black sit on the back for now,” Shell said when he was hired. “Judge me by what we do on the football field.”
His debut came in front of a national audience against the New York Jets on Monday Night Football. The Raiders beat the Jets, 14-7, then won again the following week. They finished the 1989 season 7-5 under Shell and used an offseason of momentum to clinch a 12-4 record in 1990, culminating in an AFC Championship Game berth and a Coach of the Year award for Shell.
But for all the trailblazing he accomplished, it was his spirit of the game that inspired his players. As Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long put it when Shell took the job: “It’s like we’re the Raiders again.”