On a rainy Friday night in the Big Apple, the Raiders staged a ten-point comeback in the fourth quarter to beat the New York Titans, 28-27, before 10,000 spectators at the Polo Grounds. The Raiders entered the game coming off their worst loss ever, a 38-9 beating at the hands of the Bills. At 3-4, they had fallen back to the pack after challenging the Broncos for the Western Division lead just a week ago. They did come into the game mostly healthy, though. Larry Barnes, Tom Flores, and Charley Powell had all been suffering from various forms of mild illness in recent days but would be ready to go at game time. Read more “October 28, 1960”
Reports surfaced today that the Raiders had been investigating the possibility of playing their final three home games in San Leandro on the campus of Pacific High School. The idea was first broached by Raider co-owner and San Leandro resident Wayne Valley, who suggested that the location was ideal for the team as a temporary home pending the construction of a permanent stadium in the East Bay.
Bud Hastings, the team’s assistant general manager, made a pitch to the school board yesterday and said it would be followed up by a formal request soon.
“This is all in a highly preliminary stage,” he said. “We haven’t as yet completely analyzed all the financial factors.” Not least among those factors was the installation of seats. The current football field at the newly-built school had room for just 500 attendees and the team wanted a capacity of 20,000. The cost of building and installing the seats was estimated at $100,000 and would take upwards of a month to be completed. Parking was another issue that would require a significant amount of planning and effort.
However, Hastings believed that their current situation was untenable. “We’re an East Bay community ballclub and at Kezar in San Francisco we just aren’t at home. We’ve had a number of people tell us they would go to games if they were held in the East Bay.”
As far as anyone could tell, there was nothing in the school district charter that prevented such an arrangement as long as the team footed the bill. At least some of the school board members were thought to be receptive to the idea, while others seemed to need more information before reaching a conclusion on the matter.
One who was open to the notion was Chamber of Commerce member Frank King, who said, “Playing in San Leandro would give the Raiders a chance to test the market on this side of the bay, and it might provide the necessary stimulus to the building of a modern stadium. We don’t care whether it’s in San Leandro or Oakland, as long as it’s built.”
No changes could be made in time for the team’s next home game on November 13, against the Bills, but the team hoped to be able to leave Kezar for the last three games of the season, all at home, in December.
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The Raiders returned to the practice field today to prepare for Friday night’s game against the Titans. There wasn’t much new to report, though Eddie Erdelatz took a little time to discuss the Bills game. He said that the wet weather contributed to some of his team’s mistakes, but also thought his team simply “didn’t play as a unit.” In personnel news, he said that newcomer Billy Reynolds would see more work against New York than he did against Buffalo, primarily at the flanker spot, but that he would likely play other positions as well.
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San Mateo Times
The team traveled the roughly three hundred miles from Buffalo to New York City where they would spend four days preparing for the Titans. The first day, though, aside from the travel time, would consist of rest and a chance to refocus following the thumping they took at the hands of the Bills. Despite the short turnaround, the coaching staff apparently thought the team needed the break more than the extra day of work, especially following the cross-country trip made overnight just a couple of days ago.
Head coach Eddie Erdelatz called it “far and away our worst performance” and he wasn’t kidding. On a damp, blustery day in Buffalo, the Bills hit on big play after big play and thumped the Raiders 38-9. The lowering, gray skies and steady light rain kept attendance down to a paltry 8,876, but those who did show up saw their team at peak performance.
The Raiders, at 3-3, came into the game as one of the hottest teams in the AFL and a win, coupled with a Boston win over the Broncos, would move them to the top spot in the league’s Western Division. The Bills, at 1-4, entered the game with the league’s top defense, but with an offense that hadn’t found much success. They had made a change at quarterback just a week ago, picking up Johnny Green, a Steelers castoff, and started him in place of Tommy O’Connell, an old Browns hand. In that game the Bills lost a tight one to the Titans, but head coach Buster Ramsey was encouraged by his play and planned to keep him in there against Oakland. Read more “October 23, 1960”
With the Bills game just two days away, the Raiders had intended to fly out early today, but an unidentified snafu pushed departure time into the mid-evening, giving the coaching staff another day to run their team through a practice.
Eddie Erdelatz also made a handful of announcements, saying Tony Teresa would make his first start in three weeks, following a back injury, and that Billy Lott had recovered from his pulled hamstring sufficiently to join Teresa in the starting lineup. But the big story was the coach’s statement that Tom Flores would be his starting quarterback the rest of the year, with Babe Parilli to come in as needed.
“I don’t believe in alternating men by games,” he said. “I think it’s far better to have one as a regular starter — in this case, Flores — with the other ready to take over without hesitation.”
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San Mateo Times
The team got some bad news today when fullback Billy Lott, one of the heroes in the Patriots game, pulled a hamstring in practice. The severity was unknown, but the team said he was doubtful to play this Sunday against the Bills.
Despite the setback, Eddie Erdelatz was cautiously enthusiastic about his team. While refusing to get caught up in talk of a title run this year, he said the potential was there down the road.
Citing the youth of his team, he said, “With two years experience and added weight, they could lick ’em all. Lack of experience has hurt us this year and maybe the lack of weight, but just figure a guy like Oglesby, for instance. Right now he is 23, stands 6’4″, and weighs almost 230. In two years, he’ll be close to 260, with two full years experience behind him. And it is the same with almost all our young kids. Crow, Prebola, Goldstein, Cannavino, Fields. Right down the line we have young, first-year men in key spots. They are bound to make mistakes, but they are an intelligent bunch, so we don’t have too many men making the same mistakes twice.”
The Patriots hadn’t lost a game on the road and the Raiders hadn’t won at home, but that was all out the window at the end. It was probably the Raiders’ best game to date, but they were also lucky to get away with a 27-14 win over the Patriots on an unseasonably warm afternoon at Kezar Stadium.
Almost immediately, things began to go Oakland’s way. On the second play from scrimmage at the Raider 13, Jack Larscheid, starting in place of Tony Teresa, took a pitch from Tom Flores and took it 87 yards for a score. And if that weren’t a rousing enough start, Ron Burton fumbled on Boston’s first offensive play and Carmen Cavalli recovered for Oakland at the Patriot 31. Flores couldn’t move his team much closer and the score stayed 7-0 when Larry Barnes’s 40-yard field goal attempt came up short.
Most of the rest of the quarter was a punting duel. The Patriots did get close enough to give Gino Cappelletti a chance to kick one from 47 yards out, but his attempt was short, too. Frustrated with Flores’s inability to move his team after the first drive, Eddie Erdelatz put in Babe Parilli late in the quarter, but on his second play Bob Soltis picked him off and returned it back to the Raider 9. Three plays later, Alan Miller took it in to score from the 2, but Riley Morris, in the game despite numerous reports saying he wouldn’t play, blocked Cappelletti’s extra point attempt and the Raiders kept the lead. Read more “October 16, 1960”
On game day, Raider head coach Eddie Erdelatz was still shuffling players right up until the 8pm kickoff. The biggest news was that Babe Parilli would start over Paul Larson at quarterback. Parilli and Larson were competing to be Tom Flores‘ understudy, as Erdelatz had indicated he would only carry two quarterbacks on the roster in the regular season, but Parilli wasn’t ready to accept second place yet. “I’m going to try and play some football for Oakland. I wouldn’t be here if I had lost my enthusiasm for the game,” he said.
With Tom Flores unavailable to play quarterback in the near term and with roster reductions looming, Raiders head coach Eddie Erdelatz was planning to give more playing time to the men on the far end of the bench, starting with Paul Larson. So far, Larson hadn’t shown all that much in camp, displaying an inaccurate arm. Consequently, he had received almost no in-game opportunities, but he was going to get a chance tomorrow, sharing time with Babe Parilli. Plenty of other neglected players were going to get their chances, too.