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”
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”
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”
General manager Chet Soda announced the resignation, “for personal reasons,” of public relations director Gene Perry today. No further explanation was given. Taking his place was sportswriter Jack Gallagher, who had been a columnist for the Oakland Tribune for better than a decade. The change would happen in a week or so.
The team also provided additional news about Riley Morris. He was reportedly recuperating nicely after a scare aboard the team’s plane on the return from Dallas. He had to be given oxygen when he reacted badly to shots given to him following a back injury suffered during the game and was taken to Merritt Hospital upon touchdown. His status for the Patriots game was still unknown.
Having been relatively quiet on the topic of the Raider quarterback controversy up to now, Eddie Erdelatz decided to speak at greater length today. He called Tom Flores and Babe Parilli “the best one-two quarterback combination in football” and said he wouldn’t trade them for anyone in any league.
“Singly, of course, there are quarterbacks just as good,” he said, “but as a tandem, you can’t find a more effective pair. In Houston, three weeks ago, we started Babe because Tommy had been having trouble regaining his form after suffering a shoulder injury. Babe had trouble making the club go, so we went with Tommy in the second half. Well, all Tommy did was direct a terrific touchdown march that gave us a 14-13 victory.
“Against Denver, the quarterbacks worked on a par. Last Sunday, in Dallas, it was Flores having first half troubles so Babe got the call in the final two periods. We scored three times, once on a well-directed drive, and pulled it out. That’s how it’s been all season. One week one guy looks great and the next week the other one comes through. I honestly can’t choose between them and I’m glad I don’t have to.
“As far as I’m concerned, they’re both great and I’m real glad they’re on our side. As a pair, they give a team a great advantage when it comes to moving that ball.”
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Coach Eddie Erdelatz continued to work his players hard in anticipation of Sunday’s game against the Texans. He had the team focus specifically on pass protection, believing that, while the receivers were doing their job to get open, the offensive line wasn’t giving Tom Flores and Babe Parilli enough time to find them. And the numbers bore that out. The Broncos sacked Raider quarterbacks five times last week and the team had given up 16 sacks on the season so far, in just four games. Erdelatz also thought that Dallas was particularly vulnerable against the pass and wanted to make sure his charges were prepared to exploit that weakness.
Back in the South again, the Raiders began to prepare for Sunday’s game in the hot, humid weather of central Texas. Staying at a hotel chosen by most visiting AFL teams because the facilities were integrated, the team was struggling to stay upbeat after the demoralizing loss to the Broncos. To make matters worse, more key players were sustaining hurts. Team trainer George Anderson said center Jim Otto was having trouble breathing after a chest injury in Denver and had also “popped a knee” in the game. Otto said he’d be in the game on Sunday no matter what. And to top things off, halfback Tony Teresa hurt himself today in practice. Running a pass route, he twisted his back and his status for the game was currently uncertain.
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San Mateo Times
Travel day for the Raiders. Their destination was Grand Prairie, Texas, about 15 miles west of the Cotton Bowl, where they would play the Dallas Texans next Sunday. The team’s training staff reported that most of the players made it through the Denver game without serious mishap, except for receiver Charlie Hardy, who left the game with a “slight” concussion. He was expected to be ready to go again by game day.
The Raiders had high hopes. They were coming off their first win of the season and the Broncos were coming off their first loss. And for a quarter, the Raiders were able to keep hoping, but Denver scored three touchdowns in quick succession in the second quarter and coasted from there to a comfortable 31-14 win.Read more “October 2, 1960”
The Raiders were putting the finishing touches on their preparation for tomorrow’s game against the Broncos, but according to Eddie Erdelatz, there weren’t going to be any significant personnel changes.
“How do you improve on a winner?” he asked, rhetorically.
Nevertheless, there were a couple of changes and the coaching staff was excited about them. Halfback Bob Keyes, who had been added to the team just before they left on the road trip, hadn’t had a chance to play against the Oilers, but Erdelatz commended his ability to get up to speed and looked forward to using him tomorrow.
The other recent addition, guard John Dittrich, was making a good impression, too. “Dittrich’s a real smart kid and after just one practice we decided he would be ready to go against the Broncos,” said line coach Marty Feldman, “He picked up our stuff right away and he reported in top condition, so I see no reason why he shouldn’t do a good job for us.”
In other good news, the training staff reported that Ron Warzeka and Dalton Truax would both be available to play after missing the Houston game because of unspecified injuries.
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San Mateo Times
The Raiders continued to prepare for the Broncos, working out at St Regis College today. The main focus of the team was making additions to the offensive game plan. “We just have to keep coming up with something new to catch these clubs by surprise,” said Eddie Erdelatz, “Our passing has been terrific and if we keep adding to our running we should create enough balance to keep us in the game. Denver has a tough defense, but we think we have some stuff that will keep the Broncos worried.”
The team also indicated that Tom Flores would start at quarterback on Sunday. He had been supplanted by Babe Parilli in the Houston game, but Flores’ performance off the bench in the win had earned him another shot at the top spot.
The Raiders would be away from home for another week and a half, but a fete was being planned for their return. San Francisco mayor George Christopher proclaimed the week of Oct 9-16 to be “Raider Week in San Francisco.” This was an effort to generate more support for the team in their current home and included a rally on the 10th at Union Square in San Francisco.
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