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”
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.”
Hayward Daily Review
San Mateo Times
Billy Lott, victim of a pulled hamstring a couple of days ago, began to test it in practice today with some light jogging exercises. He was still considered doubtful for Sunday’s game. Joining him on the injured list was receiver Al Hoisington who caught a Babe Parilli pass right in the eye, giving him a shiner. Eddie Erdelatz’s response: “Nobody can say our quarterbacks aren’t hitting their targets.”
San Mateo Times
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.”
Hayward Daily Review
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.
Hayward Daily Review
Raider quarterback Tom Flores won AFL Offensive Player of the Week honors for his role in leading his team to a win over the Houston Oilers. Subbing for starter Babe Parilli, Flores completed seven of ten passes for 57 yards and the game-winning touchdown, a 14-yard toss to tight end Gene Prebola.
Meanwhile, the team was working out at Lowry Air Force Base, preparing for the Broncos. But they were doing it without the aid of any game films. They were to have received films of Denver’s most recent two games, but neither had turned up so far. Assistant general manager Bud Hastings was still working to get something before Sunday’s game.
“If we don’t get a look at Denver’s pictures, we’ll be in trouble,” said Eddie Erdelatz, “the Broncos are one of two teams we have neither played nor scouted, so it will mean sending an unprepared team into action if we don’t get the movies.”
Hayward Daily Review
San Mateo Times
The result was in doubt until the second-to-last play, but the Raiders got their first regular season win in franchise history by beating the Oilers 14-13. The day started when forecasted rain showers never arrived, but protesters outside the stadium did. Picketers stood outside Houston’s Jeppesen Stadium gates protesting racially-segregated seating arrangements. The actions may have had some effect as only 16,421 people took their seats, far less than the 25,000 expected or hoped for by the teams and the league.Read more “September 25, 1960”
The Raiders were heading to Houston tomorrow and Eddie Erdelatz had something to get off his chest before they did. “It’s unfortunate a team in our position was scheduled against the two best teams in four of the first five games,” meaning Dallas and Houston.
“Because of our late start, we are still trying to place our personnel while almost every other team in the league has been set for weeks. Sometimes you have to experiment quite a lot before you find the right man for the right spot, and it is even more difficult with us because we are still trying to help ourselves with cuts from other teams.
“We’ve had quite a turnover in personnel and it isn’t finished yet, so you can see that we have problems in addition to the routine work involved in preparing for a football game each week. Take Dallas and Houston, for instance. They were two of the first teams in the league and they have top personnel. They knew pretty well what their players could do before training opened, and they have gone pretty much with the same units since early in the exhibition season.
“Most of our players were complete strangers, so it was a matter of slowly grading them to find out just who could do what. Now, it is almost like going back into training camp when we pick up new players. We have to first find out if they can play football then teach them to play our way. It puts an added burden on the coaches and the squad because you can’t concentrate on simply preparing for next week’s opponent.”
The roster experimentation continued today with another move. The team signed 5’10”, 185-pound halfback Bob Keyes. Keyes, who played his college ball for Antelope Junior College and the University of San Diego, had previously been in camp with the 49ers, but had been cut by them a little over a week ago. To make room for Keyes, the Raiders released defensive back LC Joyner. On the team since April, Joyner had looked pretty good in the preseason and had started the opener against Houston, but became expendable in the interim.
There was also a report in the Hayward Daily Review that Babe Parilli would start at quarterback in place of Tom Flores, but the piece didn’t identify a team source for the information and no mention of the switch was found in the other area papers.
While last minute preparations for travel were underway, the team was hit hard by the sobering news that offensive line coach Ernie Jorge had suffered a heart attack sometime during the evening. Erdelatz reported that his long-time assistant was expected to make a full recovery but would likely be bedridden for more than a month in the meantime.
Farmington Daily Times
Hayward Daily Review