December 11, 1960

The  5-7 Raiders came back from ten points down to take the lead in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t hold on as the 6-6 Titans scored late and won 31-28 at Candlestick Park. The weather was mild but with the team out of the running a disappointing crowd of only 9,037 showed up to watch an exciting game.

The Titans came roaring out of the tunnel and dominated the first quarter. On the second play from scrimmage Art Powell went long, caught Al Dorow’s pass at the Oakland 40, and dodged various members of the Raider secondary for a 73-yard touchdown. While the Raider offense stumbled repeatedly, the Titans entered Oakland territory twice more and only Bill Shockley’s errant kicking foot kept his team from expanding their lead further.

It wasn’t until just before the end of the quarter that the Raider found their sea legs and embarked a ten-play drive resulting in Nyle McFarlane’s nifty 14-yard touchdown catch of a Tom Flores pass to even the score. The Titans responded to that bit of spirit by driving 89 yards in return, scoring on Dorow’s 12-yard keeper up the middle. Neither team accomplished much more before the half, though the Titans did get Shockley another chance on the last play. John Harris blocked his 31-yard field goal attempt and the Raiders were down just 14-7 at the interval despite a subpar effort. Read more “December 11, 1960”

November 26, 1960

Grim news appeared the morning before the Raiders were to play the Chargers in Los Angeles. Starting end Ralph Anderson was found dead at his girlfriend’s apartment following an evening spent at the movies with teammate Ron Botchan and their dates. The cause of death was not immediately known, but Anderson was a diabetic and his position coach, Al Davis, said he had had a diabetic attack in the recent past.

The Chargers team was in shock. They tried to have a pregame practice but had to stop after 15 minutes. “We couldn’t go through with it,” said head coach Sid Gillman. “I don’t know how we’ll be able to get these boys in any kind of mental shape at all for Sunday’s game against Oakland. Ralph’s death has put 34 other players and five coaches in a state of shock that will take days to overcome.”

This would be the second time this season the Raiders were to face an opponent following the death of one of their team members. In October, the Raiders played the Titans after guard Howard Glenn died following a neck injury suffered against the Oilers.

Despite the news, the game would go on and the teams had much to play for. “If we win, we’re tied with LA and then we meet them at home,” said Eddie Erdelatz. “If we lose, we’re two games out and in this tight race that could be too much to make up with just three games left after tomorrow. I’m real proud of this team. They’ve been bouncing back all year and have fought hard in every game. They’ve done everything I’ve asked them to and win, lose, or draw against LA, I think we have a great outfit.”

Talking of the Chargers, who were coming off a 32-3 loss to the Bills, Erdelatz said, “Buffalo was really up for the game. We had thumped them pretty good the week before and they went into the Charger game with blood in their eyes. I don’t think LA was prepared for such a tough contest. This week, it is the Chargers who are near the boiling point, which means they’ll be tougher than usual for us.”

Three Raider players — Jetstream Smith, Riley Morris, and Billy Reynolds — were looking forward to taking on the team that had rejected them in the preseason. Reynolds had particularly aggrieved tale to tell. “It’s not so much that they cut me,” said Reynolds, “but the day before they put me on waivers, I checked with coach Sid Gillman on my status. I wanted to know if it would be wise for me to bring my family out West. Sid told me, ‘Sure, Bill, bring ‘em out,’ and then the next day, I’m on waivers.”

Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram
Oakland Tribune
United Press International

November 15, 1960

While the Raider players enjoyed another day off, Eddie Erdelatz took time to again praise the team for their play against Buffalo. “They showed what the word desire means in the game Sunday,” he said. “You know, the Bills gave our kids a real licking in Buffalo and they wanted revenge. I knew all week long that they were really ready for a top effort and they certainly provided that. Unfortunately, the crowd was small. It was an enthusiastic bunch, however, and I’m sure our guys appreciate the support.”

Also offering his views was line coach Marty Feldman. He explained that since Ernie Jorge’s heart attack, he had been coaching both the offensive and defensive lines, then weighed in on the limitations of the Raider defense. “We need more weight on the defensive line,” he said. “The heaviest man we have now is 248 pounds. That might seem like a lot of beef, but the truth is that in this league they should go all the way up to 268 pounds. Just a couple of big boys to go with what we have now would be ideal.”

He also lamented the lack of speed at linebacker and in the secondary: “Guys like Alex Bravo and Eddie Macon are still good players, but let’s face it. They’re not kids anymore. We’re going to have to start shopping for replacements.”

He did admit that the Raiders were very much on the young side overall and that experience had its virtues. “The clubs that do (have experienced players) are the ones that are the roughest,” he said. “Some teams were able to get many men from the NFL and Canada. Our club, however, was only able to procure a few, so naturally we need experience.” He added that “we have no taxi squad. Because we want to keep expenses down, the only players we are carrying are the ones who play.”

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune

November 13, 1960

Giving what head coach Eddie Erdelatz called their best defensive effort of the season, the Raiders beat the Bills 20-7 to even their record at 5-5.

Before the game there was still noise about a pair of NFL games being televised in the area before the Raiders’ 1:30 start. After Chet Soda complained, Lamar Hunt was reportedly planning to lodge a formal protest with the NFL. The NFL’s commissioner Pete Rozelle was unmoved. “The new league appears to have a fixation that every action and policy of the National Football League is designed to impair their operation,” he said. “If they would expend more time and energy in the development of their own league, and less time worrying about the NFL, they would be much more successful than they apparently have been so far.” Rozelle added that the league had no control over broadcasts, explaining that once they sold the rights to networks, the league has “no control over utilization of these rights other than blacking out NFL cities from other NFL telecasts when our clubs play at home. This is in accordance with a 1953 decision of a US district court in Philadelphia. Telecasts of a game involving teams in the new league are beamed into all NFL cities when our teams play at home.” Read more “November 13, 1960”

November 12, 1960

Chet Soda was pissed. The Raiders’ rivalry with the 49ers and with the NFL in general had been not much more than background noise to this point, but when Soda learned that two NFL games would be broadcast in the area tomorrow in the morning before the Raiders’ afternoon game with the Bills, he was ready to speak up.

“That’s an illegal sneak punch,” he complained, “an outright war via television. It is added evidence that the National League is thumbing its nose at the anti-trust law. It is doing everything it can to kill the chances of a rival enterprise. This is in direct violation of the anti-trust laws under which professional football was explicitly placed by Supreme Court decisions. What excuse can the NFL offer in a court of law for a thing like this.”

Though the games – Rams vs Lions and Colts vs Bears – wouldn’t start at the same time as the Raider game, they would likely extend long enough that local viewers wouldn’t have time to get to Kezar following the end of those games. This would be, reportedly, the first time more than one NFL game would be broadcast in the area on a given Sunday. Notably, neither game involved the 49ers, who were off this weekend. Soda said he would lodge a formal protest with AFL commissioner Joe Foss.

Hayward Daily Review

November 11, 1960

Just yesterday the team said defensive end Charley Powell was unlikely to play on against the Bills, but today trainer George Anderson said Powell had responded to treatment and would be ready to go on Sunday. “Charley has that good attitude and wants to play,” said Anderson, “and that always helps in injuries.” Fellow lineman Ramon Armstrong and guard Wayne Hawkins were pronounced fully recovered from recent ailments and would be on the field, too.

Eddie Erdelatz was pleased with the way his team had been looking in practice this week. “They appear more ready for this game than for any other in recent weeks,” he said. “I think revenge has a lot to do with it. The Bills did a pretty good job on us in Buffalo and the kids want to make up for it, both for the fans and for themselves.”

While the focus had again turned toward on the field matters, the stadium talk was still going on in the background. A divide was beginning to appear between those who favored an Oakland site and those who wanted more consideration to be given to south county sites. Francis Dunn, the chairman of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors acknowledged the challenge of getting a non-Oakland site approved. “Under the proposed financing, with Oakland and the county backing a loan from private financial sources to construct a stadium,” he said, “I doubt if anything farther south than Hegenberger would be accepted unless it were a great deal cheaper.”

Team co-owner Robert Osborne insisted “nothing specific has been settled on that. We will peruse all possible sites throughout the county. In fact, my heart is in your area (South Bay). I’d hate to believe that there would be less cooperation from those whose cities were not picked. This should be looked at from the broad viewpoint.”

San Leandro mayor JD Maltester seemed to be on board with the cooperative model. “I have no particular area in mind,” he said, “whether it be Hayward, San Leandro, or Fremont. Our only possible site is in the Trojan Powder Words area fronting on the bay, but I believe Hayward has several possible places. It’s important that the two cities work together. Certainly, there wouldn’t be any squabbling between us.”

In the end, though, Dunn was plumping for an Oakland site. “A multi-purpose stadium such as this would be a tremendous asset to the entire community. There are many things it could be used for, such as expositions. I hope people at our end of the county get behind the project. Personally, I favor the Hegenberger site. It is centrally located within the county, has as good a weather as anywhere west of the hills, has access to freeways, and is fairly close to the airport.”

Osborne said the team hoped that the project would be complete and ready for occupancy by 1962.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune

November 10, 1960

Team trainer George Anderson reported that Charley Powell was doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Bills because of his badly bruised ribs. To take his place on the end of the line George Fields would slide over from tackle and taking Fields’ place would be Ramon Armstrong, Don Deskins, or Ron Warzeka. The Raiders were shifting personnel in the secondary, too. Eddie Erdelatz was benching safety Wayne Crow for unspecified reasons. Alex Bravo would move from his corner spot to take Crow’s place, with John Harris moving in at starting cornerback. Erdelatz wouldn’t comment on the benching, but observers said that Crow’s play had gotten “sloppy.”

In broader league news, Chargers owner Barron Hilton, quoting a conversation with Lamar Hunt, said that all eight AFL teams would return in 1961 and play in the same city as this season. “This goes for Oakland, (too),” said Hilton, “There have been some reports that Chet Soda, co-owner of the Raiders, might move the franchise, but Soda says he will definitely have an Oakland team in 1961.”

Oakland Tribune

November 8, 1960

The Raiders returned to the practice field today to begin preparing for the Buffalo game. The team was hopeful they could field a full complement of players on game day, reporting that Wayne Hawkins and Charley Powell were on the mend from their injuries and that Ramon Armstrong was recovering from his bout with the flu.

In the Oakland Tribune there was a Scotty Stirling article discussing the recent rumor that Eddie Erdelatz would be coaching the Giants next season. Stirling said the story was a fabrication made up by a pair of reporters, one in San Francisco and one in Boston, and that the Raider players were deeply loyal to Erdelatz.

Per Jack Larscheid: “We’d be nothing without Eddie. I don’t think we would have won one game, let alone four, if it hadn’t been for Erdelatz. I can tell you right now that I’d go through bricks for that guy and every ballplayer on the team feels the same way.”

Oakland Tribune
United Press International

November 5, 1960

By the time the team arrived home on the overnight flight from Boston, most of their anger and frustration at losing to the Patriots had turned to renewed confidence and optimism. With five games left to play, Jack Larscheid reflected the mood of his team saying, “We’ll just have to win those five games if we want to be in contention.”

Eddie Erdelatz, who was a man of few words last night, had bounced back as well. “They made mistakes which were very costly,” he said, “but I had to feel proud the way they fought back right down to the gun.”

Ramon Armstrong, who became ill after the game, continued to be treated for the flu and was expected to be at full strength by next weekend. The news was less certain about Charley Powell. Trainer George Anderson diagnosed the injury as bruised ribs, and if so, Powell would play against Buffalo, too, but until the x-rays came back, nothing was known for sure.

While the players began a three-day vacation from work granted by the coaching staff, the conflict among the ownership group continued to reverberate. Following the rift that had appeared between those who thought it might be necessary to move the team and those who believed in Oakland for the long haul, an Associated Press story reported that the ownership group’s losses might reach $400,000 for the season, or an average of $50,000 per owner.

Oakland Tribune
San Rafael Independent-Journal

November 4, 1960

Final statistics

On a chilly, breezy Friday night the Patriots turned three Raider turnovers into 17 points and held on late to win 34-28. Playing at Alumni Field before a gathering of 8,446 on the University of Massachusetts campus, the Patriots jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first on two Butch Songin touchdown passes. The second one came following a Tom Flores interception and Eddie Erdelatz decided to go with Babe Parilli in his stead. Parilli put together a 13-play drive that resulted in a Tony Teresa touchdown early in the second. Gino Cappelletti’s two field goals late in the period made the score 20-7 at the half. Read more “November 4, 1960”