January 6, 1961

The Raiders got more disappointing news when they learned that Iowa State fullback Tom Watkins had turned down their contract offer and said he was likely to sign with the Browns after the end of the school year. The team had picked Watkins with the eighth-round choice they received from the Broncos in exchange for Buddy Alliston, but the Browns had picked him in the 15th and he wanted to go with the more established league.

Hayward Daily Review
San Francisco Chronicle

December 17, 1960

The Raiders saved their best for last, turning in a dominating performance, including 31 fourth quarter points, to beat the Broncos 48-10.

The morning’s discovery of damage to Candlestick Park’s goal posts led to some frantic activity, but repairs were completed by game time. The Broncos came to town with a 4-8-1 record and had gone seven games without a win. The Raiders at 5-8, with a three-game losing streak of their own, needed a win here to avoid the Western Division basement. With these modest stakes on the line a crowd of just 5,159 showed up to see the locals end the season in style.

After the Oakland defense forced a three-and-out on the opening drive, Tom Flores and the offense moved to the Denver 11 in 12 plays where Larry Barnes opened the scoring with an 18-yard field goal. Later in the period, the Broncos evened the score with a 37-yarder from Gene Mingo. Babe Parilli replaced Flores after that but couldn’t get his team in the end zone. Eddie Erdelatz sent Flores back in with about five minutes to go in the second and the team promptly responded going five plays to score, with Flores getting the last few inches on a sneak. Read more “December 17, 1960”

December 16, 1960

Tearing down the goalposts is a time-honored tradition at great moments in football, but those moments don’t usually include the night before the game. Still, at some point after dark, one or more people snaked into Candlestick Park and tore down the goalposts less than 24 hours before the Raiders were to close out the season against the Broncos.

San Francisco Chronicle

December 14, 1960

With the season winding down over the next few days there wasn’t much news coming out of Raider headquarters. The team did say today that both Alan Goldstein and Charley Powell, who had been injured in the Titans game, would be able to suit up and play against the Broncos this Saturday.

Hayward Daily Review
San Francisco Chronicle

December 4, 1960

And just like that, the Raiders’ playoff hopes were gone. After three quarters, they were clinging to a three-point lead, but the Chargers exploded for 27 points in the final 15 minutes and clinched at least a tie for the AFL Western Division with a 41-17 win.

The rain that had fallen in the Bay Area for most of the last week had tapered off a couple of days before the game, but the field was still a little soft and uncertain. The largest home crowd since the season opener, 12,061, showed up for the first football game ever played at Candlestick Park.

A scoreless first period was followed by a quick exchange of scores early in the second. The Chargers broke the ice first when Jack Kemp threw a three-yard touchdown pass to Royce Womble. The Raiders returned the favor on Billy Lott’s two-yard run. Late in the period Tom Flores connected with Charlie Hardy for a 10-yard touchdown and Kemp threw to Don Norton for a 21-yarder. The teams were tied at 14 at the half. Read more “December 4, 1960”

November 7, 1960

While the players enjoyed another day off, the team’s ownership group met for five hours to discuss where the Raiders would play for the remainder of this year and the next. After weeks of consideration, the owners decided it was simply not feasible to play in San Leandro this year. The required upgrades would take more time than they had, and it would be too hard to set up for television broadcasts. They didn’t rule out playing there in 1961, however, and Wayne Valley was tasked with looking further into the possibility. The owners agreed to meet again with the San Leandro school board no later than February 1.

That meant that the team would play the rest of their home games this season in Kezar. This still left open the problem of the season-ender against the Broncos. The game was scheduled for a Friday night, but Kezar was inhospitable on fall evenings, as the team had discovered earlier in the year, and they were still scouting for alternatives. Team representatives had reached out to Stanford University and San Jose State to see if either of their stadiums were available but hadn’t received replies. The team had also contacted the University of California, but the school had again turned them down. Candlestick Park was mentioned as a another possibility, but at least one of the owners stated a preference for using a college facility.

Along with the San Leandro scheme, the owners discussed the two proposed Oakland sites, with Robert Osborne promoting the Hegenberger Road location.

One thing that didn’t happen was a reorganization of the front office, something that the press had speculated might occur. As of now, Chet Soda was still the team’s general manager.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune

October 28, 1960

Final statistics

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”

October 23, 1960

Final statistics

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”

October 16, 1960

Final statistics

 

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”

October 11, 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
Oakland Tribune