December 28, 1960

Both the Associated Press and United Press International announced their all-AFL teams today and several Raiders found themselves named.

Center Jim Otto made AP first-team and UPI second-team. Defensive back Eddie Macon was picked first-team by the UPI but wasn’t mentioned by the AP. Defensive back Joe Cannavino and linebacker Bob Dougherty made second-team UPI. Honorable mentions for the AP were guard John Dittrich, linebacker Tom Louderback, guard Don Manoukian, and defensive end Charley Powell. Dittrich was also a UPI honorable mention as was fullback Billy Lott.

Associated Press
United Press International

December 24, 1960

The American Football League named their official all-league team today and three Raiders were included. On the first team was center Jim Otto. Making the second team were guard Don Manoukian and defensive back Eddie Macon. Selections were made by league coaches along with a handful of beat writers chosen by the league.

News of another meeting of team owners, scheduled for next week, appeared in the news today. The meeting’s agenda was, among other things, to discuss Eddie Erdelatz’s future with the team. Rumor had it that Chet Soda was planning to relinquish the role of general manager and he was quoted as saying Erdelatz “would be given every consideration” for the job.

United Press International

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”

December 1, 1960

Heavy rain caused the cancellation of practice today and Eddie Erdelatz took time to offer a comment about last Sunday’s game. “We’re not that bad,” he said. “We must redeem ourselves the only way we know how.” He said only Tom Flores, Tony Teresa, Don Manoukian, and Jim Otto played well in the loss to the Chargers.

The team would seek redemption with a slightly different lineup. Alan Goldstein’s ankle injury was expected to keep him out of the next game. He would be joined on the sideline by George Fields who was expected to miss the game because of an unidentified ailment. Nyle McFarlane would take Goldstein’s flanker spot, while Don Deskins would replace Fields on the end of the defensive line. Erdelatz made two other changes for performance issues, moving John Dittrich in for Wayne Hawkins at right guard, and installing Doug Asad at the starting tight end spot in place of Gene Prebola.

Despite the rain, the crew at Candlestick Park continued their work and the field was almost ready. Goal posts were in place, the pitcher’s mound had been removed, and the yard lines had been laid out. A big concern was the presence of the infield dirt over much of the football playing area and a problem with an uneven playing surface due to drainage patterns put in place for the baseball layout.

When asked about the prospect of a muddy field on Sunday, Erdelatz said, “It’s bad on both sides of the field, so what’s the difference?”

Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle

November 22, 1960

While the team continued to prepare for the Chargers and the front office declared they were “delighted” with their first five picks in this year’s draft, a story telling of the misadventures of a new football team appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle by staff writer Bruce Lee.

Painting the Raiders administrative staff as painfully unprepared for the task and thoroughly disorganized, the story was told mostly in a series of anecdotes. Team owners, most of whom had made their fortunes in construction, tried to apply the lessons learned there to the football field with cost-cutting a primary goal. Assistant coaches who were told to work from 9 to 5 with no overtime quickly learned that their bosses had no idea how they did their jobs and took their positions on handshake deals rather than signed contracts.

Road trips were even more interesting. Chet Soda, the acting traveling secretary as well as general manager did not always travel with the team. On the team’s recent three-game eastern swing, the players and staff went to Boston after the Titans game while the coaching staff and some of the owners stayed in New York. As a result, there was no planning oversight and the team had to practice in a different facility each day. No locker rooms were available, so the players had to dress at the hotel before practice and shower there afterward. Jack Fadden, a Harvard University trainer involved with the process, said, “I’ve been thirty years in athletics, but I’ve never seen anything like this outfit.”

Earlier in the season, when in Houston for the Oilers game, the team stayed at a hotel far out of town and the coaching staff at one point had to hitchhike to town to attend a banquet. A number of additional stories were told that reinforced the overall sense of farce.

The players had learned to take a philosophical approach. “We grumbled at first,” said Tom Louderback. “Then Erdelatz told us, ‘Quit griping. Laugh at whatever happens. Laugh if you wind up on the floor of the YMCA in a sleeping bag. We’ll all get along better.” It was a measure of the team’s respect for their coach that they largely did just that.

Cue Don Manoukian: “If this club had a training table, we’d be served mashed potato sandwiches and marshmallows.”

Hayward Daily Review
San Francisco Chronicle

October 13, 1960

The team officially designated injured linebacker Riley Morris as “doubtful” for Sunday’s game against the Patriots saying he was still recovering from taking a knee in the back and wasn’t yet ready to play.

In sportswriter Ray Haywood’s column in the Oakland Tribune, space was provided for his colleague Scotty Stirling’s observations during his three-week road trip with the team.

Stirling was impressed by the players’ response to the team’s “inevitable mistakes in travel scheduling, accommodations, practice fields, etc.,” and said, “Their attitude is a compliment to Eddie Erdelatz. They are so devoted to the coach that they laugh off inconveniences which would cause most teams to call a grievance committee meeting.”

Among the tales he returned with was news that 5’8″ guard Don Manoukian was the humorist on the team, that Erdelatz rates trainer George Anderson as the best he’s ever worked with, that tackle Paul Oglesby’s nickname is “Cheyenne” based on a television character and is incidentally “the handsomest player in the league,” that Eddie Macon’s nickname is “Old Folks”, which is perhaps appropriate given that he is the only player on the team who has seen his 30th birthday, and that assistant coach Tommy Kalmanir is a poker player, but solo only. “Playing alone is the best way to break even,” was his explanation.

Oakland Tribune
San Mateo Times

October 2, 1960

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”

September 9, 1960

Eddie Erdelatz named his starting offense today. As mentioned a couple of days ago, Tom Flores would start at quarterback. Joining him in the backfield would be Jack Larscheid, Billy Lott, and Tony Teresa, who would man the flanker spot. On the ends would be Charlie Hardy and Gene Prebola. Ron Sabal and Dalton Truax were to start at the tackles, with Don Manoukian and Wayne Hawkins at guard, and Jim Otto in the middle.

On the practice field, the team ran through their last workout before the game and the next time they put on pads they would be facing the Houston Oilers to get the whole shooting match underway.

Hayward Daily Review
San Mateo Times

The Mid-Week Take: August 23, 1960

After three games, with a 1-2 record, the Raiders were a definitively middling team. All three games were close and the team’s point totals on both sides of the ball were near the league median. The Raiders had significantly outscored their opponents in the first and fourth quarters, but the reverse was true in the middle two periods and they had yet to score at all in the third. Yes, it was the preseason and this was all meaningless, but the Raiders were thought to be under a real handicap because of their late start and to see them play competitive ball was both a relief and encouraging.

Offense

Overall, the Raider play calling on offense was balanced, with a 98 to 104 run/pass ratio, but the running game was lagging behind at this point, with the team averaging less than 3.5 yards per carry. Only Jack Larscheid, with his 6.3 yard average, was anything more than workmanlike in the run game. Billy Lott and Buddy Allen were given the lion’s share of the work in the backfield, but Lott’s pass catching ability gave him the advantage when it came to competing for a starting spot. Tony Teresa was the only other runner getting a serious look, but he, too, was more effective catching the ball and, in fact, was going to get his reps in at the flanker spot going forward, at least until tight end Gene Prebola returned from injury.

As for the quarterback spot, there was no competition. Eddie Erdelatz had to all intents anointed Tom Flores the starter and, despite his recent injury, he would presumably get his job back as soon as he returned. In the meantime, Babe Parilli and Paul Larson would fight over the scraps.

The biggest area of uncertainty, though, was at wide receiver. Prebola was the tight end, by default, and Charlie Hardy seemed to be taking the split end spot as his own, but the other side was still up for grabs. Teresa was working there for now, but the team’s long-term plans for him were still unclear. He had thrown a few halfback passes and was adequate catching passes coming out of the backfield, but he was woeful in the running game, averaging just a couple of yards per carry and was often stuffed behind the line.

On the offensive line, only 5’9″ Don Manoukian was mentioned with any regularity in press dispatches, so it was hard to tell what was going on there. It was clear, however, that the offense was still very much a work in progress.

Defense

The Raider defense was in the same boat. They were good at getting the ball from their opponents—eight turnovers in three games—but they were giving up a lot of yards otherwise. Opponents were averaging nearly a yard more per run and better than six yards a clip through the air, and the Oakland rush had sacked opponent quarterbacks only once for a paltry five yards.

On the defensive line, end Carmen Cavalli was getting the most attention, but it was clear that the unit wasn’t getting it done. Among the linebackers, Bob Dougherty and Tom Louderback seemed to be doing a fair job, but still needed to get stouter against the run. And in the secondary, cornerback Joe Cannavino was rising above the crowd in pass coverage and was showing a nose for loose balls.

Special Teams

Erdelatz appeared to have settled on linebacker Larry Barnes to do the placekicking. He was true on extra points and was okay so far on field goals as well. Halfback Wayne Crow had laid claim to the punting job with his 45-yard average. The return and coverage teams were performing within expected norms.

The consensus among observers was that the Raiders had beaten expectations so far. They held their own in preseason losses against the Texans and the Chargers, teams that were thought to be title contenders and, above all, they hadn’t embarrassed themselves. And it was clear that many people thought they would. They were about to face a pretty stern test of two games in five days, but they were also in a position to get a good feel for the players who, to this point, hadn’t played all that much. After that, they would have two full weeks to get ready for the Oilers in the regular season opener.

August 9, 1960

Getting back to work after a day off, the Raider coaches made some changes on the offensive line. Chris Plain, who had been at left tackle was now on the right side, replaced by Ron Sabal, who had been playing left guard. Taking Sabal’s place was Don Manoukian, who was returning from an injury. Wayne Hawkins was now on the right side with Joe Barbee, a defensive lineman moving to the other side of the ball, backing up. Jim Otto was still at center.

Hayward Daily Review