A Game in Hawaii
Raider general manager Bud Hastings announced that the team would open their 1961 preseason slate against the Houston Oilers in Honolulu. According to Scotty Stirling of the Tribune, the game was actually a gift to the Oilers players from the team’s management for winning the AFL championship and the Raiders were just lucky beneficiaries. The Oilers would open training camp in Hawaii three weeks prior to the game.
According to an Oilers official, the plan came from owner Bud Adams. “It will be a change from the hot, humid camp we had in Texas last year,” said the unnamed official, “and the trip certainly should be enjoyable to the squad.”
The Raiders had yet to schedule their other three preseason games, but said one would likely be played in Candlestick Park, another would take place in Sacramento or Stockton, and the last would probably be against the Chargers in their new San Diego home. The team was still deciding between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa for their own training camp, with Eddie Erdelatz plumping for Santa Cruz.
Wayne Crow, who reportedly had been at odds with management over his contract for 1961, said he thought his situation, which had involved confusion or disagreement over whether offseason payments were part of his 1960 contract, said he thought things had been “straightened out.”
John Dittrich, for his part, said he was “very happy” with his new deal. Stirling reported that Marty Feldman called Dittrich the team’s best guard.
San Mateo Times
Ernie Jorge resigned his post as offensive line coach today, citing “the length of the pro season, the number of games, and the traveling” as his reasons. He had been hired by Eddie Erdelatz last February after having served under him at the Naval Academy in the 1950s and was the first of the four assistants he hired. Jorge said he still wanted to coach and would “listen to any and all offers.” The news left the Raiders with just two assistants, Marty Feldman and Tommy Kalmanir, following last week’s departure of Ed Cody to Washington State.
Hayward Daily Review
San Francisco Chronicle
The Raiders signed three more players today, but George Fleming was not one of them. The inking of the team’s second-round pick had been thought to be imminent, but Fleming was quoted today as saying, “I never said I’d decided on the Raiders. I haven’t decided on anything yet. So far as I’m concerned, everything is still open.”
A Raiders spokesperson said, “We can’t make any announcement until we actually sign him.”
The first player they did sign was their 21st-round choice, quarterback Mike Jones out of San Jose State, who had also been selected by the Steelers in the 20th round of the NFL draft. Jones, at 6’1” and 200 pounds, completed 71 of 152 passes for 1,049 yards with the Spartans in 1960 and had been an honorable mention All-America choice. Assistant coach Marty Feldman said Jones “has a strong arm and is a fine thinker.”
The team also signed 6’1”, 230-pound guard Roger Fisher of Utah State. The Raiders’ 23rd-round pick had been a two-year letterman on both sides of the line for the Aggies. He had started his college career at Modesto Junior College.
Finally, the Raiders signed free agent guard Arnold Metcalf from Oregon State. At 6’4” and 250 pounds, Metcalf was 25, having spent two years in the army after his college stint had ended.
San Francisco Chronicle
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
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”
While the players were taking a day off following the win over the Titans, a pair of controversies dominated Raider news today. The first concerned a report that Chet Soda had sold 50% of his share of the team to Frederick Sullivan, the president of a San Francisco travel agency. Sullivan, whose firm numbered the Raiders among its clients, was the source of the news and he also asserted that three other owners had sold part of their financial shares to other parties. These sales, according to Sullivan, did not include voting rights. Soda denied the story. However, the team’s PR director, Jack Gallagher, acknowledged there was a provision in the ownership agreement that allowed owners to sell a portion of their share as long as voting rights were not transferred with the sale. Sellers of partial shares did not have to reveal names of the buyers to the other owners.
The other controversy involved a dispute between Eddie Erdelatz and Titans owner Harry Wismer. What was being characterized in the press as a “feud”, began on the Wednesday before the game. Wismer had invited Erdelatz to a cocktail party thrown for the press. Erdelatz did not attend, citing previous obligations, but Wismer took it as a snub and called Erdelatz “uncooperative and a troublemaker.”
Erdelatz responded by saying, “Wismer himself is hardly the most popular man in (New York) and being on his ‘list’ doesn’t bother me a bit.”
Not letting matters stand there, Wismer, an old radio hand, said on the air that the Raiders had arrived late to the game and that Erdelatz missed the beginning altogether. Scotty Stirling, the Oakland Tribune’s beat writer verified that the Raider coach had accompanied the team to the game and that they had arrived on time.
Marty Feldman confirmed this, saying, “We were in the Polo Grounds at the normal time and Eddie was certainly with us.” Erdelatz was unavailable for comment.
In less incendiary news, Soda announced that the team was abandoning its pursuit of playing the last three home games of 1960 in the Pacific High School stadium in San Leandro.
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”
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 team hired 38-year-old Marty Feldman to join Eddie Erdelatz’s coaching staff. To take the job, Feldman left a job as an assistant at San Jose State, a position he had held since 1957. Prior to his stint there, he had been a head coach with Los Angeles Valley Junior College before move up to the assistant ranks at Stanford and New Mexico. His playing days had been spent as a guard at Stanford.
Meanwhile, preparations were underway for the upcoming league meetings. At the top of the agenda was the allocation of players to the Oakland club. Assistant AFL commissioner Milt Woodard said that all players drafted by the short-lived Minneapolis/St Paul club would have their rights assigned to Oakland, even those who had already signed with other clubs.