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.”
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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”
Eddie Erdelatz decided to give his players the day off before tomorrow’s game against the Patriots. “Our Saturday work is limited to 20 minutes and experience has taught us the drill isn’t necessary,” he said. “When a team comes off the road, say, on a Friday before the game, then a Saturday workout is in order. But we have been home all week and I think we’re better off without the Saturday practice.”
The Raiders coach confirmed that linebacker Riley Morris would miss the game. “Riley was kneed in the back when he ran with a kickoff return against Dallas,” Erdelatz explained, “and he will have to sit this one out.” Tom Louderback would slide over to Morris’ right linebacker spot and Larry Barnes would get the start at Louderback’s middle linebacker position. On offense, halfback Tony Teresa would see only spot action because of his back woes and Jack Larscheid would start the game in his stead.
Having seen poor attendance at Kezar Stadium since their first game in July, the Raider front office was anticipating improved numbers starting tomorrow. “We hope for a crowd of 15,000,” said general manger and co-owner Chet Soda, “but a lot depends on the weather.” Their best attendance total to date was the 12,703 figure for their regular season opener against Houston.
In public relations news, the team announced that Erdelatz and his staff would provide a pair of football clinics for local area kids in November. They would happen on the 19th and the 25st and were to take place at Triangle Field, adjacent to Kezar. The sessions were part of a project sponsored by former major league baseball players Mike Sabena and Lefty O’Doul in conjunction with the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Board.
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The team planned only a light workout today with the coaching staff wanting to give the players some rest before tomorrow’s game, especially in light of all the bruises and bumps many key players had been working through. Some of these injuries had previously been announced by the team, such as Tony Teresa with his back problems and Jim Otto with chest and knee issues. But also among the walking wounded with unspecified aches and pains were fullback Billy Lott, middle linebacker Tom Louderback, defensive back Eddie Macon, tight end Gene Prebola, and defensive tackle Ron Warzeka. According to trainer George Anderson, all were expected to be in more or less game shape tomorrow, except for Teresa. The halfback’s status was still uncertain, and if he did play, the team expected to use him sparingly and that he would be of reduced effectiveness.
San Mateo Times
The news about Tony Teresa’s injury got worse. He tried to practice today, thinking he could play through a pulled back muscle, but he had to leave the workout early, saying he could barely move around out there. An examination by trainer George Anderson indicated that there might be cartilage damage which might put the Raider halfback out of the lineup for a much longer time than initially thought. If Teresa wouldn’t be able to play on Sunday, Jack Larscheid would get the starting nod.
Back in the South again, the Raiders began to prepare for Sunday’s game in the hot, humid weather of central Texas. Staying at a hotel chosen by most visiting AFL teams because the facilities were integrated, the team was struggling to stay upbeat after the demoralizing loss to the Broncos. To make matters worse, more key players were sustaining hurts. Team trainer George Anderson said center Jim Otto was having trouble breathing after a chest injury in Denver and had also “popped a knee” in the game. Otto said he’d be in the game on Sunday no matter what. And to top things off, halfback Tony Teresa hurt himself today in practice. Running a pass route, he twisted his back and his status for the game was currently uncertain.
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San Mateo Times
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”
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”