Top 5 Coaches in Oakland Raiders' History
Lately all the attention of the football world and the Raider nation has been on free agency and the upcoming NFL draft. The Raiders have been quiet the last few days, and there hasn't been a whole lot of news for the draft either.
On that note, how about a look back into the history of the Oakland Raiders as we try to kill time in the offseason?
This is a look at the five greatest coaches who have been a part of the team's history.
5. John Rauch
John Rauch, who died in 2008 at 80 years old, was the head coach for the Raiders for just three seasons, from 1966-68.
However, in those three years, he led the Raiders to an overall record of 33-8-1 and an appearance in Super Bowl II. The Raiders lost that Super Bowl by the score of 33-14 to Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers. Rauch was only 38 years old when he coached in that game.
He took over for Al Davis when he left the team to be the AFL commissioner. Darlye Lamonica joined the Raiders in 1967 and with Rauch, a former quarterback, as the coach, the Raiders wrote a chapter in their deep-ball history.
Under Rauch's coaching, Lamonica was nicknamed "The Mad Bomber" and led the Raiders' vertical passing game to being one of the highest scoring offenses in football at the time.
Of course, there is the dark side of Rauch's story with the Raiders. Rauch left the team after he grew tired of working with Davis, a hands-on owner. Rauch then moved on to coach the Buffalo Bills for the next two years.
While Roach was in charge in Oakland, he hired two coaches who would land in the Hall of Fame—Jon Madden and Bill Walsh.
Rauch's time with the Raiders was short, but he did enough to earn a spot in the top five.
4. Jon Gruden
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Gruden was the Raiders' head coach from 1998-2001 and accumulated a record of 38-26 in the regular season.
Although Gruden never reached a Super Bowl with the Oakland Raiders, he would be part of the worst controversy of the new millennium. After winning the AFC West in 2001, the Raiders were in the division round of the playoffs on a snowy night in New England when...well you know.
The "Tuck Rule" game was Gruden's last game with the Raiders, as he was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the following offseason. The next year, Gruden would lead the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl victory against...well you know.
Despite initial hatred toward Gruden from the Raider Nation, many fans are now praying for a Gruden return to Oakland. There was even speculation late last year about Gruden taking a front office job with the team.
Gruden is most likely done coaching as he has a nice job calling the action on Monday nights for ESPN. If he were to make a return to the Raiders sideline, he could possibly work his way up ahead of the next man.
3. Tom Flores
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Flores amassed a record of 83-53 from 1979-1987 and has more Super Bowl wins than any other coach in franchise history with two rings. The Raiders won in 1980 as the Oakland Raiders and then again in 1983 as the Los Angeles Raiders under Flores' coaching.
Flores also won four division titles during his time as head coach. Not only was he a coach, but he was also a quarterback for the Raiders in his playing days and was the first starting quarterback in franchise history.
Raider fans argue they have many players and coaches who have been snubbed from the Hall of Fame, and Flores is a prime example. He has two rings and, with the Raiders, was 30 games over .500.
With any coach who goes through Oakland, there is the question of how much credit the coach should get and how much is the work of Al Davis?
Flores found another head coaching job from 1992-94 with the Seattle Seahawks. He went 13-34 in those three years and never had a record better than 6-10 in a season.
With that unsuccessful run in Seattle, Flores showed the Hall of Fame voters that maybe it was Davis who deserves credit for the Raiders' success in the mid-80's.
You can't take away his rings, though, and that is how Flores earns third place here. There is no shame in being behind the top two.
2. John Madden
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Madden picked up where John Rauch left off. He went 103-32-7 from 1969-1978 and never worked for another team after retiring. Madden never had a .500 or worse season as head coach.
Madden has kept his ties with the franchise throughout the years and even helped Mark Davis hire Reggie McKenzie.
Madden led the Raiders to their first Super Bowl victory in the 1976 season. It's safe to say Madden would have had at least one more ring if it weren't for the infamous "Immaculate Reception" of 1972 or the "Lidle fumble" in 1977. Both controversial calls eliminated the Raiders from the playoffs during his time as head coach.
Unlike Flores, the Hall of Fame voters couldn't deny the greatness of Madden and in 2006, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
1. Al Davis
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Before Davis became the eccentric owner we saw firing coaches left and right, he was a coach himself and a great one at that.
Davis came to the Raiders in 1963 from the Chargers staff where he worked with the receivers. He immediately made the Raiders a great team. The team went 1-13 in 1962 and followed up with a 10-4 record in 1963 in Davis' first season.
Davis changed the way the game was played as he used his cornerbacks to bump the receivers and used his linemen to put pressure on the quarterback.
On offense, he created the vertical passing game where any play could be a touchdown with the fast receivers and strong-armed quarterback.
Although Davis never coached the team to a Super Bowl appearance, he played a prominent role in all five of the team's appearances and three championships.