Back a number of years, Marvel Comics had a series, for what I know, they probably still issue out random issues, called What ifs.
These fun episodes, pair together creative happenings, like, what if the Thing and Nick Fury wound up on opposite sides of the law?
Well, I was just curious.....what if the Oakland Raiders, never existed?
For the experiment, lets put the Minnesota franchise, where it didn't want to go, in the AFL. Vikings in the AFL?
Secondly, what about Al Davis? He started a nice house in San Diego, picking up the likes of Lance Alworth....would he have started his own happy monster there? Very possible. Would they have become the annoying franchise that rubs the NFL the wrong way? Possible, but doubtful.
How about rivalries? Nothing says rivals, like Denver and Oakland, or KC and Oakland....heck, even San Diego and Oakland love to hate each other.....but what does this do to the interleague rivalry? Seattle came along, in the 70s, to add another team, but does the AFC West get another team thrown into the mix somewhere, like the Oilers? Minnesota would be a stretch for a "west" team....but so would houston.
Would the Oakland Athletics have generated enough interest, for the NFL to consider placing a club here then? After all, with the A's move, it also boosted the desire for the Oakland Alameda County Collesium to be built, finally.
Or, with the failure to land the AFL team, would the A's have remained in KC, and then locked the Royals out of the expansion cycle?
With the Raiders being out of the league, would players like Ken Stabler, Fred Biletnikoff, Cliff Branch, Ray Guy, or Daryl Lamonica ever had a chance to be legendary?
How about Old Man Willie Brown? Would he have kicked around Denver, become bored, and retired, without ever having his moment in the sun?
Obviously, the super bowl in 1976 would have turned out very different.....the Raiders and the Vikings played each other.....would Fran finally have gotten a ring?
And how would this have affected rivalries, in the AFC in all? Would we have seen close to 15 years, of nothing but Steelers vs Dolphins, for the AFC titles? Would we have seen another perfect season, with the talent pool flooding over for these two clubs?
It's doubtful Jim Plunkett's miracle season would have occurred. He probably would have been gone in 1978, 2 years away from the great season that never was.
All in all.....the NFL would be a radically different League, without Al Davis and the Raiders. Because for all the hate, that people have for Oakland....
We do bring a lot to the history of this game. And without it, the league sure would feel a lot different.
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