Many storied franchises have established and are identified with a style of play. Some examples:
Oakland Raiders Football—Intimidating defense, vertical passing game.
San Francisco 49ers Football—West Coast Offense.
Chicago Bears Football—"The 46" hard-hitting defense, hard running.
Dallas Cowboys Football—Finesse and style.
What most don't realize is that during the glory days, each of these teams was solid in all phases.
The 49ers could run up the score, but they would not have won without a very good defense. Dan Marino's Dolphins and Dan Fouts' San Diego Chargers could outscore anyone. But neither won the big one because their defenses were not good enough.
The Steelers were best known for the "Steel Curtain" and a long passing game to Lynn Swann and John Stallworth. However, they would have not won a Super Bowl if not for hard running by Rocky Bleier and Franco Harris.
Purist Raider fans very much believe in Raider Football. I consider myself a purist. When Jon Gruden brought the West Coast Offense to the Raiders, I was not happy.
Don't get me wrong, I liked winning. I just did not like winning in that fashion. I never felt confident in our offense. I especially did not feel confident in the Super Bowl against Tampa Bay. In my mind, it was not Raider Football and was doomed to fail.
My understanding of what REAL Raider Football is may be different than most outsiders.
During the glory years, the Raiders excelled in all phases.
They had a Hall of Fame offensive line and could control the game by running. The defense was hard-hitting and intimidating, always showing up when it counted.
The Raiders running game is a less talked about area when outsiders refer to Raider Football. We would often run three times in a row because we could. We would run on downs like 3rd-and-7 because we knew it was as automatic as any pass play.
The Raiders were always a run-first team. This allowed the passing game to open up. The myth that the Raiders would go deep early and often is not true at all. Yes, we would go deep, but only in the right situations. We would often throw short (high percentage) sideline routes.
We relied on the run and never abandoned it.
The idea was to get the opposing defense on their heels early, allow the offensive line to establish itself and then lay down the law. Eventually, the opposing defense
would surrender their turf. This is when the game opened up to passing plays.
We would throw the three-yard pass on 2nd-and-2. We would not throw a pass on 3rd-and-7 on our own 40 yard line. It's too risky. Since the defense expects a pass, it's the perfect time for a run.
Currently, defenses know if we will run or pass before we run the play. The battle is half lost before the ball is snapped.
The run-first approach by default keeps the defense guessing and on their heels.
Without this crucial element of Raider Football, we would not have won in the past as we did.
If you doubt what I am saying, see the drive chart below taken from when Raider Football at its pinnacle—Super Bowl XI.
Pay special attention to which downs we ran on.
We ran 46 times and passed 19 times.
We picked our shot and went deep only once. It was the fourth quarter and that bomb was unexpected, deadly and sealed the deal for us.
Many have said, let's get back to Raider Football.
What I say to you is, let's get back to REAL Raider Football.
Cox kick to O 11, Garrett 23 return (Craig).
O 34 1–10 Davis 1 run off left tackle (Page).
O 35 2–9 van Eeghen 4 run off left tackle (Siemon).
O 39 3–5 Stabler 25 pass to Casper right (N. Wright).
M 36 1–10 Davis 4 run right (Eller).
M 32 2–6 Davis 20 run left (Krause).
M 12 1–10 Garrett run up middle, loss of 1 (Siemon).
M 13 2–11 Stabler pass to Casper incomplete (Blair).
M 13 3–11 Banaszak 2 run left (Hilgenberg).
M 11 4–9 Mann’s 29–yard field–goal attempt hit left upright, no good.
O 19 1–10 Davis 4 run left (Bryant).
O 23 2–6 van Eeghen 5 run middle (Siemon).
O 28 3–1 Banaszak 3 run middle (Sutherland).
O 31 1–10 Stabler 9 pass to Biletnikoff (N. Wright).
O 40 2–1 Banaszak run left, no gain (Siemon).
O 40 3–1 Davis run left, loss of 1 (Siemon). Minnesota declined holding against Oakland.
O 39 4–2 Guy 51 punt, Willis 6 return (Ginn).
O 26 1–10 van Eeghen 3 run middle (Page).
O 29 2–7 Stabler pass to Biletnikoff incomplete.
O 29 3–7 Davis 5 run left (Siemon).
O 34 4–2 Guy punt blocked by McNeill, recovered by McNeill at O 3.
O 3 1–10 Banaszak 2 run middle (Krause).
O 5 2–8 Banaszak 1 run off left tackle (Page).
O 6 3–7 Davis 35 run around left end (Krause).
O 41 1–10 Stabler 11 pass to Garrett (Blair).
M 48 1–10 Stabler deep pass to Biletnikoff incomplete.
M 48 2–10 Stabler 25 pass to Casper left (Blair).
M 23 1–10 van Eeghen 5 run off left tackle (Page).
M 18 2–5 Davis 4 run middle (Eller).
M 14 3–1 Banaszak 6 run off left tackle (Bryant).
END OF FIRST QUARTER:
Oakland 0, Minnesota 0
M 8 1–goal Banaszak 1 run off left tackle (Hilgenberg).
M 7 2–goal Stabler pass to Casper in end zone incomplete.
M 7 3–goal Stabler pressured, pass to Casper incomplete.
M 7 4–goal Mann, 24–yard field goal (14:12).
Oakland scoring drive: 90 yards, 12 plays, 5:23.
Oakland 3, Minnesota 0
O 36 1–10 Stabler 8 pass to Branch (Bryant).
O 44 2–2 van Eeghen 3 run middle (Siemon).
O 47 1–10 Davis 6 run around right end (N. Wright).
M 47 2–4 Stabler 2 pass to Branch (Siemon).
M 45 3–2 Stabler 19 pass to Casper left (Siemon).
M 26 1–10 Garrett 13 run left (J. Wright, Page).
M 13 1–10 Garrett 4 run middle (Page).
M 9 2–6 Garrett 3 run right (Eller).
M 6 3–3 Stabler 5 pass to Biletnikoff right sideline.
M 1 1–goal Stabler 1 pass to Casper left, touchdown (7:10). Mann kicked extra point.
Oakland scoring drive: 64 yards, 10 plays, 5:21.
Oakland 10, Minnesota 0
M 35 1–10 Davis 5 run middle (Sutherland, Eller).
M 30 2–5 van Eeghen 3 run off left tackle (Siemon).
M 27 3–2 van Eeghen 9 run middle (Blair, Eller).
M 18 1–10 Stabler 17 pass to Biletnikoff middle.
M 1 1–goal Banaszak 1 run over right tackle, touchdown (3:33). Mann’s extra–point attempt was no good.
Oakland scoring drive: 35 yards, 5 plays, 2:20.
Oakland 16, Minnesota 0
O 6 1–10 van Eeghen 11 run middle (Krause).
O 17 1–10 van Eeghen 2 run left (Allen).
O 19 2–8 van Eeghen run middle, no gain (Page).
O 19 3–8 Davis 3 run around left end (Siemon).
O 22 4–5 Guy 41 punt, Willis no return (Rice). Minnesota penalized 15 for clipping.
M 22 1–10 Tarkenton 26 pass to Foreman (Tatum).
END OF SECOND QUARTER:
Oakland 16, Minnesota 0
O 16 1–10 Stabler pass to Branch broken up (Bryant).
O 16 2–10 van Eeghen 6 run middle (Page).
O 22 3–4 Davis 13 draw middle (Krause).
O 35 1–10 van Eeghen 7 run off right tackle (J. Wright).
O 42 2–3 Davis 1 run off left tackle (Siemon).
O 43 3–2 Banaszak 1 run off left tackle (Siemon).
O 44 4–1 Guy 38 punt, Willis 8 return (McMath).
O 46 1–10 van Eeghen 7 run off right tackle (Siemon).
M 47 2–3 Davis 18 run off left tackle (Bryant).
M 29 1–10 van Eeghen run right, loss of 4 (Page).
M 33 2–14 Stabler pass to Biletnikoff in end zone incomplete.
M 33 3–14 Stabler 10 pass to Branch (Bryant).
M 23 4–4 Mann, 40–yard field goal (5:16).
Oakland scoring drive: 31 yards, 5 plays, 2:12.
Oakland 19, Minnesota 0
Oakland 19, Minnesota 7
Cox kick to O 14, Garrett 24 return (Miller).
O 38 1–10 Stabler sacked, loss of 11 (Page).
O 27 2–21 van Eeghen 3 run off left tackle (Siemon).
END OF THIRD QUARTER:
Oakland 19, Minnesota 7
O 30 3–18 Davis 16 run around left end (Krause).
O 46 4–2 Guy 32 punt downed at M 22.
O 46 1–10 van Eeghen 1 run middle (Sutherland).
O 47 2–9 Davis 3 run left (Page).
50 3–6 Stabler 48 pass to Biletnikoff middle (Bryant).
M 2 1–goal Banaszak 2 run over right tackle, touchdown (7:39). Mann kicked extra point.
Oakland scoring drive: 54 yards, 4 plays, 2:27.
Oakland 26, Minnesota 7
Oakland 32, Minnesota 7
M 36 1–10 van Eeghen 5 run around left end (Bryant).
M 31 2–5 Ginn 9 run off left tackle (Page).
M 22 1–10 Rae sacked, loss of 6 (Sutherland).
M 28 2–16 van Eeghen 3 run middle (Blair).
M 25 3–13 Rae 11 run evading pass rush (J. Wright). Two–Minute Warning.
M 14 4–2 Ginn run middle, no gain (Winston).