|1974 Oakland Raiders season|
|General manager||Al Davis|
|Head coach||John Madden|
|Home field||Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum|
|Division place||1st AFC West|
|Playoff finish||Won Divisional Playoffs|
(vs. Dolphins) 28–26
Lost AFC Championship
(vs. Steelers) 13–24
The 1974 Oakland Raiders season was the team's 15th season in Oakland and fifth in the National Football League. The team would post a superb 12–2 record; the campaign's two losses would be by a total of four points. The Raiders' record (the team's best since 1969) would ensure their fourth AFC West title in five years.
For the second straight campaign, the Raiders exacted revenge upon the team that had eliminated them in the prior year's playoffs. This time, Oakland toppled the two-time defending Super Bowl champion Miami Dolphins, by a score of 28–26, in the playoffs' Divisional round. Quarterback Kenny Stabler (in his first full season as a starter) threw a last-minute winning touchdown pass to running back Clarence Davis in what has come to be known as the "Sea of Hands" game.
For the second straight season, however, the Raiders lost in the AFC Championship Game. They were upset, 24–13, by the eventual champion Pittsburgh Steelers. While the Raiders led 10–3 at the end of the third quarter, a defensive meltdown would allow the Steelers to score 21 points in the final frame.
The 2006 edition of Pro Football Prospectus listed the 1974 Raiders as one of their "Heartbreak Seasons", in which teams "dominated the entire regular season only to falter in the playoffs, unable to close the deal." Pro Football Prospectus states, The John Madden Raiders were a consistently good regular season team, but the playoffs were a different story. The 1972 season came to an end with the painful Immaculate Reception game. The 1973 Raiders ended Miami's 18-game winning streak during the regular season but lost to the Dolphins in the AFC Championship game. In 1974, the Raiders seemed to finally have all the pieces."
Despite the disappointment at the end of the 1974 season, Pro Football Prospectus continues, "[t]he Raiders persevered, keeping the team's core together the next several seasons. In 1975, they again fell to the Steelers in the AFC title game, but caught a break in the 1976 AFC Championship, when they cruised to a 24–7 victory over Pittsburgh, who were without running backs Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier. Finally, in the Super Bowl, they did not waste their opportunity, crushing the Vikings 32–14 behind Ken Stabler and Clarence Davis."
"The Autumn Wind", a poem written by former NFL Films President and co-founder Steve Sabol, became the unofficial team anthem of the Raiders, and was first used for the team's official team yearbook film in 1974. It was narrated by John Facenda, and dubbed "The Battle Hymn of the Raider Nation".
1974 marked the end of an era, as the last remaining original Raider, longtime offensive lineman Jim Otto, retired after all 10 seasons in the AFL, 5 seasons in the NFL, and 15 seasons with the Raiders. Counting playoff games, he showed up for every one of the first 223 games in Oakland Raiders history.
Main article: 1974 NFL Draft
|1974 Oakland Raiders draft|
|1||19||Henry Lawrence *||Tackle||Florida A&M|
|2||45||Dave Casper * †||Tight end||Notre Dame|
|3||75||Mark van Eeghen||Running back||Colgate|
|4||93||Morris Bradshaw||Wide receiver||Ohio State|
|5||123||Pete Wessel||Defensive back||Northwestern|
|6||148||James McAlister||Running back||UCLA||Signed with Southern California Sun (WFL)|
|9||227||Ken Pope||Defensive back||Oklahoma|
|10||253||Chris Arnold||Defensive back||Virginia State|
|11||279||Harold Hart||Running back||Texas Southern|
|12||305||Noe Gonzalez||Running back||Southwest Texas State|
|13||330||Mike Dennery||Linebacker||Southern Miss|
|14||357||Don Willingham||Running back||Milwaukee|
|15||383||Greg Mathis||Defensive back||Idaho State|
|16||409||Delario Robinson||Wide receiver||Kansas|
|17||435||James Morris||Defensive tackle||Missouri Valley|
|Made roster † Pro Football Hall of Fame * Made at least one Pro Bowl during career|
|1||September 16||at Buffalo Bills||L 20–21||0–1||Rich Stadium||80,020||Recap|
|2||September 22||Kansas City Chiefs||W 27–7||1–1||Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum||48,108||Recap|
|3||September 29||at Pittsburgh Steelers||W 17–0||2–1||Three Rivers Stadium||48,304||Recap|
|4||October 6||at Cleveland Browns||W 40–24||3–1||Cleveland Municipal Stadium||65,247||Recap|
|5||October 13||at San Diego Chargers||W 14–10||4–1||San Diego Stadium||40,539||Recap|
|6||October 20||Cincinnati Bengals||W 30–27||5–1||Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum||54,020||Recap|
|7||October 27||at San Francisco 49ers||W 35–24||6–1||Candlestick Park||58,284||Recap|
|8||November 3||at Denver Broncos||W 28–17||7–1||Mile High Stadium||45,946||Recap|
|9||November 10||Detroit Lions||W 35–13||8–1||Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum||51,973||Recap|
|10||November 17||San Diego Chargers||W 17–10||9–1||Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum||50,178||Recap|
|11||November 24||Denver Broncos||L 17–20||9–2||Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum||51,224||Recap|
|12||December 1||New England Patriots||W 41–26||10–2||Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum||50,120||Recap|
|13||December 8||at Kansas City Chiefs||W 7–6||11–2||Arrowhead Stadium||60,577||Recap|
|14||December 14||Dallas Cowboys||W 27–23||12–2||Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum||45,840||Recap|
|Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.|
See also: 1974 Buffalo Bills season
|Kansas City Chiefs||5||9||0||.357||2–4||4–7||233||293||L2|
|San Diego Chargers||5||9||0||.357||2–4||4–7||212||285||W2|
Main article: 1974–75 NFL playoffs
|Divisional||December 21||Miami Dolphins||W 28–26||1–0||Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum||52,817|
|AFC Championship||December 29||Pittsburgh Steelers||L 13–24||1–1||Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum||53,515|