1990 Los Angeles Raiders season
OwnerAl Davis
General managerAl Davis
Head coachArt Shell
Home fieldL.A. Memorial Coliseum
Local radioKLAC–AM 570
Division place1st AFC West
Playoff finishWon Divisional Playoffs
(vs. Bengals) 20–10
Lost AFC Championship
(at Bills) 3–51
Pro Bowlers

The 1990 Los Angeles Raiders season was the franchise's 31st season overall, and the franchise's 21st season in the National Football League. Led by Coach of the Year Art Shell, the club appeared in its first AFC Championship Game since their Super Bowl-winning 1983 season, but lost a lopsided affair to the Buffalo Bills, 3–51. This would be the Raiders' final division title for 10 years, and their final one in Los Angeles. Bo Jackson suffered a hip injury in the team's divisional playoff victory against the Cincinnati Bengals which turned out to be a career ending injury for him.

NFL Films produced a documentary about the team's season entitled Year of Glory; it was narrated by Jeff Kaye.


NFL draft

Main article: 1990 NFL draft

1990 Los Angeles Raiders draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 11 Anthony Smith  Defensive end Arizona
2 37 Aaron Wallace  Linebacker Texas A&M
4 95 Torin Dorn  Defensive back North Carolina
6 149 Marcus Wilson  Running back Virginia
7 173 Garry Lewis  Defensive back Alcorn State
8 197 Arthur Jimerson  Linebacker Norfolk State
9 230 Leon Perry  Running back Oklahoma
11 303 Ron Lewis  Wide receiver Jackson State
11 304 Myron Jones  Running back Fresno State
12 317 Major Harris  Quarterback West Virginia
12 331 Demetrius Davis  Tight end Nevada
      Made roster  



1990 Los Angeles Raiders staff

Front office

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches



1990 Los Angeles Raiders roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists

Practice squad

47 active, 9 inactive, 2 practice squad

Rookies in italics



QB Jay Schroeder 16
RB Marcus Allen 15
FB Steve Smith 15
WR Mervyn Fernandez 15
WR Willie Gault 16
TE Ethan Horton 14
LT Rory Graves 15
LG Steve Wisniewski 16
C Don Mosebar 16
RG Max Montoya 16
RT Steve Wright 16
LDE Howie Long 11
LDT Bob Golic 16
RDT Scott Davis 16
RDE Greg Townsend 16
LLB Jerry Robinson 16
MLB Riki Ellison 15
RLB Thomas Benson 16
LCB Terry McDaniel 13
RCB Lionel Washington 16
SS Mike Harden 15
FS Eddie Anderson 16


Regular season


Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Attendance Recap
1 September 9 Denver Broncos W 14–9 1–0 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 54,206 Recap
2 September 16 at Seattle Seahawks W 17–13 2–0 Kingdome 61,889 Recap
3 September 23 Pittsburgh Steelers W 20–3 3–0 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 50,657 Recap
4 September 30 Chicago Bears W 24–10 4–0 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 80,156 Recap
5 October 7 at Buffalo Bills L 24–38 4–1 Rich Stadium 80,076 Recap
6 October 14 Seattle Seahawks W 24–17 5–1 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 50,624 Recap
7 October 21 at San Diego Chargers W 24–9 6–1 Jack Murphy Stadium 60,569 Recap
8 Bye
9 November 4 at Kansas City Chiefs L 7–9 6–2 Arrowhead Stadium 70,951 Recap
10 November 11 Green Bay Packers L 16–29 6–3 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 50,855 Recap
11 November 19 at Miami Dolphins W 13–10 7–3 Joe Robbie Stadium 70,553 Recap
12 November 25 Kansas City Chiefs L 24–27 7–4 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 65,710 Recap
13 December 2 at Denver Broncos W 23–20 8–4 Mile High Stadium 74,162 Recap
14 December 10 at Detroit Lions W 38–31 9–4 Pontiac Silverdome 72,190 Recap
15 December 16 Cincinnati Bengals W 24–7 10–4 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 54,132 Recap
16 December 22 at Minnesota Vikings W 28–24 11–4 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 53,899 Recap
17 December 30 San Diego Chargers W 17–12 12–4 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 62,593 Recap
Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.

Game summaries

Week 1

1 234Total
Broncos 3 303 9
• Raiders 0 0140 14
  • Date: September 9
  • Location: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles
  • Game start: 4:00 p.m. EST
  • Game attendance: 54,206
  • Game weather: 75 °F (23.9 °C), wind 7 miles per hour (11 km/h; 6.1 kn)
  • Referee: Jerry Seeman
  • Television network: NBC

On opening day the Raiders achieved an important victory but they did not score an offensive touchdown. At halftime the Broncos led Los Angeles 6–0. During the third quarter, Denver quarterback John Elway was intercepted by Raider lineback Jerry Robinson and the veteran returned the ball to the endzone for a touchdown. Later, cornerback Terry McDaniel scored the first touchdown of his career on a 42-yard fumble return. Leading 14–6 the Raiders defense held firm and only surrendered a third field goal to Denver.[5]

Week 2

1 234Total
• Raiders 3 0014 17
Seahawks 0 373 13
  • Date: September 16
  • Location: Kingdome, Seattle, WA
  • Game start: 4:00 p.m. EST
  • Game attendance: 61,889
  • Game weather: Indoors (dome)
  • Referee: Jerry Markbreit

The Raiders won their second straight game to start the 1990 season with a 2–0 record. A defensive struggle ensued between the two teams and by the end of the third quarter the Seahawks led 10–3. Raiders starting quarterback Jay Schroeder tied the game with a 12-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Mervyn Fernandez. Seattle regained the lead a few moments later on a 19-yard field goal. With time running short the Raiders drove downfield and scored on a 1-yard run by reserve running back Greg Bell to earn the victory.[6]

Week 3

1 234Total
Steelers 3 000 3
• Raiders 0 3314 20
  • Date: September 23
  • Location: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles
  • Game start: 4:00 p.m. EST
  • Game attendance: 50,657
  • Game weather: 69 °F (20.6 °C); wind 11 miles per hour (18 km/h; 9.6 kn)
  • Referee: Howard Roe
  • TV announcers (NBC): Marv Albert and Paul Maguire


The Raider defense combined for six sacks to beat Pittsburgh. The Steelers took a 3–0 lead but the Raiders scored 20 straight points to rout Pittsburgh.

Week 4

1 234Total
Bears 7 300 10
• Raiders 10 707 24
  • Date: September 30
  • Location: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles
  • Game start: 4:00 p.m. EST
  • Game attendance: 80,156
  • Game weather: 68 °F (20 °C); wind 11 miles per hour (18 km/h; 9.6 kn)
  • Referee: Gene Barth
  • TV announcers (CBS): Verne Lundquist and Dan Fouts


Marcus Allen scored the first points of the game, a 1-yard touchdown run, and the Raiders never looked back. Another Allen touchdown and a short fumble return for a touchdown by Greg Townsend rounded out the scoring. Willie Gault beat up his former team with 103 yards receiving on just 4 receptions.

Week 5

1 234Total
Raiders 7 377 24
• Bills 0 7724 38
  • Date: October 7
  • Location: Rich Stadium, Orchard Park, NY
  • Game start: 7:30 p.m. EST
  • Game attendance: 80,076
  • Game weather: 71 °F (21.7 °C); wind 16 miles per hour (26 km/h; 14 kn)
  • Referee: Red Cashion
  • TV announcers (TNT): Skip Caray and Pat Haden


Week 6

1 234Total
Seahawks 0 1430 17
• Raiders 7 1403 24

Following fan-related violence in the stands during the Raiders' previous two home games, including an incident during the game against Pittsburgh that left a Steelers fan in intensive care and with long term injuries, no alcohol was sold to fans during this game. Alcohol sales would resume at the next home game, but with tighter restrictions.


Week 7

1 234Total
• Raiders 0 1077 24
Chargers 3 330 9

[11] The Raiders rewarded Bo Jackson's return from professional baseball by giving him the ball 12 times for 53 yards and 2 touchdowns. On defense, the Raiders recorded two sacks and held the Chargers to just three field goals.

Week 9

1 234Total
Raiders 0 007 7
• Chiefs 6 003 9


The Raiders scored the only touchdown of the game but the Chiefs outscored and outrushed the Raiders to hand the Raiders their second loss of the season.

Week 10

1 234Total
• Packers 3 13310 29
Raiders 13 300 16


The Packers overcame 8 sacks by the Raiders to force four Raider turnovers and bask in the glory of 10 Raiders penalties.

Week 11

1 234Total
• Raiders 0 1030 13
Dolphins 0 703 10

[14] On Monday Night Football both Marcus Allen and Bo Jackson rushed for 79 yards and 99 yards respectively to beat Miami and rebound for consecutive losses to Kansas City and Green Bay. Marcus Allen scored the only Raider touchdown of the game.

Week 12

1 234Total
• Chiefs 0 10107 27
Raiders 0 1077 24


The Raiders lost their fourth game of the 1990 season and their third defeat in four weeks. Marcus Allen scored three times and both Allen and Jackson combined for over 100 yards rushing but it was not enough. Chiefs quarterback Steve DeBerg threw three touchdown passes and the Chiefs defense combined for five sacks to earn a season sweep of Los Angeles.

Week 13

1 234Total
• Raiders 7 079 23
Broncos 3 7010 20
  • Date: December 2
  • Location: Mile High Stadium, Denver, CO
  • Game start: 4:00 p.m. EST
  • Game attendance: 74,162
  • Game weather: 25 °F (−3.9 °C); wind 11 miles per hour (18 km/h; 9.6 kn)
  • Referee: Gene Barth
  • TV announcers (NBC): Dick Enberg and Bill Walsh


Bo Jackson had been fairly quiet all season until a dose of Denver defense cured him of any of his struggles. During the third quarter and with the Raiders leading 14–13, Bo Jackson broke several tackles during a 62-yard touchdown run. The score was Jackson's second touchdown of the afternoon and the former Auburn star rushed 13 times for 117 yards. Receiver Willie Gault helped out with 9 receptions for 99 yards.

Week 14

1 234Total
• Raiders 14 7143 38
Lions 21 307 31
  • Date: December 10
  • Location: Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, MI
  • Game start: 9:00 p.m. EST
  • Game attendance: 72,190
  • Game weather: Indoors (dome)
  • Referee: Johnny Grier
  • TV announcers (ABC): Al Michaels, Frank Gifford, Dan Dierdorf

For the second time in four weeks the Raiders played on Monday Night Football. The game's biggest prime time stage contained some of the greatest college football players in history. The teams set an NFL record with five combined Heisman Trophy winners taking the field. (For the Raiders it was Marcus Allen, Bo Jackson and Tim Brown. For the Lions it was Barry Sanders and Andre Ware.) The game turned out to be a shootout with Allen, Brown, Jackson and Barry Sanders scoring touchdowns. Sanders rushed for 176 yards on 25 carries and Jackson carried 18 times for 129 yards. The Raiders defense captured four sacks and an interception to earn their ninth win of the season.

Week 15

1 234Total
Bengals 7 000 7
• Raiders 7 1070 24
  • Date: December 16
  • Location: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles
  • Game start: 4:00 p.m. EST
  • Game attendance: 54,132
  • Game weather: 53 °F (11.7 °C); wind 12 miles per hour (19 km/h; 10 kn)
  • Referee: Jim Tunney
  • TV announcers (NBC): Charlie Jones and Todd Christensen


During the game Bo Jackson rushed eight times for 117 yards and Tim Brown scored twice. After trailing 7–0 the Raiders scored 24 unanswered points to crush Cincinnati.

Week 16

1 234Total
• Raiders 14 077 28
Vikings 0 10014 24

[18] Jay Schroeder gave Los Angeles a 14–0 lead after hitting receivers Sam Graddy and Mervyn Fernandez with touchdown passes. The Vikings reentered the game with 10 unanswered points but Schroeder threw two more touchdown passes to Marcus Allen and Ethan Horton to give Los Angeles a 28–10 lead. Future Raider quarterback Rich Gannon replaced Vikings starter and future Raider Wade Wilson and threw two touchdown passes to earn the final points of the contest. The Raiders defense came through again with five sacks and an interception.

Week 17

1 234Total
Chargers 3 603 12
• Raiders 0 7010 17

[19] The two losses to Kansas City hurt the Raiders here but hopes of a divisional championship were still alive. With a win the Raiders would win the AFC West and the team did not disappoint. Trailing 12–10 in the fourth quarter, the Raiders mounted an important drive and fullback Steve Smith finalized the win with a short touchdown reception from Jay Schroeder.[20]


AFC West
(2) Los Angeles Raiders 12 4 0 .750 6–2 9–3 337 268 W5
(5) Kansas City Chiefs 11 5 0 .688 5–3 7–5 369 257 W2
Seattle Seahawks 9 7 0 .563 4–4 7–5 306 286 W2
San Diego Chargers 6 10 0 .375 2–6 5–9 315 281 L3
Denver Broncos 5 11 0 .313 3–5 4–8 331 374 W1



1 234Total
Bengals 0 307 10
Raiders 0 7310 20

The Raiders recorded 235 rushing yards (with 140 of them coming from running back Marcus Allen), while holding the Bengals to just 182 total yards and sacking Boomer Esiason four times (three by lineman Greg Townsend), but still had to score 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to clinch the victory. The Bengals scored first during the second period with kicker Jim Breech's 27-yard field goal. But Los Angeles quarterback Jay Schroeder threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mervyn Fernandez to give the Raiders a 7–3 lead before halftime. Los Angeles kicker Jeff Jaeger made a 49-field goal in the third quarter, but Cincinnati tied the game early in the fourth period with running back Stanford Jennings' 8-yard touchdown reception from Esiason. However, a 41-yard touchdown pass from Schroeder to tight end Ethan Horton and Jaeger's 25-yard field goal clinched the victory.

This was Raiders running back Bo Jackson's final NFL game, having injured his left hip during the third quarter while being tackled from behind by Bengals linebacker Kevin Walker.[21] The injury was later revealed to have caused a degenerative bone condition in Jackson's hip called avascular necrosis. Before being knocked out of the game, he rushed 6 times for 77 yards. Some Bengals fans theorize that this injury to one of the greatest athletes ever placed a curse on the Bengals franchise (sometimes called "the curse of Bo Jackson"), and that this curse is partially responsible for the Bengals' notorious failure to field a competitive football team for most of the next decade and half, and would not win their next playoff game until the 2021 season, coincidentally against the Raiders.

This game is also notable for being Marcus Allen's last 100-plus yard rushing performance with the Raiders, as well as the last postseason game the Bengals would play in until the 2005 season.

Conference Championship

1 234Total
Raiders 3 000 3
Bills 21 20010 51

Raiders head coach Art Shell became the first African-American coach to take his team to a conference championship game, but the results were not in his favor.

The Bills shredded the Raiders, limiting quarterback Jay Schroeder to 13 of 31 completions for 150 yards and intercepting him 5 times, while also holding running back Marcus Allen to just 26 yards on 10 carries. On offense, the Bills amassed 502 total yards, including 202 yards on the ground. Running back Thurman Thomas rushed for 138 and a touchdown while also catching 5 passes for 61 yards, while running back Kenneth Davis tied an AFC playoff record with 3 rushing touchdowns. Buffalo also set an NFL playoff record by scoring 41 points in the first half. Bills quarterback Jim Kelly threw for 300 yards and two touchdown passes to wide receiver James Lofton, who finished the game with 5 receptions for 113 yards. Thomas recorded a 12-yard touchdown run, while Davis scored from 1 yard, 3 yards, and 1 yard out. Linebacker Darryl Talley returned one of his two interceptions 27 yards for a touchdown.

On Buffalo's opening drive, Kelly completed six consecutive passes, the last one a 13-yard touchdown throw to Lofton after he recovered a fumbled snap in shotgun formation. The Raiders responded with a 41-yard field goal from Jeff Jaeger, but Buffalo stormed back with another touchdown just four plays after the ensuing kickoff, set up by Kelly's 41-yard completion to Lofton. After a punt, Los Angeles defensive back Gary Lewis intercepted a pass from Kelly. But two plays later, Talley intercepted a pass from Schroeder and returned it for a touchdown. The Raiders were forced to punt on their next possession, and Buffalo stormed down the field again, scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run by Davis on fourth down and goal. An interception by Nate Odomes set up Davis' second touchdown less than a minute later, and before the half ended, Lofton caught his second touchdown pass to give the Bills a 41–3 first half lead.

Buffalo increased their lead to 48–3 with Davis' third touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter. Later on, Scott Norwood closed out the scoring with a 39-yard field goal.

Buffalo recorded a total of six interceptions, the third highest total ever in a single NFL game. Defensive back Mark Kelso recorded his fourth career postseason interception in the game, a Bills' record.

Awards and records

Art Shell, NFL Coach of the Year Bo Jackson, Pro Bowl Greg Townsend, Pro Bowl Marcus Allen, 13 total touchdowns, 12 rushing and 1 receiving[20]


  1. ^ "1990 Los Angeles Raiders draftees". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  2. ^ "Denver Broncos vs. Los Angeles Raiders" (PDF). DenverBroncos.com. Denver Broncos. December 2, 1990. Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  3. ^ "1990 Los Angeles Raiders starters and roster". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  4. ^ "1990 Los Angeles Raiders Starters, Roster, & Players".
  5. ^ "Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Raiders – September 9th, 1990 – Pro-Football-Reference.com". Archived from the original on July 24, 2009. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
  6. ^ "Los Angeles Raiders at Seattle Seahawks - September 16th, 1990".
  7. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2015-Feb-05.
  8. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2015-Feb-05.
  9. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2015-Feb-05.
  10. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2015-Feb-05.
  11. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2015-Feb-05.
  12. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2015-Feb-05.
  13. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2015-Feb-05.
  14. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2015-Feb-05.
  15. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2015-Feb-05.
  16. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2015-Feb-05.
  17. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2015-Feb-06.
  18. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2015-Feb-06.
  19. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2015-Feb-06.
  20. ^ a b "1990 Los Angeles Raiders Statistics & Players – Pro-Football-Reference.com". Archived from the original on April 25, 2009. Retrieved May 17, 2009.
  21. ^ News – Bengals break Curse of Bo – Cincinnati Bengals