Los Angeles Raiders
Established 1982
Ended 1994
Played in Los Angeles, California
Headquartered in El Segundo, California
Los Angeles Raiders wordmark
Los Angeles Raiders wordmark
League/conference affiliations
Team colorsSilver, black
Fight songThe Autumn Wind
Owner(s)Al Davis (1982–1994)
General managerAl Davis (1982–1994)
Head coachTom Flores (1982–1987)
Mike Shanahan (1988–1989)
Art Shell (1989–1994)
Team history
Team nicknames
League championships (1)
Conference championships (1)
Division championships (4)
Playoff appearances (7)
Home fields

The Los Angeles Raiders were a professional American football team that played in Los Angeles from 1982 to 1994 before relocating back to Oakland, California, where the team played from its inaugural 1960 season to the 1981 season and then again from 1995 to 2019.

The team's first home game in Los Angeles was at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum against the San Diego Chargers on November 22, 1982, after a 57-day player strike. They played their last game as a Los Angeles–based club on December 24, 1994, at the Coliseum against the Kansas City Chiefs, a game which they lost 19–9 to eliminate them from playoff contention.

After both the Raiders and the Rams left Los Angeles after the 1994 season, Los Angeles was left without an NFL team[1][2][3] until the 2016 season.[4]



Prior to the 1980 season, Raiders owner Al Davis attempted unsuccessfully to have improvements made to the Oakland Coliseum, specifically the addition of luxury boxes. On March 1, 1980, he signed a memorandum of agreement to move the Raiders from Oakland to Los Angeles. The move, which required three-fourths approval by league owners, was defeated 22–0 (with five owners abstaining). When Davis tried to move the team anyway, he was blocked by an injunction. In response, the Raiders not only became an active partner in an antitrust lawsuit filed by the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (who had recently lost the Los Angeles Rams to Anaheim), but filed an antitrust lawsuit of their own.[5] After the first case was declared a mistrial, in May 1982 a second jury ruled in favor of Davis and the Los Angeles Coliseum, clearing the way for the move.[6][7][8] The Raiders finally relocated to Los Angeles for the 1982 season, playing their home games at the Los Angeles Coliseum.


In the strike-shortened 1982 season, the team finished first in the AFC with an 8–1 record. They defeated the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the playoffs before losing to the New York Jets in the second round. The following season, the team compiled a 12–4 record and a first-place finish in the AFC West. in the playoffs, they convincingly defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Divisional Playoffs and Seattle Seahawks in the AFC Championship Game to advance to Super Bowl XVIII against the Washington Redskins. The Raiders built a 21–3 halftime lead over Washington en route to a 38–9 victory and their third NFL championship. The Raiders had another successful regular season in 1984, finishing 11–5, but a three-game losing streak in late October and early November forced them to enter the playoffs as the second wild card team. They were defeated by the Seahawks in the Wild Card Playoffs, 13–7. The 1985 campaign saw 12 wins and another division title, but the first-seeded Raiders suffered a humiliating 27–20 defeat at the hands of the New England Patriots in the Divisional Playoffs.

1986–1989: Struggles, beginning of the end

Allen (center) led the Raiders to a championship in Super Bowl XVIII and earned MVP honors as he rushed for a record of 191 yards, including a memorable 74-yard touchdown run.[9]

The Raiders' fortunes declined after the loss to the Patriots in the 1985 playoffs. From 1986 through 1989, they finished no better than 8–8 and posted consecutive losing seasons for the first time since 1961–62. Also, 1986 saw Al Davis get into a widely publicized argument with running back Marcus Allen, whom he accused of faking injuries. The feud continued into 1987, with Davis retaliating by signing Bo Jackson to take Allen's place. However, Jackson was also a left fielder for Major League Baseball's Kansas City Royals, and could not play full-time until the baseball season ended in October. Even worse, another strike cost the NFL one game and prompted them to use substitute players. The Raiders fill-ins achieved a 1–2 record before the regular team returned. After a weak 5–10 finish, head coach Tom Flores moved to the front office and was replaced by Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan. Shanahan led the team to a 7–9 mark in 1988, and Allen and Jackson continued to trade places as the starting running back. Low game attendance and fan apathy were evident by this point, and in the summer of 1989, rumors of a Raiders return to Oakland intensified when a preseason game against the Houston Oilers was scheduled at Oakland Coliseum.[10]

As early as 1986, Davis began to seek a new, more modern stadium away from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the dangerous neighborhood that surrounded it at the time (which caused the NFL to schedule the Raiders' Monday Night Football appearances as away games). In addition to the team having to share the venue with the USC Trojans, the Coliseum was aging and still lacked the luxury suites and other amenities that Davis was promised when he moved the Raiders to Los Angeles.[11] Finally, the Coliseum had 100,000 seats and was rarely able to fill all of them, and so most Raiders home games were blacked out on television. In August 1987, it was announced that the city of Irwindale paid Davis $10 million as a good-faith deposit for a prospective stadium site, though Davis later kept the deposit despite the bid being abandoned by the team. During this time Davis also almost moved the team to Sacramento in a deal that would have included Davis becoming the managing partner of the Sacramento Kings.[12]

1989–1994: Final years

Negotiations with Oakland

Negotiations between Davis and Oakland commenced in January 1989, and on March 11, 1990, Davis announced his intention to bring the Raiders back to Oakland.[13] By September 1990, however, numerous delays had prevented the completion. On September 11, Davis announced a new deal to stay in Los Angeles, leading many fans in Oakland to burn Raiders paraphernalia in disgust.[14][15]

New coach

After starting the 1989 season with a 1–3 record, Shanahan was fired by Davis, which began a long-standing feud between the two.[16] He was replaced by former Raider offensive lineman Art Shell, who had been voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame earlier in the year. With the hiring, Shell became the first African American head coach in the modern NFL era, but the team still finished a middling 8–8.[17] In 1990, Shell led Los Angeles to a 12–4 record. They beat the Bengals in the divisional round of the playoffs, but Bo Jackson had his left femur ripped from the socket after a tackle. Without him, the Raiders were crushed in the AFC Championship by the Buffalo Bills 51-3. Jackson was forced to quit football as a result, although surgery allowed him to continue playing baseball until he retired in 1994.

Postseason losses

The team's fortunes faded after the loss. They made two other playoff appearances during the 1990s, and finished higher than third place only three times. In 1991, they got into the postseason as a wild card after a 9–7 regular season, but fell to Kansas City. 1992 saw them drop to 7–9. This period was marked by the injury of Jackson in 1991, the failure of troubled quarterback Todd Marinovich, the acrimonious departure of Marcus Allen in 1993, and the retirement of Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long after the 1993 season, where the Raiders went 10–6 and lost to Buffalo in the divisional round of the playoffs. The Todd Marinovich fiasco overshadowed the Raiders' 1991 and 1992 efforts. Marinovich was groomed from childhood to play football; his strict upbringing led to him being called "Robo QB" in the sports press. He attended USC and was the 24th overall pick in the 1991 draft. However, he struggled on field and was cut after the 1992 season due to repeated substance abuse problems.

Shell's five-plus-year tenure as head coach in Los Angeles was marked particularly by a bitter dispute between star running back Marcus Allen and Al Davis. The exact source of the friction is completely unknown but a contract dispute led Davis to refer to Allen as "a cancer on the team."[18] By the late 1980s, injuries began to reduce Allen's role in the offense. This role was reduced further in 1987, when the Raiders drafted Bo Jackson—even though he originally decided to not play professional football in 1986 (when drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round).[19] By 1990, Allen had dropped to fourth on the team's depth chart, leading to resentment on the part of his teammates. In late 1992 Allen lashed out publicly at Davis, and accused him of trying to ruin his career.[20][21] In 1993, Allen left to play for the rival Kansas City Chiefs. Shell was fired after posting a 9–7 record in the 1994 season.


In May 1995 after the departure of the Rams' for St. Louis, the owners of the National Football League teams approved with a 27–1 vote with two abstentions, a resolution supporting a plan to build a $200 million, privately financed stadium on property owned by Hollywood Park in Inglewood for the Raiders. The stadium would have also been the home of the UCLA Bruins football team, opened in 1997, and been guaranteed at least two Super Bowls.[22] Al Davis balked and refused the deal over a stipulation that he would have had to accept a second NFL team at the stadium as soon as 1998.[23]

The team had also reconsidered the site adjacent to Interstate 210's junction with Interstate 605 in Irwindale, California, 18 miles east of Los Angeles.[24] Originally sought by the Raiders in 1987, plans continuously failed to materialize as the team looked to convert land formerly operated by a quarry as a candidate for a stadium site.[25][26] City officials in Irwindale offered Davis a $10 million deposit as an incentive to consider the site. Despite a further $10 million being invested by the city into environmental surveys, legal fees, and approvals for usage of the land.[27] For conflicted reasons, Davis accepted the $10 million from the city's bid, but later declined any future proposals for the site.[28][29]

On June 23, 1995, Davis signed a letter of intent to move the Raiders back to Oakland. The move was approved by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors the next month,[30] as well as by the NFL. The move was greeted with much fanfare,[31] and under new head coach Mike White. Hollywood Park would later become the site of an NFL Stadium for their former rivals, the Los Angeles Rams and a division rival, the Los Angeles Chargers.

Attempted return to Los Angeles

On February 19, 2015, the Raiders and the Chargers announced that they would build a privately financed $1.78 billion stadium in Carson, California if they were to move to the Los Angeles market.[32] Both teams stated that they would continue to attempt to get stadiums built in their respective cities.[33]

On April 22, 2015, the Carson City Council bypassed the option to put the stadium to public vote and approved the plan 3–0.[34] The council voted without having clarified several issues, including who would finance the stadium, how the required three-way land swap would be performed, and how it would raise enough revenue if only one team moved in as tenant.[35][36]

On May 19, 2015, the Chargers and Raiders announced that they had finalized a deal to secure land in Carson which was transferred to a joint powers authority in Carson after the 157-acre site was purchased by Carson Holdings, a company set up by the two teams.[34]

The league was skeptical of the site due to a poorly drawn structure to apply for local bonds to fund the construction; and preferred the Rams' stadium plan on a site at Hollywood Park in Inglewood (which was privately financed), another proposed stadium site rejected by the Raiders in 1995. In response, Jerry Richardson, then owner of the Carolina Panthers, who supported the plan, convinced Chargers owner Dean Spanos to recruit Bob Iger, the then CEO of The Walt Disney Company. Iger was appointed non-executive chairman of the Carson stadium project.[37]

On January 4, 2016, the Raiders filed for relocation alongside the Chargers and Rams.[38][39]

Despite the sales pitch from Bob Iger, many owners held reservations about the Carson site, with Jerry Jones even making a wise crack about Bob Iger.[40] The committee set up by the league initially recommended the Carson Site,[41] but the Chargers and Raiders were unable to secure the votes they needed to move. After hours of debate, the NFL owners voted to allow the St. Louis Rams to move back to Los Angeles after a two decade long absence on January 12, 2016, with the San Diego Chargers having the option to join them within a year.

It was still possible, however, for the Raiders to move as they could have moved into the Rams' new stadium in Inglewood with the Rams if the Chargers opted to stay in San Diego.[42] On January 12, 2017, the Chargers opted to join the Rams in Los Angeles, thereby closing the door on the return of the Raiders to the city. Although with an AFC West rival playing in Los Angeles, the Raiders get at least one game in Los Angeles each season playing the Los Angeles Chargers.[43]

Cultural impact and legacy

The Raiders’ time in Los Angeles had a large cultural impact on both the Raiders brand and Los Angeles. During this time, there was an explosion of popularity in both the team and the Raiders brand, as L.A. is America's second-largest media market. The team's early success was coupled with brand exposure by Hollywood celebrities, notably the gangsta rap group N.W.A., wearing Raiders gear. Chuck D wears Raiders colours on the cover of Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, despite being a New York Jets fan. "Everyone liked the Raiders," he explained, "because they wore black and silver."[44] This period – chronicled by the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary Straight Outta L.A. – is considered the beginnings of Raider Nation.

Today, a strong amount of Raider fans in Southern California still remain despite professional football having vacated the region for 20 seasons.[45] Despite any cancelled plans of a return to Southern California, numerous Raiders fans are typically present during their annual matchup against the Chargers at SoFi Stadium, Southern Californian fans are also regularly known to make the 3-hour drive in support of the team's home games in Las Vegas.

See also


  1. ^ Ungvari, Andrew. "Why L.A. Still Does Not Have an NFL Team". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2024-05-14.
  2. ^ Schwarz, Hunter (2021-12-06). "The politics behind why Los Angeles doesn't have an NFL team". Washington Post. Retrieved 2024-05-14.
  3. ^ "Bloomberg - Are you a robot?". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2024-05-14. ((cite web)): Cite uses generic title (help)
  4. ^ Mueller, Eric (2022-02-09). "The Complicated History of the NFL in Los Angeles". Ask.com. Retrieved 2024-05-14.
  5. ^ Dickey, Just Win, Baby. p. 168.
  6. ^ Dickey, Just Win, Baby. p. 172.
  7. ^ "Al Davis biography". HickokSports.com. Archived from the original on 2002-02-23. Retrieved 2007-01-30.
  8. ^ Puma, Mike (2003-12-01). "Good guys wear black". ESPN Classic. Retrieved 2007-01-30.
  9. ^ Harvey, Harvey (2002). The Super Bowl's Most Wanted: The Top 10 Book of Big-Game Heroes, Pigskin Zeroes, and Championship Oddities (1st ed.). Brassey's, Inc. p. 123. ISBN 9781612340289.
  10. ^ Dickey, Just Win, Baby. p. 234.
  11. ^ Dickey, Just Win, Baby. p. 230.
  12. ^ "Sacramento Raiders? 'It was a done deal'". NBCS Bay Area. 2018-01-12. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  13. ^ Dickey, Just Win, Baby. pp. 234–239.
  14. ^ Dickey, Just Win, Baby. pp. 240–244.
  15. ^ Anderson, Dave (1990-09-16). "Just Give Me $10 Million, Baby". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-02-02.
  16. ^ Czarnecki, John. "Raiders, Broncos renew rivalry". Fox Sports. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
  17. ^ Bell, Jarrett (2007-01-17). "Coaches chasing Super Bowl — and history". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
  18. ^ "Allen no stranger to big plays". Associated Press. 2003-07-31. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
  19. ^ Flatter, Ron. "Bo knows stardom and disappointment". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
  20. ^ Killion, Ann (2006-09-11). "Before Raiders start, let's look at Shell's first term". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
  21. ^ "Raiders' Allen Irked at Davis". New York Times. 1992-12-15. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
  22. ^ "Goodby Rams--Hello Stadium? : Raiders: Hollywood Park facility expected to get approval for 1997". Los Angeles Times. 1995-04-13. Retrieved 2019-09-15.
  23. ^ "The day Al Davis walked away". ESPN.com. September 23, 2011.
  24. ^ Dickey, Just Win, Baby. p. 232.
  25. ^ "Al Davis may retire if Raiders win". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Associated Press. 2003-01-23. Archived from the original on 2013-01-02. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
  26. ^ Plaschke, Bill. "Shades of Gray". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2007-08-04. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
  28. ^ "Irwindale's Fumble of Raider Bid Still Stings".
  29. ^ "Raiders Sign Pact to build on Irwindale site".
  30. ^ "Raiders' Move Is Approved". The New York Times. 1995-07-12. Retrieved 2007-02-02.
  31. ^ Poole, Monte (2005-06-22). "Raiders headed home 10 years ago". Oakland Tribune. Retrieved 2007-02-02.
  32. ^ Williams, Eric D. (February 20, 2015). "Chargers, Raiders reveal L.A. plan". ESPN.com. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  33. ^ Rapoport, Ian (February 20, 2015). "Chargers, Raiders team up for stadium proposal in Los Angeles". NFL.com. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  34. ^ a b Jablon, Robert (April 22, 2015). "City Council approves plan for NFL stadium near Los Angeles". Associated Press. Archived from the original on April 23, 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-22.
  35. ^ Logan, Tim; Nathan Fenno (April 21, 2015). "Carson City Council may be set to approve NFL stadium, sight unseen". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-04-22.
  36. ^ "Potential Carson project development land unavailable". NFL.com. Archived from the original on December 7, 2015. Retrieved 2015-12-06.
  37. ^ Rovell, Darren (November 11, 2015). "Disney CEO Bob Iger joins NFL stadium project in Carson, California". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
  38. ^ "NFL Relocation". Raiders.com. National Football League.
  39. ^ Brinson, Will. "Chargers, Raiders and Rams file for relocation to Los Angeles". CBS Sports. CBS.
  40. ^ Wickersham, Seth; Van Natta, Don Jr. "The Wow Factor: The Real Story of the NFL Owners Battle To Bring Football Back To Los Angeles". ESPN.com. ESPN.
  41. ^ Battista, Judy. "League's committee on Los Angeles recommends Carson project". NFL.com. NFL.
  42. ^ Breech, John. "Rams headed to Los Angeles for 2016, Chargers have option to follow". CBS Sports.
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  44. ^ Allen, Matt (October 2001). "I liked Abba, but everything else was weird". Q. p. 44.
  45. ^ "Raiders Still Beloved In LA, But Chargers Have Playoff Hopes". 2017-12-28. Retrieved 2019-07-16.