The Raiders and Chargers will play their last game in Oakland tonight. A rivalry that began with the birth of the American Football League in 1960, these two teams have been going at it a minimum of twice a year ever since.
We say this is the last game between these two teams in Oakland without real certainty. Where either of these teams have played has been a roving answer. The Chargers actually played their first season in Los Angeles, as the LA Chargers, before Conrad Hilton moved his team to San Diego beginning in 1961.
It was there, on that Chargers staff, that a young offensive minded kid got a job from one of the league’s giants, Sid Gilman. As head coach of the Chargers, Gilman had the most explosive offense in the league, much of the credit going to the young coach that had been at USC prior to joining the Chargers.
That young guy, in 1963, was hired by Wayne Valley of the Oakland Raiders, offered an ownership stake if he would join the worst team in the AFL and make them the best.
Within seven years, that brash young man, Al Davis, had turned the Raiders into the best team in the league and spent four months in 1966 as the AFL commissioner. In that brief time, he is credited with the plan that brought the two league’s together for their merger.
Davis moved his Raiders team around like a chess player would his bishop. After a successful 22 years run in Oakland, he moved the team south to Los Angeles. Then back to Oakland after thirteen mostly disappointing campaigns in LA.
Two years ago, the Chargers abandoned San Diego, returning to Los Angeles, where they currently play and expect to move into the grand new southland stadium next season.
So, let’s just say this is the last game in Oakland for these two longtime rivals.
You want to bet against the Raiders as a home underdog in a night game?
But, there is peril in betting against the Los Angeles Chargers tonight given they have won their last two and appear to be on a familiar path to where they start slow and then Philip Rivers guides them into the playoffs.
Don’t put me on the other side of the Chargers in a game they need in November or December.
So, I can’t bet against either of these teams tonight.
So, who do I bet on?