This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger
The truth is that had Al Davis and his team marketed his Raiders franchise in Los Angeles as the Dodgers and Lakers are marketed in Los Angeles, the Raiders would probably still be in LA today. Instead Mr. Davis believed that people would automatically just show up to see a good football team every week. The fan interest would have been there and the crowds would have been there and there would have been enough interest for Los Angeles to give the Raiders franchise what it needed to be successful in Los Angeles, whether that was new renovations to the LA Memorial Coliseum or a new stadium altogether.
When I think of the Los Angeles Raiders who were in Los Angeles from 1982 to 1994 before moving back to Oakland, I think of both good and bad and probably more bad then good actually, as my first paragraph, I believe, points out, but to be positive and factual, the LA Raiders were very good in the 1980s. They won two Super Bowls in 1980 and 1983 and probably should have won a couple more in 1982 and 1984, but the 1983 Raiders were one of the best and most dominant Super Bowl champions of all time.
But the story doesn't end there, because again, they were there from 1982 to 1994 and are not still there today. Also there's a lot of what could have been, had Al Davis basically not ruined running back Marcus Allen's career and not cost him at least 4 to 6 years. Marcus was the best all-around running back of his era, at least post Walter Payton, and the mistake of Al Davis telling his coaching staff not to play Marcus because he believed Marcus became bigger than the Raiders franchise itself.
But instead they traded for running back Bo Jackson because of baseball. He was never more than a part-time player for the Raiders and only played four seasons because of the hip injury. Instead of trading for Bo, they should have invested the money into getting a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback to take over for Jim Plunkett or again trade for Bo but not reduce the role of Marcus in the backfield. They should have gone to a two-back full-time set and become a run-oriented football team with Marcus and Bo and 2,000 yard rushers year after year on the same team. How much better would their vertical spread passing game had been with that running game.
To sum up, the Los Angeles Raiders were a team of underachievers, not just some of the players but the franchise as a whole, and again we are talking about a two-time Super Bowl champion franchise, but they could have done so much more and should have been the team of the NFL of the 1980s to take over for the Pittsburgh Steelers from the 1970s because of the talent they had, the market they played in, and the man at the top in Al Davis.