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'76 Raiders head to G.O.A.T. Final Four

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NFL.com Greatest Team of all time logo
NFL.com Greatest Team of all time logo

It was a close matchup between the 1976 Raiders and the 1999 Rams but the better team won. Now the better teams will be vying to be called the Greatest of All Time as the Raiders are in the semi-finals of the NFL.com Greatest Team of All Time bracket.

NFL.com is asking fans to cast their votes to help them determine the greatest team of all time. They picked the 64 best teams of the Super Bowl era, and throughout the month of March they are asking fans to cast their votes as they go round by round through their NCAA tournament style bracket to determine the fans' selection as the greatest team of all time.

Voting for the semi-final round ends on Wednesday, March 28 at 2pm PST. And you can vote as much as you want.

The '76 Raiders came in as a 5 seed and have now beaten out the '08 Steelers. ‘ 93 Cowboys, '78 Steelers and '99 Rams. The bracket began with all three Super Bowl winning Raiders teams but the '80 and '83 Raiders were both knocked out in the first round. The '80 Raiders lost out to the '04 Spygate Patriots and the '83 Raiders lost out to the '66 Packers. So the '76 Raiders are the only team left in the tournament.

They now face the '85 Bears for the right to head to the Championship game. The Rams were certainly not deserving of making the Elite Eight but the '85 Bears are very much deserving of being in this spot. So nat only will da Bears fans be out ta send deir beloved, Mike Ditka led Bears to da finals, but the Raiders will also have to compete against those unbiased voters who firmly believe the '85 Bears are the better team. And of course, they will have the usual flood of those who will always vote against the Raiders.

Here is what NFL.com says about the '85 Bears:

"The Bears went 18-1 and had the league's best defense because their front seven gave opposing quarterbacks little time to take seven-stop drops, etc. Chicago also led the NFL in rushing yards with 2,761...that's 172.6 yards per game! Oakland would have a tough time coping with the Bears offensive line and of course, Walter Payton."

The '76 Raiders were a complete team on both sides of the ball with several Hall of Fame players as well as players who should have been Hall of Famers. While Hall of Famer Gene Upshaw and three time Super Bowl winning center Dave Dalby opened run lanes for Mark Van Eeghen, Clarence Davis and Pete Banaszak, Hall of Famer Art Shell protected Ken Stabler's blindside allowing him to surgically carve up opposing defenses in the passing game with Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff, Cliff Branch and Hall of Famer Dave Casper.

On defense there were legendary players who struck fear into opposing offenses. Guys like John Matuszak, Phil Villapiano, Hall of Famer Ted Hendricks, Hall of Famer Willie Brown, George Atkinson, and Jack Tatum. And then you can add in All Pro punter Ray Guy.

The other side of the bracket features the '00 Belly-flopping Siragusas Ravens pitted against the '84 49ers. That 49ers team is deserving but there is no way that Ravens team should be here. At least three out of the four teams actually earned a spot in this group.

But while the Bears may be a worthy adversary to the '76 Raiders, fans need to see to it the Raiders take their rightful place atop the football world as the Greatest Team of All Time.

Click here to head over to NFL.com and vote.