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Raiders history is center of CBS hit sitcom ‘Mom’

“This is absolutely a living tribute to the great Raiders of old,” the show’s executive producer Nick Bakay told us

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NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Raiders
Jim Plunkett
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The Raider Nation is everywhere, even on primetime TV.

Viewers of the CBS hit comedy Mom are well versed with the Plunkett family, led by lovable recovering alcoholic (played by Allison Janney).

Yes, that Plunkett. Your Jim Plunkett (pictured above in December 2019). Then, there’s a (John) Madden, a (Sebastian) Janikowski, (Ken) Stabler), Fred (Biletnikoff), (Marv) Hubbard, (Dave) Casper, (Warren) Wells and (Pete) Banaszak. Coincidence? No, not at all.

I was determined to find out why there was such a constant Raiders references on Mom, so I called CBS and tracked down the show’s executive producer, Nick Bakay.

“This is absolutely a living tribute to the great Raiders of old,” Bakay told Silver and Black Pride in a phone interview last week. “If you’re going to love the characters you’re writing about, you’re going to have to name them after things you love.”

Bakay was thrilled to discuss this subject. No one has ever caught on to the Raiders’ name connection on the show.

“I’ve been waiting eight years for someone from the Raider Nation to emerge and get this,” he said. “It’s so fun.”

How did this Raiders’ connection happen?

More than eight years ago when the show’s team was writing the pilot, creator Chuck Lorre and Bakay decided to name several characters after players from a sports franchise. It became apparent that the Raiders was the right team to honor.

“I said ‘yeah, man, let’s do the Raiders,’” Bakay said. “They were such a vibrant group of characters and there’s some great names. It’s a great fit.”

While Bakay grew up in Buffalo and is a huge Bills’ fan, he admits that the Raiders were his “default playoff team” in the late 1960s and ‘70s when the Bills stunk.

Bakay promised that future Mom characters will be named after Raiders notables. Among the possible names next to be honored include Phil Villapiano and Ted Hendricks.

There is one name that Bakay has long tried to figure out how to include ... he challenged me to guess it, and I nailed it first time!

“Yes, Otis Sistrunk,” Bakay laughed. “That’s the greatest name of all-time!”

Bakay loves all the names of the characters, but his favorites may be Casper — because he was a big fan of the Hall of Fame tight end — and Janikowksi, because it is also a nod to the huge Polish population in Buffalo.

“It’s been a fun ride with these names,” Bakay said. “The great old Raiders deserve it.”

If you want to see the characters named after these Raiders’ greats in action, then Mom airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. PT on CBS.