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Silver Minings: 1974 Raiders team remembered as great all-time squad

It’s considered one of the best teams not to make the Super Bowl

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John Madden, Oakland Raiders coach, during an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Municipal Stadium on October 6, 1994. The Raiders defeated the Browns 40-24.
Raiders in Cleveland in October, 1974
backup Quarterback, and #00 Jim Otto Center. (Photo by Ross Lewis/Getty Images

In these parts, the 1974 Oakland Raiders have long been considered the best team in franchise history not to win a Super Bowl.

And, the truth is, that squad, that went 12-2 in the regular season and and lost at home to the eventual Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game 24-13, might have been as good as any of the Raiders’ three Super Bowl winning teams.

Recently, ranked the best teams in NFL history to never make the Super Bowl. The 1974 Raiders were tied with the 1990 San Francisco 49ers. The 1998 Minnesota Vikings, which went 15-1, is considered the best team never to make the Super Bowl.

I once asked 1974 key member, linebacker Phil Villapiano, if I was correct in choosing that team as the best in franchise history never to win it all. This is what he said:

“Oh yeah, that’s the team, that’s the choice,” said Villapiano, who made the Pro Bowl that season. “We were pretty good that year. We might have been as good as we were in ’76 when we won it all.”

The 1974 Raiders won nine games in a row after opening the season with a one-point loss at Buffalo on Monday Night Football. Their two defeats in the regular season were by a combined four points.

Last year, when wide receiver Cliff Branch was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it set a record for the most offensive teams elected into Canton by any one team with seven. The other six are linemen Jim Otto, Gene Upshaw and Art Shell (1989), receiver Fred Biletnikoff (1988), tight end Dave Casper (2002) quarterback Ken Stabler (2016). The other Hall of Famers from that team are defensive back Willie Brown, punter Ray Guy and head coach John Madden.

What a group and frankly, could have easily put this team on the top of its list.

In other Raiders’ links:

  • Mock time: Check out who the Las Vegas Review-Journal has going to the Raiders at No. 7.
  • QB plan: The Las Vegas Review-Journal has an update on the Raiders’ search for a new quarterback.
  • Going for No. 1 pick? The Athletic looks at whether the Raiders could acquire the No. 1 overall draft pick from the Chicago Bears.
  • Bussin’ With The Boys: Raiders’ GM Dave Ziegler appeared on the popular podcast.
  • Miller gets some love: PFF had Raiders’ left tackle Kolton Miller ranked as the 63rd best player in the NFL last season.