The Oakland Raiders are a professional American football team based in Oakland, California. They play in the Western Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The Raiders began play in the American Football League (AFL) in 1960 and joined the NFL in the AFL–NFL merger of 1970.
The Raiders were formed in 1960, taking a spot in the newly formed AFL that had been vacated when the yet-unnamed Minneapolis franchise reneged on its agreement with the AFL and joined the NFL. The city of Oakland was granted their position in the league and inherited their inaugural draft selections, and the Raiders began play in the 1960 American Football League season. The team relocated to Los Angeles for thirteen seasons, 1982 to 1994. They returned to Oakland in 1995.
During their first three seasons, the Raiders struggled both on and off the field. In 1963, Al Davis was brought to the team as head coach and general manager, and from 1963 until 2002 the team had only seven losing seasons. As members of the AFL they won one league championship (1967), three division titles (1967, 1968, 1969), and appeared in one Super Bowl (II). Since joining the NFL when the leagues merged in 1970, the Raiders have won twelve division titles, three Super Bowls (XI, XV, XVIII), and one other conference title (winning the AFC before losing in Super Bowl XXXVII). Thirteen former players have been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
When founded in 1960, a "name the team" contest was held by the Oakland Tribune, and the winner was the Oakland Señors. After a few weeks of being the butt of local jokes (and accusations that the contest was fixed, as Chet Soda was fairly well known within the Oakland business community for calling his acquaintances "señor"), the fledgling team (and its owners) changed the team's name nine days later to the Oakland Raiders, which had finished third in the naming contest. The original team colors were black, gold and white. The now-familiar team emblem of a pirate (or "raider") wearing a football helmet was created, reportedly a rendition of actor Randolph Scott.
The original Raiders uniforms were black and gold, while the helmets were black with a white stripe and no logo. The team wore this design from 1960–1962. When Al Davis became head coach and general manager in 1963, he changed the team's color scheme to silver and black, and added a logo to the helmet. This logo is a shield that consists of the word "Raiders" at the top, crossed swords, and the head of a Raider wearing a football helmet. Over the years, it has undergone minor color modifications (such as changing the background from silver to black in 1964), but it has essentially remained the same.
The Raiders' current silver and black uniform design has essentially remained the same since it debuted in 1963. It consists of silver helmets, silver pants, and either black or white jerseys. The black jerseys have silver numbers, while the white jerseys have black numbers. Originally, the white jerseys had silver numbers with a thick black outline, but they were changed to black with a silver outline for the 1964 season. In 1970, the team used silver numerals for the season. However, in 1971 the team again displayed black numerals and have stayed that way ever since (with the exception of the 1994–95 season where they donned the 1963 helmets with the 1970 silver away numbers).
The Raiders wore their white jerseys at home for the first time in their history on September 28, 2008 against the San Diego Chargers. The decision was made by Lane Kiffin, who was coaching his final game for the Raiders, and was purportedly due to intense heat. However, the high temperature in Oakland that day was only 72 degrees.
For the 2009 season, the Raiders took part in the AFL Legacy Program and wore 1960's throwback jerseys for games against other teams who used to be a part of the AFL.