Day of the Dolphins?


Losing 37 of their last 50 games has the Raiders in danger of falling into second place on the back of their own media guide.

Proudly displayed under the slogan “The Greatness of the Raiders Will Continue in its Future” are three Super Bowl trophies, a Raiders helmet and a list of the “top professional football records (1963-2005):

Raiders .602

Miami Dolphins (since 1966) .599.

Dallas Cowboys .592

It’s a standing the Raiders have fought valiantly to maintain through creative use of history, statistics and percentages.

First, note that the Raiders’ history doesn’t begin until Al Davis arrived, vaporizing a 9-33 record from 1960 through 1962. In the silver and black universe, life began when when Davis came aboard in 1963 as coach and general manager, with the Raiders going 10-4.

Eddie Erdelatz and Red Conkwright, the pre-Davis coaches, do not count.

The Raiders also have a different way of calculating winning percentage. According to the NFL Record and Fact Book, winning percentage is calculated by assigning half a win and half a loss for each tie.

Since 1963, the Raiders opened the season with a 385-254-11 record_ which according to the NFL is a .6007 percentage, rounded up to .601. Remove the 11 ties altogether and the percentage is .6025, which in theory should be rounded up to .603. The Raiders apparently settled for the middle ground and .602.

The Miami Dolphins are 1-2, the Raiders 0-2 heading into this weekend’s games. The Dolphins play the winless Houston Texans, Oakland hosts the winless Browns.

If Miami were to beat Houston and the Raiders lose to the Browns, Miami would be 364-244-4, a .59803 percentage. Oakland would be 385-287-11, a .59800 percentage. Both would be rounded to .598, but Miami would have a microscopic lead. By the end of the year, the Dolphins could forge a more substantial margin.

This could force the Raiders to again alter the guide’s back cover.

The Raiders used to bill themselves as “Professional Sports’ Winningest Team,” putting their win percentage of .632 on the 1998 guide ahead of the Montreal Canadiens (.631), Los Angeles Lakers (.628) and Baltimore Orioles (.548).

But the 1999 guide presented problem. With the Raiders going 8-8 in 1998 and the 1997-98 “Showtime” Lakers ripping off a 61-win season, Oakland was no longer on top. The back of the 1999 guide featured only a photo of the three Super Bowl Trophies.

The standings came back in 2000, with only football teams listed. The fictional “lead” in those standings could end on Sunday.

Since “Team of the Decades” seems to have become the organization’s latest favorite _ based on being one of three teams to play in championship games in five decades _ it’s worth examining the club’s record and winning percentage in each decade, and only Al Davis Raider teams need apply:






Draw your own conclusions as to whether “The Greatness of the Raiders is in its future.”




















Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer