Raiders on Thanksgiving


Radio play-by-play announcer Bill King called him “Old Man Willie” during a memorable 75-yard interception return in Super Bowl XI to put away a 32-14 win over the Minnesota Vikings at the Rose Bowl.

That was at Super Bowl XI in Pasadena.

So at age 68, and a veteran of 204 games, it’s not fair to assume Raiders assistant coach Willie Brown will correctly remember all of the details of the last time the Raiders played on Thanksgiving Day.

“It wasn’t fun because they jumped out on us,” Brown said this week. “They had us 14-0 at halftime, I believe that’s right. Fred Biletnikoff was having a great game, especially in the second half. I remember that. We bounced back, came back, tried to do what we could do. It was a tough game.”

No problem. Thirty-nine years is a long time.

Dating myself, sad to say, I remember the game differently, with the Raiders taking a quick lead and then having it evaporate.

It was the first year of the AFL-NFL merger, when teams from the two leagues played against each other in the regular season. Pride among AFL players was huge against NFL member teams.

Brown was half right about how the day worked out. The Raiders jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on 23- and 21-yard touchdown passes to Biletnikoff. The rest of the day at Tiger Stadium, where the Lions would play until 1974, was dominated by quarterback Greg Landry as Detroit prevailed 28-14 before 56, 597 fans.

Admission: I remember the Raiders taking the lead on the Lamonica-to-Biletnikoff passes. I remember quarterback Greg Landry having a great day for the Lions. I remember little else. Might have been throwing a football around with other neighborhood kids in front of my house in Hayward for all I know once they fell behind.

Brown recalls being surprised he even played in the game. Brought to Oakland in 1967 in a trade with the Denver Broncos, Brown was switched from wide receiver to bump-and-run cornerback by Al Davis.

The bumps had begun to catch up to him at that point.

“I separated my shoulder two weeks before that. We were getting ready to play back there and we had a couple of corners get hurt,” Brown said. “So I had them tape my shoulder and I was dressed and everything just in case. Next thing you know, two weeks after operating on my shoulder, I was back in the game, playing. I played pretty much the second quarter in that game.”

Center Jim Otto, like Brown a Hall of Famer, conceded, “That was a long time ago. They say when you get older, you lose recall.”

Otto remembers the game being at Tiger Stadium, and recalls the quick 14-0 lead against an NFL team the Raiders desperately wanted to beat.

“It was always special to several of us guys who had been AFL players for so long,” Otto said. “For a long time, we won our share of those games.”

Otto said it was a big deal, because the game was nationally televised so his family could see it in Wisconsin. He remembers the field being in bad shape because “grass doesn’t grow there late in the year.”

With the pride of someone who won far more than he lost, Otto said, “I can still remember how we handled the defensive line, stuff like that. We just couldn’t win the damn game.”

Otto’s recollection of the particulars?

“I know we dropped a couple of passes that could have been touchdowns,” Otto said. “We jumped out ahead of them right away, then got stymied, and they got those scores to beat us. We had some problems hanging on to the ball.”

According to the Raiders media guide, they played four times on Thanksgiving before the merger. They beat the Broncos 26-10 in 1963, lost to the Bills 31-10 in 1966, beat the Chiefs 44-22 in 1967 and beat the Bills 13-10 in 1968.

En route to Dallas today . . . hope to post later with relayed practice updates before the Raiders leave . . .


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • 4evaRaider Says:
    November 25th, 2009 at 10:01 am
    Dogg Good Morning!!!

    I had 2 pick up daughter just when we started talkin Guitar God Gibbons.That bwont happen again as she gets her very own 1st car 2day!!!

    But yeah Govt.Mule and Billy sound GREAT together,imo thankx Bro =)”


    I have so many live recordings of so many bands, including Mule and ZZ Top. You will have to let me know anytime that you are looking for something, anything. Chances are I have it and it would be my pleasure to hook up a buddy around the holidays. Let me know.

    So when are we having some of your burrito’s? Sounds so good right now.

  • VanHeathen Says:
    November 25th, 2009 at 10:02 am
    Hey Dogg, thanks for bringing up the ‘Improved Warriors”…Getting rid of Jack, has inspired the guys who care to become a team. It’s almost EXACTLY what the raiders looked like lst Sunday, a team free of a guy that was mentally bringing them down…i really wish it wasn’t like this, but it is….”

    Us Warrior fans need to stick together, we are a dying breed.

  • I’m out for a while. Headed home, I will be back later.

    Travel safe Dakota.

    Have a good day y’all!

  • 4evaRaider

    4evaRaider Says:
    November 25th, 2009 at 10:33 am

    I will Dogg I WILL!!!

  • Jerry, welcome to Texas!

  • VanHeathen

    Cheers Dogg!
    At least both these teams are fun to watch again…

  • 4evaRaider

    Cloudy and rainy in fla…Open stadium in Texas tomorrow???

  • 4evaRaider

    yeah I believe Alti Taylor ran wild on us that game I hated that game

  • raiderpete

    Happy Thanksgiving Jerry, thanks for the updates and choosing to go to the game.

  • 4evaRaider

    or Mel Farr it was a long time ago

  • Roof should be open. It is supposed to be pretty cool tomorrow, so they may close it for comfort. Wish I was going to be there.

  • 4evaRaider

    the players prolly prefer the roof open,imo…If its sunny and brisk couldnt ask 4 more.Football in the Fall!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Raider O
    Stay focused, stop worrying about firing Cable. Dakota got that part handled.
    Yeah, he’s driving Cable off a cliff & I hope Al’s in the trunk!!1 lol

  • 4evaRaider

    Sounds like the holidays are happening just at the right time 4 Dakota this year lol

  • 4evaRaider

    Stella Run!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • sierrabeachbum

    my memory of that game is of Otto catching a deflected pass and rumbling like only a lineman can…can’t believe he didn’t mention that to you while you were talking about that game

  • McFadden gets two TDs in his 6 carries and 4 catches against the Cowgirls on Thursday!

    Yeah baby!

  • new englandraider

    dakota? 2 td’s??????

  • 6hrs to drive to Kerney is a long way to go for such a miserable town(& State) but you’ll be indoors mostly watching the Raiders win & Donkeys lose. Did I mention I have $80 on the Giants?

  • That is right, two TDs for McFadden despite fat ass Cable always putting his best little buddy Fargas in near the end zone.

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    As I recall, Shanahan’s contract with Bowlen specifically stated that if approached for for a coaching job, he must not refuse to interview or his contract and the $7 mil a year would be voided. Not sure if that also included a GM position.

  • For those of you still holding onto the Gruden back to the Raiders dream, well Adam Schefter reported that Gruden’s contract will not allow him to coach in the NFL in 2010.

    I don’t know if that means he CAN coach college (ND)!

  • Thec07

    Dakota Says:
    November 25th, 2009 at 11:33 am
    That is right, two TDs for McFadden despite fat ass Cable always putting his best little buddy Fargas in near the end zone.



    Reminds of Giligans Island… Cable is the Skipper…
    Fargas is Gilligan…..

  • new englandraider

    actually dakota, it is time for mcfadden to have a very good game. im hopeful buddy.

  • Plunketthead

    Heres hoping Cable provides stability to the team and gets us back to 8-8 next year.
    I am hoping for a big win tomorrow and a strong finish to the season.

  • Thec07

    In spite of Mr. Davis inepitude, I hope we smash the cowboys…

  • New Englandraider,

    The problem is…he can’t have a good game if he doesn’t get any carries. Yes he fumbled away an opportunity to close the gap in the Broncos game, but doesn’t he deserve another shot? He hasn’t had a chance to carry the ball this season behind a healthy offensive line and with an NFL QB.

    We are still working on the QB part, but the o-line is finally healthy…lets see what the kid can do with more than 6 carries for fuks sake.

  • new englandraider

    whats the word on seymour? is he playing?

  • Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    I am outta here.

  • new englandraider

    dakota, dude i hope he does well man. i have 3 #20 jerseys. blk, wht, and the throwback. be nice to see him go for 100+ all purpose yds anyway

  • Thec07

    Dakota, be good, and safe….

  • new englandraider

    sure am glad i never got a dhb jersey

  • VanHeathen

    Cheers Dakota!

    hope DMac goes OFF tomorrow and helps us win…

  • Jerry

    Where did you get the idea Al Davis switched Willie Brown from WR to CB?

    Willie Brown’s career with the Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders spanned 16 seasons and 204 games from 1963 through 1978. Even though the Broncos were not successful on the playing field during Willie’s four years in Denver, the 6-1, 195-pound cornerback was already an established star by the time he was traded to the Raiders in 1967.

  • new englandraider

    ok fellas, im out. hope yall hava gr8 turkey day. and lets fugg those cowgals up. and please dhb, CATCH THE BALL

  • Jerry

    Willie Brown invented the bump n run before he ever met Al Davis.

    Are you shillin for Davis too?

  • kidseven

    Luke Lawton plays hard, but please, don’t waste any of the likely precious 15 passes we’ll complete on Lawton. Find some creative way to drop screens and short stuff to Bush, DMAC, DHB and JLH. If we’re going to play west coast then let’s go ahead and play west coast.

  • 4evaRaider

    At least Grads will know where Lawton is supposed 2B

  • 4evaRaider

    Lawton is 6′ 240 a good quick FB,imo.lets give him a chance along with Dmac too

  • Quick drive-thru, to wish all you knuckle heads a Happy Thanksgiving!

    And when the clock hits :00, we have more points than them effing Cowturds!

  • 4evaRaider

    U2!!! 909!!!

  • 4evaRaider


  • Florida Pete

    Dakota Says:
    November 25th, 2009 at 9:34 am
    Boy, I can feel the love today!

    I do participate in the cooking of the Turkey…we have a drink or two, hook the propane up to the fryer and watch it get hot…while having another drink or two…and then we put the Turkey in and drink while watching football for an hour or an hour and a half…then we take the Turkey out and pour another drink for dinner.

    Real difficult cooking lol.


    you forgot to mention the full body massage you give the bird before popping it in the cooker…

  • 4evaRaider

    you dont have to tell us this Pete…

    Umm Happy Thanks-Giving !!!

  • 4evaRaider

    donde don don