How the Oakland Raiders got their Logo and Colors

Mired in a sea of controversy arose a team destined for greatness.  Revered by their fans and hated by their enemies, the Oakland Raiders entire existence seemed to rise from the depths of “Davy Jones’ Locker.” However, once the ship was moored and the raiding party had plundered, the swashbucklers of the west would forever be known as the Raiders.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Franchise of the American Football League (AFL) fled to the National Football League (NFL) to become the Minnesota Vikings in 1960.  As a result, the AFL was short one team.  With Los Angeles Chargers Owner Barron Hilton threatening to pull his team from the league unless the AFL adopted a second West Coast team, the City of Oakland, CA, was awarded the Oakland Franchise.

In order to determine what the team name would be, the Oakland Tribune held a “Name the Team” contest.  The winning team name was the Oakland Señores.  This, in part, was due to Oakland’s large Hispanic Community.  However, the team became a local laughingstock, because everyone knew that the team’s initial owner, Chet Soda, called his acquaintances Señor.  Many believed that the contest was fixed.  This was not a good start for a fledgling franchise.

AFL Team Owners held a meeting nine days later and adopted the third place winning team name, the Oakland Raiders.  The initial color scheme for the Oakland Raiders was black and gold.  That’s correct Raider Nation, Pittsburgh Steelers colors.  The first team logo was a pirate face with a black helmet atop a yellow football and two crossing swords.


Thankfully, in 1964 the team colors were changed by General Manager/Head Coach Al Davis to the beloved silver and black.  Davis also changed the team logo.  The face is the likeness of Actor Randolph Scott, with a patch over his right eye.  Davis changed the color of the helmet from black to silver, and this sat atop two crossed swords.  The shield background changed from silver to black, and just the team name “Raiders” was added above the head.  With only slight modifications, this has stood as the Raiders logo and team colors for nearly 50 years.

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Tags: AFL Al Davis Minnesota Vikins NFL Oakland Raiders

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