Raiders quarterback Jim Plunkett is arguably one of the few players in franchise history who achieved highs with both the Oakland Raiders as well as the Los Angeles Raiders, winning Super Bowls in both cities during his legendary career with the team.
That makes Plunkett a valuable firsthand source of knowledge when it comes to the experience of playing in both cities, which makes it unsurprising that in the wake of Marcus Allen’s pro-Los Angeles comments about the Raiders current stadium situation that the former quarterback of both cities would be asked to weigh in on the situation on ESPN’s Outside the Lines.
Here is the full quote of what Plunkett had to say about his experiences in both cities:
“Oakland was a very crazy place to play a football game. The fans came out in droves and filled the stadium. Everyone’s heard about the Raider Nation and it’s really that way. It’s a small community, somewhat similar to Green Bay where everybody turned out, supported the team no matter what. They had very few losing seasons in Oakland.
“L.A. was a much different story. It was almost kind of a fair-weather situation. As I said earlier, when we initially got there, we won right off the bat. We had 88, 92 thousand people. We filled that stadium at times. But when things turned kind of sour, (and) we weren’t winning that many games later on, it was very difficult to get fans into the stadium. As was mentioned, there are so many other things to do in Los Angeles. You almost have to produce a winner right away to entice these people.”
Plunkett notes that initially Los Angeles was a success for the franchise, which he found out later waned off as the team began to struggle and miss the playoffs more and more empty seats filled the cavernous Los Angeles Coliseum. That is a problem that sometimes happens in Oakland now as “Mount Davis” has been tarped off in recent seasons to avoid blackouts for the Raiders who have struggled to sell out the upper deck add on during a ten year losing period. However Plunkett does make a good point as the Raiders struggles as a franchise over the past decade doesn’t exactly guarantee immediate success if they do rebuild, making it a hard sell in a town filled with other entertainment options. Just ask the Los Angeles Clippers about the difference between being a winner and a loser in Los Angeles, they could tell you that things are a lot different when you are winning in Hollywood.
That doesn’t mean that a potential rebirth of NFL football in the city would go the same way as it did in the early 90’s in Los Angeles, but Plunkett remains concerned about how Los Angeles would support a losing franchise compared to the support Oakland has currently given a franchise that hasn’t won in a decade plus stretch.