8. 1968: 12-2 (Lost in AFL Championship Game to New York Jets)
The 1968 AFL season was one of the most significant in football history. It would help legitimize the perceived second-tier professional football league, enough to the point where the NFL and AFL would merge two years later in 1970. This 1968 campaign was also one of the better years in Raiders franchise history.
Oakland would go 12-2 to win the AFL West and get back to the AFL Championship Game for the second straight season. This season, the Raiders would develop quite the rivalry with the New York Jets. The two teams would meet in Week 10 in what is know known as The Heidi Game. Oakland would come out on top in The Heidi Game, 43-32. These two teams would meet in the AFL Championship Game at the end of the season.
The Raiders would be upset by the Jets, 27-23 in New York after handling the rival Kansas City Chiefs in the first round of the AFL Playoffs. New York would use this momentum under star quarterback Joe Namath to guarantee a victory for Gang Green in Super Bowl III. Namath had to have known that the team that his Jets beat were better than the Baltimore Colts New York would be going up against.
Losing to the Jets in the AFL Championship was not ideal, as back-to-back Super Bowl appearances would have been nice for the Silver and Black. However in hindsight, knowing that the Raiders were a worthy adversary of the Jets helped force the AFL/NFL merger in two years. Kansas City would beat the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV. Things may not have ended well between head coach John Rauch and owner Al Davis, but the Silver and Black would be on their way in the 1970s for sure.