6. 1977: 11-3 (Lost in AFC Championship Game to Denver Broncos)
Even with a bit of a Super Bowl hangover, the 1977 Oakland Raiders were one of the best teams in the AFC that year. They went 11-3 and made the AFC Playoffs for the sixth straight year. While they did not win the AFC West that season, Oakland reached its impressive fifth straight AFC Championship and sixth in an eight-year span.
Even with Ken Stabler at quarterback, the 1977 Raiders were all about pounding the rock. The set an NFL record for most rushing attempts in a 14-game season at a staggering 681 carries. Denver might have been the No. 1 seed in the AFC that year with easily its best season up to that point, but Oakland was menacing coming off its first Super Bowl victory.
Oakland would upset the Baltimore Colts on the road in the divisional round, 37-31. The Colts would force a second overtime with a last-second field goal kick. However, future Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end Dave Casper would find pay dirt in the second overtime to send the Raiders to the AFC Championship.
There, the Raiders would meet the division rival Broncos. Oakland would sadly fall in Mile High by just a field goal, 20-17. Denver would advance to its first Super Bowl in franchise history, only to get throttled by the Dallas Cowboys 27-10 in Super Bowl XII. Even in a year where Oakland wasn’t on top of its game, the Raiders almost cruised to another Super Bowl. For that reason, this is probably the best Raiders team to never play for the Lombardi Trophy.