Raiders most surprising seasons by decade, 1960-2010s
The 1972 Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders kicked off their NFL life in a big way in 1970, winning the AFC West, beating the Miami Dolphins in the Divisional Round, and eventually losing to the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC title game. George Blanda, 43-years old at the time, led the team on some miraculous comeback victories, and would eventually be named the AP Athlete of the Year.
In 1971, the Raiders could not replicate that kind of success, as they lost out on the division title to the Kansas City Chiefs, and would miss the playoffs, something they would not do again until the 1978 NFL season. During the 1971 NFL Draft, the team brought in some cornerstone players, adding Jack Tatum and Phil Villapiano to their defense, and Clarence Davis to the offense.
Those additions proved to be huge, as the team would go on to finish the season with a six-game winning streak after starting out at 4-3-1. Oakland would win the AFC West, starting a string of five straight division titles, and while the season ended on a sour note, losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Immaculate Reception game, it set the stage for the team to become the dominant figure in the AFC for a decade.
Marv Hubbard led a dominating rushing attack with over 1,100 yards, and Charlie Davis and the aforementioned Davis would combine for 1,000 yards as well. Fred Biletnikoff had 802 yards receiving, and a playmaking defense racked up 35 interceptions and forced 31 fumbles.