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Al Davis

Throwback Thursday: Giants, Raiders were uncommon opponents for years



The New York Giants will host the Las Vegas Raiders this Sunday at MetLife Stadium in a inter-conference matchup that was once a rarity.

The two clubs will meet for the just the 14th time since the 1970 AFL/NFL merger. For some reason, the league kept the two teams apart the first three seasons after the merger.

There were — and remain — no common threads between the Giants and Raiders. The Giants were an NFL flagship franchise while the Raiders were the renegades of the AFL behind coach, general manager, commissioner and owner Al Davis.


There was one possible connection as Davis, a Brooklyn native who graduated from Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn in the 1940s, might have been a Giants fan growing up. That has never been corroborated.

There was an NFL team in Brooklyn from 1930-45 known by several names (Dodgers, Tigers, Yanks) that Davis could have supported as a young man. That is also unknown.

Again, those ties are blurry, leaving the history between these two clubs as thin as histories come. Davis’ first job in football was as a coach at Adelphi University on Long Island in the early 1950s.

One thing that we do know about Davis, who attended Syracuse University, was that he was fan of how the New York Baseball teams were run back in the day.

“I always wanted to take an organization and make it the best in sports. I admired the New York Yankees of George Weiss for their power, intimidation, fear, and big people. I admired the Brooklyn Dodgers under Branch Rickey for their speed and player development. I felt there was no reason the two approaches couldn’t be combined into one powerful organization,” Davis once said, via the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


The first meeting between the Giants and Raiders was in 1973, when the Raiders were in Oakland and in their heyday under head coach John Madden.

The Raiders routed the visiting Giants, 42-0. Oakland outgained the Giants 439-185. Both teams committed four turnovers. The only difference is that Ken Stabler made the Giants pay. Norm Snead did not make Oakland pay.

They did not meet again until 1980, one of the worst seasons in Giants’ history. The Raiders won that one, too, 33-17, at Giants Stadium. In 1983, the Raiders beat the Giants, 27-11, out in Oakland.

Since 1986, they meet every four years or so with each team winning five times. The closest the two came to clashing in the Super Bowl was in 1990 and again in 2000 when both teams were in their respective conference’s championship games.

The Giants went on to the Super Bowl in those seasons beating San Francisco and Minnesota but the Raiders lost both times — 51-3 to Buffalo in 1990 and then 16-3 to Baltimore in 2000.


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