Were the Oakland Raiders the Best Team of the 1970s?

The best team of the 70’s?  That was the Pittsburgh Steelers wasn’t it? 

Like everything else, that opinion is subjective, and one Oakland Raider fan begs to differ.

The 70’s was the Golden Age of Raider football, and no other team in the AFC went the whole decade without a losing season.  In the NFC only Dallas achieved this feat. But the league was different then, not full of "parity" as it is now, and some teams were dominant year in, year out. So it was with the Raiders.

There were no personal conduct policies, no fines for helmet-to-helmet contact on receivers and quarterbacks, and the "hook" was still legal.  Back then the Raiders had a strong identity, they were the renegades of the NFL and whilst they all lived hard, they played like hell on Sunday.

The team everyone loved to hate.

Oakland went to six AFC Championship games between 1971 and 1979. More than Miami and the same as Pittsburgh.

But I hear you, they only went to one Superbowl (which they won), and Pittsburgh won four.

That may be, but let’s examine that a little more closely.

In a 1972 AFC playoff game, Franco Harris picked a last second desperation pass by Terry Bradshaw off his toes after it was deflected by the Steelers Frenchy Farqua, and rumbled 35 yards for the winning score as time expired.

Questions over the legality of the reception (if it hit Farqua then it wasn’t legal), whether Harris caught it before it touched the ground (no camera shot actually shows an angle on which that can be judged), and whether or not Steelers tight end John McMakin illegally blocked Phil Villapiano in pursuit, remain.

In any event, it must be considered an all time freak play whether it was legal or not.  Without it, the Raiders had a good shot to go on and win the Superbowl that year.

A similar story in 1978 AFC Championship...

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