The Raiders seem to be finally living up to the words of late owner Al Davis: “Just win, baby!”
Coming off the bye week, Oakland is 7-2 in its best start since the 2001 season, when the Raiders also won seven of their first nine games.
The team played its first “Sunday Night Football” game since 2006, a 30-20 home victory over the defending champion and AFC West-rival Denver Broncos on Nov. 6 and is 5-0 on the road for the first time since 1977.
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Now for the bad news, Raiders fans: A 7-2 record has not led to a Super Bowl title for the Silver and Black in nearly 40 years.
Here’s a look at the last five times the Raiders have won at least seven of their first nine games:
How season ended
L, 16-13 at New England (AFC divisional)
L, 16-3 vs. Baltimore (AFC championship)
L, 13-7 at Seattle (AFC wild card)
L, 17-14 vs. N.Y. Jets (AFC divisional)
L, 20-17 at Denver (AFC championship)
* Strike caused nine-game regular season
The last time the Raiders reached the Super Bowl was in the 2002-03 season, following a 5-4 start. Oakland lost in Super Bowl XXXVII, falling 48-21 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in San Diego.
In the Raiders’ Super Bowl-winning seasons, only once did they win seven of their first nine games. In 1976-77, Oakland went 13-1 in the regular season en route to its first NFL title. The Raiders went 6-3 when they won it in 1980-81 and 1983-84.
Oakland seeks its first postseason appearance since the Super Bowl loss in 2003. Could the team buck another trend and hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the first time in 33 years? The quest for a playoff bid and beyond resumes Monday in Mexico City, when the Raiders host the Houston Texans on Monday night.
The good news? The past four Super Bowl champions (Broncos, Patriots, Seahawks, Ravens) won at least seven of their first nine games.