1967 FOOTBALL SIM: RAIDERS GO 16-00

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My first Oakland Raiders memories included quarterback Daryle Lamonica, glue-fingered (literally) receiver Fred Belitnikoff and center Jim Otto, whose unique numeric selection made him one of the most recognized offensive lineman of all-time.

A native of Wausau, Wisconsin, Otto became a territorial selection for the AFL’s perspective Minneapolis franchise. When the owners accepted the NFL’s charter instead, Otto’s rights transferred to the replacement Oakland franchise, and 00 would go on to play 15 seasons and endure 74 trips (anyone still counting?) to the operating room.

In this 1967 sim, 00 also came to mean something else…

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The Raiders first came of age in 1967, a prequel to the franchises legendary success of future years. The team’s lone regular season loss came to the New York Jets in October. The team was the first to truly live by Al Davis’s philosophy of a vertical attack. The team scored 468 points during the season, they exceed 50 points twice and hit or exceeded 40 points on four other occasions, including the 40-14 rout of the Houston Oilers in the AFL Championship.

However the ’67 Raiders are simply remembered for being methodically beaten 33-14 by the Green Bay Packers in Vince Lombardi’s last game as coach.

In the sim, the Raiders complete the regular season undefeated and ultimately win the AFL/NFL Championship with a 22-14 win over the Cleveland Browns.

On the NFL side, the playoffs provided chaotic due to a realignment into four four-team divisions (Capitol, Century, Central, Coastal). The NFL’s best two teams, the Baltimore Colts and Los Angeles Rams, both resided in the Coastal.

In real-life, the Rams won the division title by defeating the Colts in the seasons final week. Both teams finished with identical 11-1-2 records.

The first shock to the 1967 NFL sim came when the Atlanta Falcons (0-14 the previous sim season) defeated the Colts in Week 1. The Falcons would win a second time the following week. Meanwhile Baltimore ran the table and met the Rams in Week 14 with both teams at 12-1. In the sim the Colts win, only to lose to the Packers in the Division Playoff. The Packers in turn lost to the Browns in the NFL Championship, a rematch of the two teams who played for the 1967 Championship.

To reduce time, not to mention that it would be practically impossible to find the weather conditions of all pro football games over the past 50 years, I ran the WhatIfSports simulations under default weather conditions. I did sim Browns/Packers under Ice Bowl conditions (-15 with medium wind) 20 times, the Browns won 11 of the 20 games.

The other question is how the Raiders would do against the rest of the NFL, so I played the Raiders against all 16 NFL teams. Oakland went 13-3 in those sims, losing to both the Colts and Rams by one point and upset by the 49ers by three points. Many of the other games the Raiders won handily.

The data suggests the Raiders to indeed be amongst the best teams in all of pro football in 1967. Because of the 33-14 loss, the second AFL/NFL Championship narrative is viewed as anti-climatic following the Packers Ice Bowl victory with Lombardi literally ridden off into the sunset.

But in this sim, Perfectville resides on the East Bay.

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