The Raiders held a moment of silence for Myra Kraft prior to Sunday's game against the Patriots in Oakland. It was the last tangible connection between Raiders owner Al Davis and a Patriots organization with which he has been linked for nearly a half century.
Davis, 82, died Saturday, just six days after honoring the late wife of New England owner Robert Kraft. That sign of respect embodied a connection that has taken many twists and turns since the 1960s.
Davis was the AFL commissioner in the late 1960s, when he spearheaded the union between his league and the NFL, helping his Raiders and nine AFL teams, including the Patriots, merge with the NFL. From there, it's been a heck of a ride, baby.
In the 1976 postseason, referee Ben Dreith called Patriots defensive lineman Ray "Sugar Bear" Hamilton for a bogus roughing-the-passer penalty on Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler. The Raiders would have had a fourth down, but the penalty gave them an automatic first down and allowed them to continue a drive in which Stabler scored the game-winning touchdown. The Raiders later won the Super Bowl.
In the 1978 preseason, Raiders defensive back Jack Tatum unleashed a vicious hit that paralyzed Patriots wide receiver Darryl Stingley, who died in 2007 due to complications from quadriplegia. The hit heightened awareness over player safety and also caused a strange string of public responses from Tatum that villified him in New England.
In 1998, Bill Belichickinterviewed with Davis for a couple days for Oakland's opening at head coach, which Belichick last week called a "great experience." The Raiders hired Jon Gruden instead.
It's interesting to think of the chain of events that ensued after Belichick's interview with the Raiders. He was then given a raise by the Jets, who also deemed him the coach-in-waiting for when Bill Parcells stepped down. When Belichick declined the job in 2000 to take over the Patriots, all hell broke loose. The Patriots had to surrender a first-round draft pick in 2000 in their agreement to pry Belichick from the Jets, who used that pick as an asset to trade up and select defensive lineman Shaun Ellis. A year later, Ellis chased Drew Bledsoe from the pocket before he was badly injured by a Mo Lewis hit. That soon led to…
In in the 2001 postseason, the Patriots beat the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game at Foxboro Stadium. Cornerback Charles Woodson sacked quarterback Tom Brady, who lost the football with less than two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. It was initially called a fumble, but referee Walt Coleman ruled it an incompletion after a replay review. Shortly after, Adam Vinatieri kicked the game-tying field goal and the game-winner in overtime. It was the first playoff victory of Brady's career, and it sparked the Patriots' first Super Bowl run.
In 2007, the Raiders traded wide receiver Randy Moss to the Patriots for a fourth-round draft pick. Moss caught 259 passes for 3,904 yards and 50 touchdowns in three-plus seasons with the Patriots. He set an NFL record with 23 touchdown receptions in 2007 and put an exclamation point on a Hall of Fame-worthy résumé.
In 2009, the Patriots traded defensive lineman Richard Seymour to the Raiders for a 2011 first-round draft pick, which was used on tackle Nate Solder. Seymour, Belichick's first ever first-round pick with the Patriots, signed a contract in February that made him the NFL's highest-paid defensive player.