Raider History: Vikings Led to Oakland Landing AFL Team…

The Minnesota Vikings and Las Vegas Raiders are taking advantage of their bye week before their Sunday, December 10 meeting at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Paradoxically, if it weren’t for the Vikings, the Raiders might not be around today. Minnesota was intended to be one of the eight founding teams of the American Football League in its first season of play in 1960. However, the already-established National Football League intervened and persuaded the potential Twin Cities owners to choose the NFL expansion franchise that would eventually become the Vikings. The Oakland Tribune’s sports editor George Ross and sportswriter Scotty Stirling were informed of reports that the AFL was considering Oakland as its eighth club, and they produced a number of stories that helped make it happen.

George and I both wrote stories about how Oakland would be a great place for a pro football team and he had a lot more leverage than I did because of his position,” said Stirling, who became the first Raiders beat writer for the Tribune. “I would like to think that I did my part, but it was mostly George, and I simply was happy to tag along.”

Stirling later became public relations director of the Raiders and later their general manager under Managing General Partner Al Davis before becoming general manager of the Golden State Warriors and later assistant to Commissioner Larry O’Brien of the National Basketball Association. Said Ross: “We knew the city of Oakland would support a pro football team and were simply happy to help make it happen. Not only did we write stories about that happening, but Scotty and I told everyone involved that Oakland would be a great place for a team. And, fortunately, we turned out to be exactly right because this city and he entire East Bay really took to the Raiders.” As a side note, Ross and Stirling also contributed to the founding of Fantasy Football along with the first AFL owners and sportswriters who covered their teams.

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