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History of Tailgating in Oakland

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 History of Tailgating in Oakland

Raider fans from all generations share love for the team (Credit, Kristina Ruiz-Healy)

For Oakland Raiders fans, tailgating has literally been a moveable feast. Since the team first took the field in 1960, Raiders tailgaters have downed beers and chowed on burgers before home games at five venues in three California cities.

During the inaugural season in 1960, Raiders fans actually tailgated in San Francisco. Why? Because San Francisco’s Kezar Stadium was the Raiders’ first home. Meanwhile, the rival San Francisco 49ers also played at Kezar. In September 1960, the Raiders lost their first home opener 37-22 to the Houston Oilers.

Toward the end of the 1960 season, the Raiders relocated to San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, which was the first home for baseball’s San Francisco Giants (and now is the home field for the 49ers). The Raiders spent all of the 1961 season at Candlestick before moving to Oakland’s Frank Youell Field. In their first regular-season game at Youell Field, the Raiders lost 28-17 to the New York Titans (now the Jets) in September 1962. The Raiders played there until 1965. Youell Field was torn down in 1969 and replaced by parking spaces for Laney College.

Youell Field was the Raiders’ temporary home while the 54,000-seat Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum was being built for the team at a cost of $25.5 million. The first football game at the Coliseum was played in September 1966, when the Raiders hosted the Kansas City Chiefs. More than 50,000 fans watched the Chiefs beat the Raiders 32-10. Two years later, the Raiders started sharing the Coliseum with baseball’s Oakland A’s.

Except for one game in September 1973, the Raiders called the Coliseum home until the team pulled up stakes and moved to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in time for the 1982 season. Four years passed before Raiders honcho Al Davis began making noise about shifting the team to a newer venue in southern California. Davis’ hopes faded though, so he initiated negotiations in 1989 to take the team back to Oakland. Two years later, when a deal to return to Oakland failed to materialize, Davis committed to keeping the team in L.A.

Lured by the promise of a $120 million renovation of the Oakland Coliseum, Davis signed a deal in 1995 to move the Raiders from L.A. to Oakland. The Coliseum’s makeover included the addition of 22,000 seats, 90 luxury suites, two private clubs and two video scoreboards. On September 3, 1995, the Raiders kicked off their Oakland comeback with a 17-7 victory over the San Diego Chargers. More than 50,000 fans were on hand.

The Raiders have competed at the Coliseum ever since their return to Oakland, although the venue has had five names since 1998: Network Associates Coliseum (1998-2004), McAfee Coliseum (2004-2008), Oakland Coliseum (2008-2011), Overstock.com Coliseum (2011), O.Co Coliseum (2011-present).

No matter the name or location of the home field, Raiders tailgaters have been showing their silver and black pride for more than 50 years.

Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.

John Egan is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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