The Oakland Raiders logo has always been inspired by one mascot—whose face has consistently appeared on the logo—with only slight modifications carried out. And even after relocating to Los Angeles and rebranding first as Los Angeles Raiders and eventually Las Vegas Raiders, the logo has remained essentially the same since it was first designed.
The Las Vegas Raiders logo symbol comprises the portrait of a pirate (Raider) sporting a football helmet and flanked by two crossed swords behind him. The Raider’s portrait was reportedly inspired by the face of American movie star Randolph Scott.
With just a few slight modifications, the Raiders logo has stayed basically the same since the team’s formation six decades ago.
The Raiders Logo History and Evolution
The Raiders have had five logo designs throughout their stint in the National Football League, with three logo designs not changing much when the team moved between three cities. A white, black, and silver color scheme represents the team’s colors.
For over 60 years, the classic Raiders emblem has undergone slight changes but has stayed largely true to the original look.
The original Oakland Raiders logo features a white, black, and gold color scheme. The design consists of the team’s iconic raider head inside a gold football. Two crossed swords are behind the football, featuring gold handles and outlined by black details.
The Raiders did away with the gold color, replacing it with a silver shade. That season’s logo consists of the iconic pirate head featuring two crossed swords behind it, placed in front of a black and silver shield. On top of the pirate’s head is the wordmark “The Oakland Raiders,” written in a block-style typeface.
The Oakland Raiders logo was simplified during this period. The shield was modified and changed to all black. The pirate’s black leather helmet made way for a gray one, featuring a broad black stripe at the center.
The swords were a little shorter on this version than on previous ones. In addition, the wordmark on the emblem was shortened to just “Raiders.”
In 1982, Oakland Raiders relocated to Los Angeles and changed its name to Los Angeles Raiders. However, the team kept the previous visual identity—staying true to its original fan base. After 12 seasons, the Raiders returned to Oakland.
Oakland Raiders came back home in 1995 and retained the previous logo version without any modifications. The emblem featuring a modern portrait and classic shield shape became instantly recognizable and famous worldwide.
2020 — Today
Oakland Raiders moved to Las Vegas and rebranded as Las Vegas Raiders by the start of 2020 but kept its iconic logo almost intact. The color scheme was slightly tweaked by using a darker gray shade on the Raider’s helmet. Also, a thick white outline was added to the shield.
The Raiders Logo Design Elements
Color: The Raiders logo uses a pretty basic color scheme, which consists of just three colors: black, white, as well as a light grey hue.
Font: The current wordmark features a bold sans-serif font in capital letters, which looks highly legible and solid.
The History of the Raiders
Las Vegas Raiders refers to the professional US football team originally known as Oakland Raiders. It played as Oakland Raiders in Oakland, California, from its inception in 1960-1981 and later from 1995-2019 before moving to the metropolitan area of Las Vegas. From 1982 to 1994, the team competed in the NFL as Los Angeles Raiders in Los Angeles.
Oakland Raiders were initially going to be referred to as “Oakland Senors” after that name won a name-the-team contest. But after locals took the piss out of the team, the name was replaced by “Oakland Raiders” before the start of the 1960 season.
Having enjoyed success as a college football coach at the United States Naval Academy in the 1950s, Eddie Erdelatz was appointed the first head coach of the Raiders. In January 1960, Oakland Raiders were settled in Oakland. They were the 8th team in the newly-founded American Football League (AFL) to recruit players, therefore relegated to recruiting the last players available.
The original Raiders team included 28 rookie players and just 14 veterans. Some of the rookies in the Raider’s roster were quarterback and future Raiders coach Tom Flores and future Hall of Famer center Jim Otto. In their inaugural season under Erdelatz, the team saw out the campaign with a record of 6-8.
Erdelatz was fired in September 1961 after the Raiders were outscored in the opening two matches of the season. He was replaced by offensive line coach and Los Angeles native Marty Feldman. The team ended the 1961 campaign with a record of 2-12.
Feldman started the 1962 season but was dismissed in October 1962 after starting with a 0-5 record. Former assistant coach and Oklahoma native Red Conkright took over on an interim basis from October to December that year. Under Conkright, the team posted a 1-8 record, ending the campaign with a 1-13 record. After the 1962 season, the Raiders gave Conkright an interim mentor job as they searched for a new coach.
Former San Diego Chargers assistant coach Al Davis was then hired as the Raiders general manager and head coach. Davis immediately altered the team’s color scheme to black and silver and started implementing what he called the “vertical game,” a powerful offensive strategy modeled on the attack strategy developed by Sid Gillman, San Diego Chargers head coach.
Under Davis, Oakland Raiders improved to post a 10-4 record, and Davis was named AFL’s best coach in 1963. While the team dropped to a 5-7-2 record in 1964, it bounced back to post an 8-5-1 record a year later. He also introduced the use of club slogans like “Commitment to Excellence,” “Just Win, Baby,” “Pride and Poise,” which were all registered trademarks.
Super Bowl Debut: 1967
Oakland Raiders had steadily improved by 1967, a few seasons before the merger between AFL and NFL. Headed by star quarterback Daryle Lamonica, the Raiders posted a 13-1 record by the end of the 1967 season. They also won the AFL Championship the same year, beating Houston Oilers 40-7.
Following the win, the team earned a ticket to its first Super Bowl appearance in Miami, Florida, where they lost. In January 1968, the Raiders were again beaten in their second appearance in the Super Bowl, losing to Green Bay Packers 33-14.
The Raiders ended with a 12-2 record in the 1968 season and again won the AFL West Division championship. In the AFL Championship Match, they lost to New York Jets 27-23.
Los Angeles Base (1982–1994)
In 1980, the Raiders signed a deal to shift their base to Los Angeles. But it wasn’t until 1982 that the move happened, in time for the start of the 1982 season.
The newly rebranded Los Angeles Raiders ended the strike-truncated 1982 season with an 8-1 record to clinch the AFC West championship. However, they lost to New York Jets in the 2nd stage of the playoffs. The next season, the Raiders ended with a 12-4 record to retain the AFC West championship.
In the AFC playoffs, the Raiders convincingly defeated Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers, going on to trounce Washington Redskins 38-9 to win their 3rd Super Bowl title and 3rd NFL championship.
In 1984, the Raiders had another fruitful regular season, finishing with an 11-5 record. However, a three-game losing run made them a wild-card for the playoffs, where they went down to Seattle Seahawks.
The 1985 season saw the Raiders record 12 wins as well as a division championship, with Marcus Allen named MVP. Any lingering postseason hopes were ended after losing to New England Patriots.
The Raiders’ fortunes nosedived after that, and they ended with no higher than an 8-8 record between 1986 and 1989, also posting back-to-back losing campaigns for only the second time. Also, in 1986, Marcus Allen got involved in a widely publicized spat with the Raiders management. The dispute continued into the following year, and Allen was effectively replaced by Bo Jackson.
In addition, Jackson also played for MLB’s Kansas City Royals as a left fielder, so he couldn’t play for the Raiders on a full-time basis until the baseball season finished in October. Worse still, the NFL lost one game to another strike, and this prompted the Raiders to field substitute players.
The team posted a 1-2 record prior to the return of regular players after the strike, finishing the season weakly with a 5-10 record. As a result, Tom Flores resigned as head coach and moved upstairs to management. He was replaced by Mike Shanahan, the then Denver Broncos offensive vice coach.
In the 1988 season, Shanahan guided the Raiders to a 7-9 record, and Jackson and Allen continued to compete for a starting running back position. By this point, there was fan apathy and low game attendance.
As a result, rumors started flying around in summer 1988 about the Raiders going back to Oakland when a preseason match against Houston Oilers was arranged at Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland.
Return to Oakland Base (1995–2019)
In June 1995, the Raiders part-owner Al Davis initiated the process of returning the Raiders to their original home in Oakland. The following month, the move was approved by the directors of Alameda County Coliseum.
To convince the Raiders to return to Oakland, the city spent $220 million to renovate the aging Alameda County Coliseum. The renovations included a new 10,000-seat seating area popularly known as “Mount Davis.”
The city also paid all of the team’s moving costs and built them a new training facility. In return, the Raiders were to pay an annual rent of $525,000 and didn’t have to pay game-day running or maintenance costs.
The move back home was received with much hype, and the Raiders started the 1995 season well under new head trainer Mike White. The Raiders began with an 8-2 record, but injuries to first-choice quarterback Jeff Hostetler played a part in the team’s six-game losing run to end the season with an 8-8 record. As such, the Raiders didn’t make it to the playoffs for the second season in a row.
Las Vegas Base (2020–Today)
In January 2020, Oakland Raiders moved from their Oakland base to Las Vegas, where they were renamed Las Vegas Raiders. Due to the continuing COVID-19 Pandemic, the Raiders played without fans throughout the 2020 season. They began their season with a 6-3 record but ended it with an 8-8 record, failing to make it to the postseason playoffs for the fourth season in a row.
Wrapping Up the History of the Raiders
Las Vegas Raiders (formerly Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Raiders) are a professional US football team headquartered in Henderson in metropolitan Las Vegas. The Raiders participate in the NFL, representing the NFL’s American Football Conference West Division. The team plays its home matches at Allegiant Stadium in Nevada.
Established in January 1960 and initially headquartered in Oakland, California, the Raiders made their regular-season debut in September 1960 as one of the founders of the American Football League. With the merger of the AFL and NFL in 1960, the Raiders switched to the NFL.
The Raiders shifted their base from Oakland to Los Angeles from 1982 to 1994. They returned to their original Oakland base before the 1995 season started. In March 2017, team owners in the NFL voted almost unanimously in favor of the Raiders petition to move to Las Vegas. In January 2020, nearly three years later, the Raiders made their move to Las Vegas, Nevada.
Since 1963, the Raiders have won 15 division championships (12 NFL, 3 AFL), 4 AFC titles (between 1976 and 2002), 1 AFL Championship (1967), as well as 3 Super Bowl Championships (between 1976 and 1983).
As of the close of the 2020 NFL Season, the Raiders hold the all-time record of 481 regular season wins, 11 ties, and 440 losses. In addition, their all-time record in the playoffs presently stands at 25 victories and 19 defeats.