Since the very first game between these two old AFL teams in 1966, the series between the Miami Dolphins and the Oakland/Los Angeles/Las Vegas Raiders, now in its 55th year, has been one of the most storied rivalries in the history of football.
The very first game between these two teams, was also the very first game for the fledgling Dolphin franchise, taking place on opening day of the 1966 season at the old Orange Bowl. The Dolphins’ Joe Auer returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, but the Raiders would prevail by the score of 23-14. Interestingly, the quarterback for the Raiders in that game was one Tom Flores (no relation to Brian Flores of the Dolphins) who would later coach his team to two Super Bowl victories after the 1980 and ‘83 seasons.
After holding a lopsided advantage in the series for many years, the Raiders have fallen on hard times more recently, and Miami, after winning four of the last five, has drawn within two games of tying them. The ledger currently sits at 20-18, Raiders, with one tie, coming in 1969, before the ‘sudden death’ overtime rules were implemented the following year. Despite having played each other more than thirty times since 1970, only one game in the series has gone to overtime, when the Dolphins won on a field goal at Joe Robbie/Pro Player Stadium in October 1994.
Having won four of the last five games between the two teams, the Dolphins would have had a chance to pull even in the series on Saturday night, if not for ‘the Johnny Holton Game’, which came in November 2017. Never heard of Johnny Holton? Well, neither have most people. The Miami native and Coconut Grove High School alum had only 14 receptions during his NFL career, but he hauled in a 44 yarder for a touchdown to help sink the Dolphins in that game. Thus, even if Miami wins on Saturday night, they’ll still have to wait a little longer to pull even in, and eventually lead, the all-time series with the team in silver and black, which they’ve never led.
Let’s hope for a good, clean this weekend, with no significant injuries on either side, to go with another Dolphins’ victory. Meanwhile, here’s a nice tackle from the 2012 contest between the two teams: