2002 Oakland Raiders season
|2002 Oakland Raiders season|
|Head coach||Bill Callahan|
|General manager||Al Davis|
|Home field||Network Associates Coliseum|
|Division place||1st AFC West|
Won Divisional Playoffs (Jets) 30–10|
Won AFC Championship (Titans) 41–24
Lost Super Bowl XXXVII (Buccaneers) 21–48
Rich Gannon, QB|
Jerry Rice, WR
Lincoln Kennedy, OT
Barret Robbins, C
Rod Woodson, FS
The 2002 Oakland Raiders season was the club's 43rd, and 33rd in the National Football League. The Raiders, under the leadership of first-year head coach Bill Callahan, clinched a third consecutive AFC West title with an 11–5 finish. The team is best remembered for reaching the Super Bowl; in doing so, they became the first Raiders squad in nineteen years to reach professional football's biggest stage, as well as the first since their return to Oakland in 1995.
The 2002 season, due mainly to the aforementioned Super Bowl run, ranks among the most important in franchise history. The aging Raiders' controversial elimination from the prior year's playoffs set the stage for a concerted championship push. Owner Al Davis traded then-head coach Jon Gruden to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers shortly after the Raiders' 2001 playoff loss; in doing so, he received two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and cash considerations from Tampa Bay. Davis, despite team salary cap troubles, also managed to acquire veteran stars Sam Adams, Rod Woodson, and Bill Romanowski during the 2002 offseason.
The Raiders entered the season with a hugely talented, albeit aging roster of players. The offense was led by quarterback Rich Gannon, would be named MVP for the season. The team's receiving corps of Tim Brown, Jerry Rice, and Jerry Porter ranked among the league's best; additionally, running back Charlie Garner posted 1,903 all-purpose yards. The offensive line, moreover, was anchored by pro-bowlers Lincoln Kennedy and Barret Robbins. The Raiders' offense, all told, led the league in total yardage; Gannon additionally led all NFL quarterbacks in passing with 4,689 yards. The defense, while less vaunted, nonetheless ranked among the NFL's finest; the contributions of Rod Woodson, Bill Romanowski, Charles Woodson, and Trace Armstrong aided the Raiders' cause greatly.
In the third quarter of Oakland's 26–20 win on Monday Night Football over the Jets Tim Brown became the third player in NFL history with 1,000 career catches; the game was stopped so Brown could be honored for the achievement; a vehicle carrying his mother and family drove onto the field for the celebration.
Despite their talent, the Raiders struggled in the first half of the 2002 season. A 4–0 start was followed by four consecutive losses; the team's 4–4 record stunned many onlookers. The team, however, redeemed itself by winning seven of its final eight contests. Finishing 11-5 in a conference where twelve teams obtained .500 or better records and nine were above .500, the Raiders clinched the AFC's top seed and full home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. They routed the New York Jets and Tennessee Titans in the playoffs, by a combined score of 71-34 and a plus-four in turnover differential; in doing so, they advanced to Super Bowl. Ironically, their opponent would be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, led by their former coach Jon Gruden.
The Raiders entered Super Bowl XXXVII as slight favorites; many predicted a hard-fought showdown between Oakland's top-ranked offense and Tampa Bay's top-ranked defense. The resulting game, however, ended in disaster for the Raiders. An early three-point lead (courtesy of a Sebastian Janikowski field goal) evaporated as the Buccaneers scored thirty-four unanswered points. The Buccaneers defense, aided by Gruden's knowledge of the Raider offense, intercepted Rich Gannon three times during this scoring surge. A furious Raider rally cut the score to an almost-competitive 34–21 in the fourth quarter; two more Gannon interceptions, however, sealed the Raiders' fate in a 48–21 bludgeoning.
The years following the Super Bowl loss marked a period of decline for the Raiders, who would go 14 seasons without obtaining a winning record until 2016. To date, this is the last season the Raiders qualified for the playoffs.
|2002 Oakland Raiders staff|
Special Teams Coaches
Strength and Conditioning
|2002 Oakland Raiders roster|
| Offensive Linemen
| Reserve Lists
|1||September 8, 2002||Seattle Seahawks||W 31–17||FOX 4:15et||1–0|| |
|2||September 15, 2002||at Pittsburgh Steelers||W 30–17||ESPN 8:30et||2–0|| |
|4||September 29, 2002||Tennessee Titans||W 52–25||CBS 4:15et||3–0|| |
|5||October 6, 2002||at Buffalo Bills||W 49–31||CBS 1:00et||4–0|| |
|6||October 13, 2002||at St. Louis Rams||L 28–13||CBS 4:15et||4–1|| |
|7||October 20, 2002||San Diego Chargers||L 27–21 (OT)||CBS 4:05et||4–2|| |
|8||October 27, 2002||at Kansas City Chiefs||L 20–10||CBS 1:00et||4–3|| |
|9||November 3, 2002||San Francisco 49ers||L 23–20 (OT)||FOX 4:05et||4–4|| |
|10||November 11, 2002||at Denver Broncos||W 34–10||ABC 9:00et||5–4|| |
|11||November 17, 2002||New England Patriots||W 27–20||ESPN 8:30et||6–4|| |
|12||November 24, 2002||at Arizona Cardinals||W 41–20||CBS 1:05et||7–4|| |
|13||December 2, 2002||New York Jets||W 26–20||ABC 9:00et||8–4|| |
|14||December 8, 2002||at San Diego Chargers||W 27–7||CBS 4:15et||9–4|| |
|15||December 15, 2002||at Miami Dolphins||L 23–17||CBS 1:00et||9–5|| |
|16||December 22, 2002||Denver Broncos||W 28–16||CBS 4:15et||10–5|| |
|17||December 28, 2002||Kansas City Chiefs||W 24–0||CBS 5:00et||11–5|| |
Week 1: vs. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks were beaten for the fifth straight time at Oakland, but for the first time as an NFC team as league realignment took them out of the AFC West and into the revamped NFC West. Rich Gannon tossed for 214 yards and two touchdowns while four Raiders backs led by Charlie Garner rushed for 214 yards and two scores. Matt Hasselbeck threw for two touchdowns for the Seahawks.
Gannon flirted with Drew Bledsoe's 1994 single-game record for passes with 64, connecting on 43 of them for 403 yards and a 21-yard score to Jerry Porter, but was intercepted twice. The Steelers behind a Kordell Stewart touchdown to Hines Ward at the end of the third quarter clawed to within 20–17, but on the opening play of the fourth Terry Kirby ran back the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for the score. A Sebastian Janikowski field goal ended all hope for the Steelers in a 30–17 Raiders win.
The Raiders crushed the Tennessee Titans 52–25 as they intercepted Steve McNair four times while Rich Gannon threw four touchdowns. Jerry Rice had 144 yards receiving and a touchdown. The game was a penalty-laden affair with 21 combined fouls eating up 194 yards.
The Raiders traveled to Buffalo and once again scored seven touchdowns. The game lead tied or changed ten times before 21 unanswered Raiders points put the game away 49–31. Rich Gannon had three touchdowns while Drew Bledsoe had two scores but was picked off three times; Phillip Buchanon picked off Bledsoe at the Raiders 19-yard line and scored.
The Raiders four-game winning streak ended 28–13 against the Rams at the Edward Jones Dome. With the Rams 0–5 and Kurt Warner benched after poor play, Marc Bulger put the game away early with three touchdowns offsetting two Sebastian Janikowski field goals. Rich Gannon was intercepted twice and the two teams combined for 25 penalties for 189 yards.
The Raiders returned to Oakland and faced the 5–1 Chargers, who charged out to a 14–0 lead; the game lead tied or changed three times after that as Oakland forced overtime, but in the extra period the Chargers drove down and LaDanian Tomlinson's 19-yard score finished off the 27–21 San Diego win.
Jerry Rice faced his former team for the first time as the Raiders hosted their next-door neighbors the 49ers. Rice caught six passes for 74 yards while his successor at the Niners, Terrell Owens, accounted for all but 99 yards of Jeff Garcia's 282 passing yards. The game was tied 13–13 into the fourth quarter; following an exchange of touchdowns (a Tai Streets reception and a Charlie Garner run) the 49ers got the ball back with 6:30 to go, but Jose Cortez missed a 27-yard field goal attempt on the final play of regulation. The Niners got the ball for overtime and Garcia completed five passes while rushing three times for 21 yards; it set up Cortez's winning 23-yard field goal, a 23–20 Niners win. The game put the Niners at 6–2 while the Raiders were searching for answers after falling to 4–4.
The Raiders got back on track by crushing the Broncos 34–10. In the first quarter Brian Griese was intercepted by Rod Woodson for a 98-yard pick-six score and the Raiders never looked back. Rich Gannon had three touchdowns and only four incompletions of 38 throws for 352 yards.
On Sunday Night Football the Raiders hosted the Patriots a year after the controversial Tuck Rule Game and won 27-20. The two teams managed 584 yards of offense as Rich Gannon threw for 297 yards with one interception; five Raiders players including Gannon rushed for 97 yards and three touchdowns, enough to overcome Kevin Faulk's 86-yard kick return score in the final minute.
The Raiders traveled to Arizona and put up 520 yards of offense in a 41-20 win. Gannon had 340 passing yards and three scores while Jake Plummer was intercepted twice to go with two touchdowns. The Cardinals were limited to 263 yards of offense, 135 of them from Marcel Shipp.
One of the league's most famous rivalries was renewed as the Raiders hosted the NY Jets 34 years after the famous Heidi Game meeting. After the Jets took a 10–6 halftime lead the Raiders drove down field in the third quarter; with 11:30 to go in the third on 2nd and 16 Rich Gannon completed a six-yard pass to Tim Brown; the catch was the 1,000th in his career for Brown as he became only the third player in league history to reach 1,000 catches; the game was stopped and a vehicle transported Brown's family onto the field to celebrate the accomplishment; among those congratulating Brown were his mom ("She's never been to a game since I've been playing", Brown said) and one of the other two players with 1,000 career catches – teammate Jerry Rice. Following the celebration Rice caught a 26-yard touchdown. The Raiders clawed to a 26–20 lead before intercepting Chad Pennington at their nine-yard line with four seconds to go.
The Raiders travelled to Qualcomm Stadium and slammed the door on the 8-4 Chargers' run to the playoffs 27-7. They intercepted Drew Brees three times while the Raiders managed just 67 rushing yards but three of them ended in touchdowns.
The Raiders hit a roadblock as the Dolphins stormed to a 23-17 win at Pro Player Stadium. Rich Gannon was intercepted once and the Raiders fumbled. Ricky Williams accounted for 101 rushing yards for Miami.
The Broncos despite 16 second-half points fell 28-16 to the Raiders as three Raiders backs rushed for 136 yards and three scores, culminated by Zack Crockett's one-yard score in the fourth. The loss all but eliminated the Broncos from the playoffs despite twelve other teams still being mathematically eligible in the AFC.
In a Saturday NFL double-header (the Eagles–Giants were the opening game) the Raiders shut out the Chiefs 24-0 and won the top seed in the AFC. The Chiefs were held to 176 yards of offense and a Trent Green interception.
|(1) Oakland Raiders||11||5||0||.688||4–2||9–3||450||304||W2|
|San Diego Chargers||8||8||0||.500||3–3||6–6||333||367||L4|
|Kansas City Chiefs||8||8||0||.500||2–4||6–6||467||399||L1|
AFC Divisional Playoff
AFC Championship Game
Super Bowl XXXVII