They were the NFL's ultimate outlaws, black-clad iconoclasts who, with a peculiar mix of machismo and brotherhood, of postgrad degrees and firearms, merrily defied pro football corporatism.
The Oakland Raiders of the 1970s were some of the most outrageous, beloved, and violent football teams ever to play the game. In this rollicking biography, Peter Richmond tells the story of Oakland's wrecking crew of castoffs, psychos, oddballs, and geniuses who won six division titles and a Super Bowl championship under the brilliant leadership of coach John Madden and eccentric owner Al Davis.
Richmond goes inside the locker room and onto the field with Ken Stabler, Willie Brown, Fred Biletnikoff, George Atkinson, Phil Villapiano, and the rest of this band of brothers who made the Raiders legendary. He vividly recounts days of grueling practices and hell-raising nights of tavern crawlingfrom smoking pot and hiring strippers during training camp to sharing game-day beers with their hardcore fans (including the Bay Area's other badasses, the Black Panthers and the Hells Angels). Richmond reveals a group of men who, after years of coming up short in the AFC Championship game, saw their off-kilter loyalty to the black and silver finally pay off with their emphatic Super Bowl victory in 1977. Funny, raunchy, and inspiring, Badasses celebrates the '70s Raiders as the last team to play professional football the way it was meant to be played: down and very dirty.
“No NFL team ever strutted any better on the dark side than the Oakland Raiders of the 1970s. In Badasses, Peter Richmond chronicles the treacheries, debauchery, and yes, the winning, with appropriate literary gusto. Lock the doors, close the windows, send the kids tobed before reading.”
-Leigh Montville, author of Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero
“I always thought the Raiders were bad, but I never realized how bad -- and how good - until I read Peter Richmond’s smart, funny, rowdy tale.”
-Robert Lipsyte, former NEW YORK TIMES columnist and author of CENTER FIELD
“Once upon a time, there lived a band of larger-than-life misfits who lorded over the NFL. Dirtbags! Castoffs! Has-beens! Deviants! You name ‘em, John Madden’s Raiders had ‘em. And, thanks to Richmond’s tireless reporting and vibrant prose, so does Badasses.”
-Jeff Pearlman, New York Times bestselling author of Boys Will Be Boys: The Glory Days and Party Nights of the Dallas Cowboys Dynasty
“Richmond’s book is a treasure trove of uproarious anecdotes skillfully woven into a seasonal chronicle spiced with sharp player profiles...This rollicking read reminds us that football is a game that’s meant to be played hard—and to be fun.”