For a moment, it almost seemed like old times.
After the big victory, Al Davis stood and smiled with his latest most valuable player, attorney Joseph Alioto. It was a smile transposed from the locker room to the Los Angeles courtroom, the same toothy grin he gave MVP Fred Biletnikoff after Super Bowl XI and MVP Jim Plunkett after Super Bowl XV.
Then Davis, the 52-year-old managing general partner of the Oakland Raiders, was quoted as saying, "there were forces on the other side that were trying to crush us. But arrogance and power go just so far."
On the surface, things seemed in perfect pride-and-poise order.
Nearly 500 miles north, however, the people of Oakland were not cheering. Here, the clarity of old times condensed into the fog of sold times.
Davis was smiling in Los Angeles because the U.S. District Court there determined on Friday that the National Football League violated the Sherman Antitrust Act by prohibiting the Raiders from moving to the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Now, with appeals and other legal maneuvers by the NFL and the City of Oakland pending, Davis says he might take his team to Los Angeles as early as this year.
In Oakland, the memories of 16 straight winning seasons (1965-80), of a dozen years of sellouts and playoff appearances and of two Super Bowl victories have not been forgotten, just displaced. To the people of Oakland, Al Davis no longer is the voice of the Raiders and of reason. Rather, he is the voice of traitors and of treason. The people are confused by the seeming incongruity of the Raiders winning and Oakland losing.
Slowly and painfully, however, it is all starting to make sense.
The civic leaders of Oakland are not happy.
Said David Self, former Oakland city manager and the current executive director of Oakland's Economic Development Corporation, "This city started that team, we nurtured it. They did well by us and we did well by them. The situation is outrageous."
Self, who is Oakland's special counsel in the city's current effort to acquire the team through the law of eminent domain, said of that case which is now before the state supreme court, "The city would pay Al Davis for the team at full market price. He would be free to do what he wants. And we would be free to do without him."
Don Kechely, Oakland Chamber of Commerce spokesman, said that, according to a 1981 Chamber study, the city figures to lose an estimated $36 million per year in direct revenue and $180 million per year in indirect revenue should the Raiders leave.
At the Oakland Coliseum, where Davis insists the necessary improvements have not been made to keep his interest or his team, Coliseum General Manager Ray Ward stands by his word and his stadium.
"We've said we'll do a lot for the Raiders depending on the length of the lease. The L.A. Coliseum is now in the same position we were in. Already, complications are developing there," Ward said.
The season ticket holders are not happy.
Said Allen Aquilino, 57, on the board of directors of one of the Raiders' 14 booster clubs, "It's tough to be loyal to a team that doesn't reciprocate. How do you root for someone who wants to take something from you?
"I wouldn't mind if Mr. Davis got a team for himself in L.A., just so long as it's not our team." Aquilino paused, pondered the perplexities and said, "but I guess it is his team, huh?"
Debbie Argevitch, 30, whose father and husband both have had Raiders season tickets since the mid-'60s, says of her team's predicament, "My father says I shouldn't throw away Raider things because they will be collectors' items. I don't want collectors' items. I want the Raiders."
The telephone operators in the Oakland offices still answer with "Oakland Raiders . . ." But in the Los Angeles offices--"our legal headquarters," says Raiders official Al LoCasale--the operator answers with simply "Raiders . . ."
Across the San Francisco Bay, the 49ers' reaction toward the latest news on their Super Bowl champion predecessors has been quiet. According to 49ers spokesman Jerry Walker, the 49ers had sold out all of their games next year before the jury reached its decision.
"We already had 62,000 requests for season tickets for next year and our stadium capacity is 61,185. So we have no real official reaction to the jury decision," said Walker.
In this respect, the 49ers are in the minority.
They aren't happy in the Raiders' hangouts either.
Five or six of the dinner-time regulars twirled their swizzle sticks in the swirls of smoke in Clancy's Bar in Oakland's Jack London Square.
Bartender Pat Clancy, 29, stood in front of an aged Raiders pennant on the wall, sponged the bar top and soaked in the Raiders memories that rested in this bar that is barely large enough to huddle the Raider offense.
Said Clancy, "For both the '77 and the '80 Super Bowls we had about 300 people here and this place has a seating capacity of only 98. We had six TVs, including two on each end of the bar. There were TV cameras here, too. In '77, there were 30,000 people in the square the night the Raiders won. We had to close at midnight and SWAT teams came in with arms locked to clear people out of the streets."
Pat Clancy smiled, thinking back on his 19 years of holding Raiders season tickets and not ahead to a possible teamless future. His expression showed that the Raiders' departure would mean a bit more in Oakland than when hockey's Seals left for Cleveland in 1975 and when soccer's Stompers left for Edmonton in 1979.
"As fans we did what we could. We protested one Monday night game by staying outside for the first five minutes. We didn't show up to other games. We're the guys paying $16-$17 a game. Now, we're the guys who are losing."
Unlike some of the civic leaders, Clancy doesn't give much credence or hope to possible appeals. "Most fans, we consider it a lost cause now. If the Raiders are here for one more year, they won't average even 38,000 a game.
"We don't want an expansion team that will lose 30 games in three years, either. What would we call it? The Oakland Ducks? Or Mud Hens? Or Penguins?"
Pat Clancy shook his head, then rubbed his beard. His father is 65 years old, near retirement. So the son figures he will take over when the Raiders take off. "Yeah, me and a new generation of football fans. Let's hear it for the Oakland Ducks," said Clancy as another regular walked into the bar.