|2002 Oakland Raiders season|
|Head coach||Bill Callahan|
|General manager||Al Davis|
|Home field||Network Associates Coliseum|
|Division place||1st AFC West|
|Playoff finish||Won Divisional Playoffs (vs. Jets) 30-10|
Won AFC Championship (vs. Titans) 41-24
Lost Super Bowl XXXVII (vs. Buccaneers) 21-48
|Pro Bowlers||QB Rich Gannon|
WR Jerry Rice
T Lincoln Kennedy
C Barret Robbins
FS Rod Woodson
|AP All-Pros||QB Rich Gannon (1st team)|
WR Jerry Rice (2nd team)
T Lincoln Kennedy (1st team)
C Barret Robbins (1st team)
FS Rod Woodson (1st team)
The 2002 season was the Oakland Raiders' 33rd in the National Football League, their 43rd overall, their seventh since returning to Oakland and their first under head coach Bill Callahan. The Raiders played their home games at Network Associates Coliseum as members of the AFC West. The Raiders had essentially traded their head coach Jon Gruden following the 2001 season. The Raiders hired Callahan, the offensive coordinator under Gruden, to return them to the playoffs.
Despite their talent, the Raiders struggled in the first half of the 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. 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. Finishing 11-5 in a conference where twelve teams obtained .500 or better records and nine were above .500, the Raiders won the AFC West for the third consecutive season and 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 +4 in turnover differential; in doing so, they advanced to their first Super Bowl since 1984. Their opponent was 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 34 unanswered points. The Buccaneers defense, aided by Gruden's knowledge of the Raider offense and Raiders failure to change many of the terms for their offense, intercepted Rich Gannon three times during this scoring surge. Many times, Buccaneer safety John Lynch was able to determine what play was coming based on audibles called by Raider quarterback Rich Gannon. A furious Raider rally cut the score to an almost-competitive 34-21 in the fourth quarter. However, two more Gannon interceptions sealed the Raiders' fate in a 21-48 bludgeoning.
The years following the Super Bowl loss marked a period of decline and futility for the Raiders, who would obtain neither a winning record nor a playoff trip until 2016, and, as of 2019, have not won another postseason game since this season.
|DT Sam Adams (Ravens)||CB Eric Allen (retirement)|
|QB Rick Mirer (49ers)||LB Greg Biekert (Vikings)|
|DT John Parrella (Chargers)||QB Rodney Peete (Panthers)|
|LB Bill Romanowski (Broncos)|
|FS Rod Woodson (Ravens)|
|2002 Oakland Raiders draft|
|1||17||Phillip Buchanon||CB||Miami||from Atlanta|
|2||53||Langston Walker||T||California||from Tampa Bay|
|Made roster + Pro Football Hall of Fame * Made at least one Pro Bowl during career|
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, who 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.
|1||September 8, 2002||Seattle Seahawks||W 31-17||1-0||53,260|
|2||September 15, 2002||at Pittsburgh Steelers||W 30-17||2-0||62,260|
|4||September 29, 2002||Tennessee Titans||W 52-25||3-0||58,719|
|5||October 6, 2002||at Buffalo Bills||W 49-31||4-0||73,038|
|6||October 13, 2002||at St. Louis Rams||L 28-13||4-1||66,070|
|7||October 20, 2002||San Diego Chargers||L 27-21 (OT)||4-2||60,974|
|8||October 27, 2002||at Kansas City Chiefs||L 20-10||4-3||78,685|
|9||November 3, 2002||San Francisco 49ers||L 23-20 (OT)||4-4||62,660|
|10||November 11, 2002||at Denver Broncos||W 34-10||5-4||76,643|
|11||November 17, 2002||New England Patriots||W 27-20||6-4||62,552|
|12||November 24, 2002||at Arizona Cardinals||W 41-20||7-4||58,814|
|13||December 2, 2002||New York Jets||W 26-20||8-4||62,257|
|14||December 8, 2002||at San Diego Chargers||W 27-7||9-4||67,968|
|15||December 15, 2002||at Miami Dolphins||L 23-17||9-5||73,572|
|16||December 22, 2002||Denver Broncos||W 28-16||10-5||62,592|
|17||December 28, 2002||Kansas City Chiefs||W 24-0||11-5||62,078|
|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|
The Raiders defeated the Titans and advanced to their first Super Bowl since Super Bowl XVIII, when they were based in Los Angeles. As of 2018, this has been the last time the Raiders won a playoff game, as they would not return to the playoffs again until 2016, and the last playoff game to be held at the Oakland Coliseum as in 2017, the Raiders were approved to relocate to Las Vegas.