After having appeared in the three previous AFC Championship Games – and having lost all three—the 1976 Raiders finally won the conference championship, and went on to win their first Super Bowl.
After posting a 13–1 regular season record and winning their sixth AFC West championship in seven seasons, the Raiders rolled to victories against the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers to achieve the second Super Bowl berth in team history. Then on January 9, 1977, at the Rose Bowl, the Raiders won Super Bowl XI by defeating the Minnesota Vikings 32–14. The victory had the Raiders compile a spectacular 16–1 overall record.
In 2012, the 1976 Oakland Raiders were named the greatest team of all time by NFL.com's "Bracketology"; a 15-day, six-round fan vote tournament that featured the 64 greatest teams from the Super Bowl era. Oakland beat the 2000 Baltimore Ravens in the final round by a .8% margin.
The Road to their first World Championship began on opening day as they faced the reigning world champion Pittsburgh Steelers. In their home opener, Oakland trailed 28–14 with just over five minutes to play, yet orchestrated what many to this day refer to as their Comeback Classic of 1976. They won 31–28 on a 21-yard Fred Steinfort field goal with 18 seconds left.
What followed was a mammoth 5-game road trip, featuring wins over each of the Raiders' three divisional foes. It also included Oakland's lone loss on the year, a 48–17 shocker in New England. However, this would just be a preview of things to come between the Raiders and the Patriots.
Oakland became virtually unbeatable after the defeat. Upon returning home, the Raiders cruised to big victories, like a 49–16 stomping of the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and had nail biters like the 28–27 victory against a competitive Chicago Bear team at Soldier Field. They closed out the season with a 24–0 shutout of the San Diego Chargers in Oakland.
The Raiders would end the 1976 season with a 64.3% pass completion. Ken Stabler would complete 66.7% of his passes. Mark van Eeghan would reach the 1000 yard mark with 1012 yards. Dave Casper would lead the team in receptions with 53 while Cliff Branch would lead the team in reception yards (1111), touch downs (12), and yards per reception for receivers who caught more than one pass (24.2).