4-5-1960: On this day in Pro Football History: The Oakland entry into the American Football League gets a name. After holding a “Name your football team” contest in which more than 10,000 entries were submitted over a two-week period, the Oakland Senors was selected.
Miss Helen Davis’ entry was the winning selection. She was one of seven entries to pick Senors but it was her letter that won. “I’m flabbergasted. I’m not exactly been what you would call an ardent football fan,” the excited Miss Davis said. “But you can bet your life I will be from now on.”
Miss Davis letter she had submitted: “Senors symbolizes the history, strength and solidarity of Old World California. The name personifies the original fighting spirit characteristic of the first settlers of California.”
After narrowing the names to 60, a committee of 5 people would make the final selection. Names like Mavericks, Admirals, Lakers, Diablos, Seawolves, Metros, Gauchos, Nuggets, Senors, Dons, Coasters, Grandees, Sequoias, Missiles, Knights, Redwoods, Jets, Clippers and Dolphins.
Luckily the people of Oakland didn’t care for the winning selection. The Oakland city council actually voted it down 4-1. 3 councilmen abstained from voting. The one no vote was from a councilman who was on the committee that picked the name. Oakland Mayor Clifford Rishell said, “I haven’t come across anyone who likes it.”
Oakland head coach Eddie Erdelatz and other team officials predicted that the name would last only a week. AFL president Lamar Hunt sent a 1-word telegram in response to the name, “Ridiculous.”
The committee would get back together to rescreen the 10,000 selections. Then a week later a close decision was made. The Raiders were selected over the Marauders. The selection was met with jubilation from owners, head coach and fans alike.