The 2002 Oakland Raiders season was the club�s 43rd, and 33rd in the National Football League. The Raiders, under the leadership of first-year head coach Bill Callahan, clinched a third consecutive AFC West title with an 11�5 finish. The team is probably best remembered, however, for reaching the Super Bowl; in doing so, they became the first Raiders squad in nineteen years to reach professional football’s biggest stage.
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 superstar quarterback Rich Gannon. 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 an impressive 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.