“No NFL team ever strutted any better on the dark side than the Oakland Raiders of the 1970s. In Badasses, Peter Richmond chronicles the treacheries, debauchery, and yes, the winning, with appropriate literary gusto. Lock the doors, close the windows, send the kids to bed before reading.”
“I always thought the Raiders were bad, but I never realized how bad and how good - until I read Peter Richmond’s smart, funny, rowdy tale.”
“Once upon a time, there lived a band of larger-than-life misfits who lorded over the NFL. Dirtbags! Castoffs! Has-beens! Deviants! You name ‘em, John Madden’s Raiders had ‘em. And, thanks to Richmond’s tireless reporting and vibrant prose, so does Badasses.”
"A celebration of the freewheeling NFL that created the multibillion dollar industry it is today." Booklist Starred Review
The 1970s Oakland Raiders were a team of distinct personality and talent. Known for rough and rowdy behavior on and off the field, the players were a tight-knit band of brothers who welcomed misfits dropped from other teams. Iconoclastic behavior was venerated in Oakland and personified by aggressive owner Al Davis and outsized, vivacious coach John Madden. The Raiders forged a close bond with their fans by going to five straight AFC championships in the decade, reaching the Super Bowl once to bury the Vikings in 1976. Drawing heavily on interviews with Raiders Phil Villapiano, Pete Banaszak, Ken Stabler, and George Atkinson, sports journalist Richmond's book is a treasure trove of uproarious anecdotes skillfully woven into a seasonal chronicle spiced with sharp player profiles. These wild characters, none of whom turned up on police blotters, were a focused bunch whose considerable intelligence was greatly underrated. Richmond concedes that the 1980s Raiders won two Super Bowls under coach Tom Flores but insists those Raiders were not the same lovable "badasses" that he celebrates here. This rollicking read reminds us that football is a game that's meant to be played hard—and to be fun.