When Marcus Allen broke out with that famous run for LA in Super Bowl XVIII, you knew Al Davis was going to go with something similar to the past two rings…anyway Raiders 38-9 over the Redskins. Tom Flores became a great coach with not only his second Super Bowl win in 4 years. He knocked off a defending champion that was 1 game away from being labeled a dynasty.
How did the Raiders kill the defending Redskins like that? Beating the Redskins yes but dismantling them like that? It’s still baffling some 31 years later. The highest scoring team in history only scoring 9 points? NFL Films shows you and tells the story. Raiders defense, Raiders defense, Raiders defense! John Madden called the game, what more could a Raider fan want?
What most fans don’t remember was going into the ’83 AFC Championship Game, the Raiders had been swept by their division rival Seahawks during the year. So Seattle was a formidable foe. The game had a weird feel to it because it was drizzly and grey. I remember Marcus Allen playing with a black eye, swollen like a boxer. They ran over Seattle 30-14 and rewrote history.
Had Lyle Alzado controlled himself, the Raiders could have won that game in the 1982 playoffs (loss to Jets 17-14) and could have won Super Bowl XVII. How do we know this? The Redskins (who won XVII) was exceedingly stronger in 83 and that beating the Raiders gave them was epic.
Easily the strongest team in Raiders history with a mixture of old pros and young players that made up the core of this team. Two Heisman winners on offense with Jim Plunkett and Marcus Allen. Old pros like Cliff Branch and Todd Christensen. Greg Pruitt was brought in to return kicks and set a league record for punt return yards.
Really solid defense…Reggie Kinlaw dominated from nose tackle with Hall of Famer Howie Long, the late Lyle Alzado, Greg Townsend on the defensive line were hard to move on the point. They had the heaviest set of inside linebackers in Bob Nelson and Matt Millen. At 250lbs. each could take on and shed guards if they had too. Rod Martin and Ted Hendricks ( the U) were the outside ‘backers with a lot of range. Mike Davis and Vann McElroy were really solid safeties.
This defense had no real holes and then we get to Lester Hayes and Hall of Famer Mike Haynes. One on one coverage at its finest that culminated in this performance against the Redskins receivers.
Charlie Brown and Art Monk combined for 125 receptions for 1,971 yards and 13 TDs during the season. Hayes and Haynes held them to 4 rec. for 119 yards…60 came on one play. It reduced the highest scoring team in NFL history to 1 scoring drive in the 3rd quarter. The next year in 1984 they started to give up some passing yards. Yet Super Bowl XVIII they were at their zenith.
Remember that whole NFC 13 straight Super Bowl wins (19-31) and NFC dominance talk back when? It was really worse than that. After Pittsburgh’s win in XIV, only the Raiders won for the AFC in XV and XVIII. So it was really (16-31) that the NFC dominated but could not beat the Raiders winning 15 of 17. Talk about carrying the torch for the conference…
It was also the last championship won by the Raiders under Al Davis. An original AFL pioneer who remained a separatist at heart and on all of the Raider’s Super Bowl winning rings, used the AFL “A” and not the AFC “A”.
Long live the American Football League, as we lost a pioneer back in 2011 when Al Davis passed. In 2010 I attended a game in the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum and the ghosts of all those great Raider moments played out as I looked around that stadium. I met many former Raiders at the game and just missed Coach Flores but definitely would have loved to have met Al Davis.
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