Nov 20, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders former punter Ray Guy (center) poses with Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees of the Raiders during halftime ceremony to at O.co Coliseum. From left: Marcus Allen and Howie Long and Guy and Mike Haynes and Dave Casper. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The Raiders have not won a Super Bowl since, of course, and would not go back to the big game for nearly two decades. The 1984 Raiders went 11-5 despite Jim Plunkett sitting out much of the year with an abdominal injury. Marcus Allen would make the Pro Bowl in 1984 after scoring 18 TD’s and amassing 1,926 yards from scrimmage. Todd Christensen would catch 80 passes for over 1,000 yards.
The Raider defense remained one of the fiercest units in the league, amassing 64 quarterback sacks in 1984 and finishing third in the league in total defense. Los Angeles would lose to the Seahawks in the Wild Card round.
The 1985 Raiders, again led by one of the league’s best defenses (4th overall, 65 sacks on the year), went 12-4 with Marc Wilson starting 13 games due to another Plunkett injury, but fell short in the Divisional round to the eventual AFC Champion Patriots. Marcus Allen was the league MVP that year. In 1986, the Raiders went 8-8, then in 1987 fell to 5-10, their first losing season since 1981 and the worst record since Al Davis became part of the organization in 1963. Tom Flores was fired after the 1987 and replaced by Mike Shanahan.
Marcus Allen is of course a Raider legend. He was named All-Pro three times in the 1980s – though not in the 1983 season – and was a five-time Pro Bowl selection with the Raiders during the decade. Interestingly enough, he only had three 1,000-yard seasons in his entire career: 1983, 1984 and 1985 – when he led the league in rushing yards and yards from scrimmage and was named the NFL’s MVP and Offensive Player of the Year.
In his first seven seasons with the Raiders, Allen amassed nearly 7,000 yards rushing and 10,452 yards from scrimmage, along with 77 touchdowns. He was the biggest star on the team, and this made him Hollywood royalty in LA, something that some say led to his failed relationships with Al Davis.
Davis had drafted phenom two-sport superstar Bo Jackson in 1987, allowing Jackson to play part-time and share the load with Allen. Jackson managed 1,134 yards in his first 17 games with the Raiders, and then in 1989 led the team in rushing with 950 yards in only 11 games while Allen sat out injured. Allen returned in 1990 but saw his workload diminished after Jackson joined the team for the final ten games of the season, and Allen was nonplussed about it.
Despite Jackson suffering a career-ending injury after that year, Al Davis decided to bench his former superstar for the 1991 and 1992 seasons. He would touch the ball 173 times over the course of those two seasons. Allen left the Raiders and signed with the division rival Kansas City Chiefs, where he had a career renaissance, scoring 12 touchdowns in 1993 and making the Pro Bowl for the final time in his career.
Allen would play in Kansas City for five seasons, and retired with 17,654 yards from scrimmage and 144 touchdowns scored. He has since been welcomed back into the Raider fold, lighting the Al Davis memorial flame less than a year after Davis’ death.
The Viking Age
The Raider defenses of the 1980’s were some of the best in franchise history and helped to build onto the Raider mystique with their ferocious, punishing style. Cornerback tandem Lester Hayes and Mike Haynes, whose first year together was the 1983 Super Bowl year, were perhaps the greatest such duo in NFL history, and when Hayes retired after the 1986 season, had combined for 22 picks in four seasons.
The two combined for five Pro Bowl appearances in that time, and Haynes was an All-Pro twice. The dangerous pass rush trio of Lyle Alzado, Howie Long and Greg Townsend were together from 1983 until Alzado’s retirement after the 1985 season and in those three years combined for 62.5 sacks. Townsend and Long stayed together on the Raiders until after the 1993 season and combined for 186 sacks in eleven seasons.
The “Mad Stork” Ted Hendricks retired after Super Bowl XVIII and was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990. Matt Millen, who took on Hendrick’s role as the leader of the Raider linebacking corps, stayed with the Raiders until after the 1988 season, when he joined the 49ers and won another ring. Millen retired to become a broadcaster and then had a very rough run as a GM with the Detroit Lions.
Rod Martin would also continue on with the Raiders until after the 1988 season, and would be named All-Pro in 1984. Martin finished his career with 33.5 (recorded) sacks and 14 interceptions (not counting his three in SB XV).
The Washington franchise would go on to win two more Super Bowls with Joe Gibbs as the head coach: Super Bowl XXII and Super Bowl XXVI. Each Super Bowl victory was won with a different starting quarterback. Gibbs retired from the NFL in 1992, only to return to Washington for another go in 2004. He is a Hall of Famer and considered one of the greatest coaches in NFL history.
Joe Theismann’s career would end disturbingly in 1985, with a traumatic leg injury suffered at the hands of Lawrence Taylor on Monday Night Football. Theismann has since become an accomplished – and annoying – broadcaster. John Riggins also retired after the 1985 season, having amassed over 11,000 career rushing yards and 104 TD’s.
As of the 2014 offseason both teams have uncertain futures, but 31 years ago the two teams were the best in football leading up to their Super Bowl collision. Los Angeles