Sep 27, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Oakland Raiders free safety Charles Woodson (24) celebrates his fourth quarter interception against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
4. 9/27/1998: Woodson’s First NFL Pick
Woodson was a starter for the Raiders from day one, making all 16 starts at corner in the 1998 season, making him the first rookie since 1971 to start an entire season for the Raiders. He didn’t have to wait long to record his first NFL interception, however.
In an early season matchup against the Dallas Cowboys – a team at the time only a couple years removed from winning three Super Bowls in four seasons – Woodson generally covered wideout Billy Davis while the more seasoned Eric Allen covered “The Playmaker” Michael Irvin. But with backup QB Jason Garrett (yes, THAT Jason Garrett) in the game for an injured Troy Aikman, the Cowboys had struggled to move the ball and were trailing the Raiders 10-3, so they began to change their offensive alignments to get Irvin on Woodson.
Late in the third quarter, the Cowboys were driving down toward the end zone, trailing by only a single score. On 2nd down and Goal from the 7, Garrett shot a pass to Irvin at the goal line when Woodson snagged it and returned it 24 yards. The Raiders would ultimately beat the Cowboys 13-12, with Woodson’s pick at the goal line a key moment that helped the Raiders to the early season win. A week later, Woodson would log his first NFL pick-six against Jake Plummer and the Arizona Cardinals, a score that helped the Raiders take their first lead in that game on their way to another victory. Woodson is now fifth all-time in interceptions with 65, but you never forget your first time.