Once Upon a Time, the Raiders Beat the Chargers When It Mattered

Al's WingmanAnalyst IJune 20, 2009

Cleveland Brown fans hate re-visiting fateful moments in their team’s close but no cigar history.  For Oakland Raider fans though the 1980 playoff season couldn’t have been any sweeter.

It was January 4th, 1981 in Cleveland, Game-time temperature was one degree, with the wind-chill factor estimated at negative 37.

Brian Sipe threw a pass intended for Ozzie Newsome in the end zone with 41 seconds remaining in the AFC playoff game. The Browns, who had marched from their 14 to the Oakland 13, were a field goal away from the AFC Championship Game. Instead, they chose to go for the TD.

The famous call Red Right 88 ended up with Raiders cornerback Mike Davis making the interception.

The Raiders prevailed 14-12, then proceeded to beat San Diego and Philadelphia en route to their second Super Bowl title.

Let’s give the Browns some credit.  The unfortunately named Browns Kicker Don Cockroft had an extra-point attempt blocked by Ted Hendricks earlier in the game.  With uncertain footing, even a 30-yard kick was no gimme.

Still, the pain has never gone away for Browns fans.  As a Raiders fan, I wish their second Super Bowl title did not have to go through Cleveland.

Cleveland fans deserved better.  There have been too many heartbreaks for Browns fans.

Still, this was a key moment in Raiders history.  It had to happen or the franchise would not have become as storied as it is.

The Raiders next had to go through a tough San Diego team in the AFC Championship.  We don’t feel sorry about that one.  How many Super Bowl wins do the Chargers have?  Sorry, how many was that?

I still can’t hear you.

Anyway, we don’t feel bad for Eagles fans either,  Philly is a great sports town.  Your fans are loudmouths and pretty much a bunch of jerks but you are great fans nonetheless.

In ’81, your Eagles head coach Dick Vermeil was a goody too shoes.  Our Raiders were not goody too shoes.

Vermeil represented everything Raiders and Raider fans wanted to defeat.  A nice guy with a disciplined team (can you say curfew?  I don’t think the Raider players had a curfew imposed by the powerless Tom Flores).

As The Tooz once commented, there was not even room for a blade of grass in Vermeil’s wazoo he was so uptight.

I think that says it all and the Raiders won it all.  It was one of the franchise’s finest playoff runs in its history.


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