The National Football League is celebrating the Golden Anniversary of it's biggest event on Sunday, February 7th as Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers take on Peyton Manning's Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
Over the next few days, The Shadow League will be sharing some of our most memorable reflections from the game that has become much bigger than football, morphing into an essential piece of the tapestry that defines who we are as an American society.
When you reflect on NFL players who were ahead of their time, Marcus Allen is one of those guys. He was a triple-threat as a running back in the '80s coming out of USC. He was a beast mode pigskin-toter, a fleet-footed receiver with hands of glue and he could throw the ball 60 yards on a dime.
While his Hall of Fame career was littered with a brutal war with Raiders owner Al Davis, who did everything to destroy Allen’s reputation and productivity, Allen was able to distinguish himself as an all-time NFL goal-line obliterator and is still holding down the third spot on the NFL’s career rushing TD list with 123.
Allen forever immortalized himself in the Raider’s 38-9 thrashing of the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII. His true greatness and superiority as a football legend was on full display that evening as Allen captured MVP honors and trounced John Riggins' Super Bowl rushing record with 191 yards on 20 carries.
In the words of his Raiders teammate Howie Long: “For Marcus it was...the confirmation of his greatness.”
President Ronald Reagan, in his post-game congratulatory call said: “Coach Tom Flores, I have already had a call from Moscow and they think that Marcus Allen is a new secret weapon and they insist we dismantle it.”
Allen’s 74-yard TD run on the final play of the third quarter was extraterrestrial in nature.
After taking the handoff from quarterback Jim Plunkett, Allen headed around left end, where a sea of Redskins lurked.
With the quickness of an alley cat, he dipped back in the opposite direction, turned the right corner and evaded several Redskins' tacklers on his way to the crib. His run broke the record of 58 yards set by Tom Matte in Super Bowl III. He later added a 5-yard run to finish off a 70-yard Los Angeles drive which iced the contest.
The Redskins had beaten the Raiders in the regular season, 37-35, but Allen and a ferociously stingy Raiders defense shut Joe Theismann and Co. down this time, snatching the grand gridiron prize.
Legendary NFL Films announcer John Facenda immortalized the play with his call and captured the true essence of the moment.
"As Washington's hopes faded into the dying daylight," he said, "on came Marcus Allen, running with the night."