Los Angeles Raiders running back Marcus Allen (32) is pursued by Washington Redskins linebacker Neal Olkewicz (52) during Super Bowl XVIII at Tampa Stadium.
Oh, there are so many highlights from which to choose in the 52 years the Raiders have been in existence. It can be hard to narrow it down to just one. So I didn't. Instead I offer different highlights for different reasons.
After all, there are so many reasons why a particular highlight is a person's favorite. Sometimes it is attached to a specific memory, other times it marks a pivotal moment in your life or the history of the team, and then of course there are simply those highlights that just have you staring in amazement. Those plays that you could watch over and over on a loop and be astounded every time.
Very few great moments are everyone going to agree upon. Usually for a highlight to be great to a particular person they had to have watched it unfold. Watching the game move along not having any idea what was about to happen. But there is always room for looking back at those old highlights which you may not have seen when they first occurred or were too young to appreciate it.
The first highlight just happens to be the very first that came to mind. It is Ronald Curry's masterful leaping, one-handed touchdown catch in the snow in Denver.
In the grand scheme of things this catch is not that meaningful. And sure there have been other catches in the history of the NFL and the Raiders that may have been better. But this catch had so many variables to consider that make it such an amazing catch. I will number each variable as I mention them.
The Raiders took their 3-7 record (1) and headed to Denver (2) to face the 7-3 Broncos (3). The Raiders were down 13-24 (4) late in the 4th quarter (5). Curry lines up on the left side in twins with Jerry Porter. Curry ran a simple five yard post pattern that had him running along the back of the end zone (6). Kerry Collins threw the ball behind him (7) into double coverage (8), splitting the defenders. The pass was also high (9) which meant Curry had to stop, turn back, leap in the air, and reach out with one arm (10) to haul it in. He secured it with the other hand on his way down and made sure he got two feet inbounds (11) for the touchdown.
The touchdown brought the Raiders within a score of the Broncos and they would go on to win the game 25-24 and improve to 4-7 on the season. Curry had six catches in the game for 110 yards. The week after that, he had nine catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns. But none like that one.
I wish I could say that win over the Broncos meant something in the grand scheme of things but it really didn't. The Broncos would win three of their final five games and make the playoffs with a 10-6 record. They lost to the Colts in the first round.
The next highlight is what I consider the latest greatest moment for the Raiders. But I am going to have to cheat a little bit more. Because this one is not a single moment but a series of moments over one half of football. It is Jacoby Ford's coming out party in week nine of the 2010 season.
(Warning: If the sound of Enrique Iglesias "singing" causes involuntary regurgitation, as it does me, put your computer on mute now)
Ford almost single-handedly took over this game after halftime. He got it started off with one of the most amazing kick returns I have ever seen. No, there wasn't a bunch of jukes and change-of-direction moves, but just his sheer speed was truly something to behold. It was the first of three kick return touchdowns for Ford on the season.
Later he would make several more fantastic catches including the masterful one in which he literally took the ball away from Brandon Flowers who thought he had a sure interception. Ford's heroics helped lead the Raiders into overtime. Then on the first play of the overtime period, he caught up with a Jason Campbell pass to make a brilliant fingertip grab and put the Raiders in position to kick the game-winning field goal. That win would turn the Raiders season around and they would go on to finally end their eight year long stretch of losing seasons.
The final highlight I will show is the great play which pretty much mark the moment I became hooked on the Raiders. It is Marcus Allen's legendary 74-yard cutback run in Super Bowl XV versus the Washington Redskins.
There really isn't anything I can say about this play that isn't better said in the NFL Films highlight by the likes of Todd Christensen, Alec Baldwin, John Facenda, Bill King, Howie Long, Ronald Reagan, and Marcus Allen himself.
(Note: If your computer is still on mute from the previous video, turn the sound back on now.)
There are many more great moments and highlights in the Raiders' long history. What are some of your favorite highlights in Raider history?