The final step to Super Bowl 50 starts in just a few hours. The AFC and NFC Champion will be crowned, and the two week mega-hype show begins.
This Super Bowl is a big one. Number 50. It’s so big they changed the whole Roman numeral system to make sure no one had to Google what the Roman numeral L meant.
That being said, I have been alive for 80-percent of all of the Super Bowls ever played (that’s 40 for those who scored below 400 on the math portion of the SATs). I have some fond memories of Super Bowls past. I thought I would start a little series today, leading up to the big game two Sundays from today.
I vaguely remember watching the 49ers beat the Bengals two years prior, and I also remember the Redskins defeating the Miami Dolphins the year before. But Super Bowl XVIII between the Redskins and Los Angeles Raiders was the first Super Bowl I remember sitting and watching from start to finish.
It was a good one to remember… if you were a Raiders fan, I suppose. I remember this was one of the first times I gambled as well. I grew up in northern New Jersey, land of the New York Giants. I was very well versed in the the Giants biggest nemesis. The Redskins were a power house led by a bevy of Hall of Famers and coming into this game as the defending World Champions. There was no way they could lose.
Joe Theismann. John Riggins. Darrell Green. Dave Butz (how does a nine-year old ever forget that name?). Dexter Manley. The Hogs (Russ Grimm is in and Joe Jacoby should be Hall of Fame bound this year, remember I told you he has my vote). How does this team possibly lose?
So I bet my friend Ben Fischer — who was a Raiders guy of sorts before the Super Bowl even started — a pack of cards that the Redskins would win. I bet my dad two whopping dollars that would be paid off in a scratch off lottery ticket. I had it in the bag.
Then the game started.
The first half was one of the most bizarre you would ever see in Super Bowl history. The first touchdown L.A. scored was via a blocked punt. After a Jim Plunkett to Cliff Branch touchdown, the Raiders would make history by scoring on a pick-six and becoming the first team to score an offensive, defensive and special teams touchdown in a Super Bowl half. My horse rolled into the second half down 21-3.
I still had faith. No team was more well rounded than the Redskins. Defense, run, pass, special teams. They had it all.
I was right. The Skins had a commanding drive and Riggo put the game back in reach, scoring a touchdown.
Then the Raiders blocked the extra point.
Then this guy took over.
Marcus Allen is the real memory of Super Bowl XVIII. 191 yards rushing and two touchdowns, including the legendary Super Bowl romp above. Jim Plunkett — the 1970 Heisman winner — would hand off to Marcus Allen — the 1981 Heisman winner — and the rest is history. Washington would never score again as Allen would score consecutive TDs in the third and put the game out of reach.
Final score 38-9.
And The Wayniac was 0-2 in his young gambling career.
It would take me two decades — and a little help from The Pooch — to strike back with a gambling fury, but that my friends is a story for another time.