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Theismann on Raiders, Part II

January 29, 2009 |  2:00 pm


The Times' Sam Farmer is in Tampa, Fla., this week covering the Super Bowl.
In a series a Fabulous Forum posts, he looks back at the 1983 Raiders.
You can access his Raiders posts by clicking here, and all his Super Bowl posts by clicking here.


Back to Washington quarterback Joe Theismann's recollection of the '83 L.A. Raiders on the silver (& black) anniversary of their Super Bowl victory in Tampa...

Theismann thinks the world of running back Marcus Allen, but he would have given the Super Bowl MVP award to another Raider: defensive tackle Reggie Kinlaw.

"Absolutely," the quarterback said. "Reggie Kinlaw did not allow us to run the football. He owned that line of scrimmage. The nose tackle, that was the best game I'd ever seen him play.

"Marcus and I are very close friends. He shows me the ring every now and then and thanks me, and I want to strangle him. But the truth of the matter is, Reggie Kinlaw was the reason we weren't successful. Because we couldn't get into second down and sixes, second down and fives.

"And the last thing is, I did not play well. I threw the ball poorly. I made bad decisions."

The following week, he was MVP of the Pro Bowl.

"The next week, I lit it up," he said. "And that's the neat thing about football. You get a three-hour period of time somewhere in your life where you get to be special. And if you're special during that three-hour period, it becomes a life-changing experience."

And it has changed Theismann's life. It changed it a year before losing to the Raiders, in fact, when the Redskins beat Miami in Super Bowl XVII at the Rose Bowl.

"But I'll say this: Playing and losing the Super Bowl gives you a different perspective," he said. "It's something that I can share with people, that I've been to the top of the mountain. I can tell you what it takes to get there. I can also tell you what it does if you take that for granted."

More on switching shoes before the game...

"What I did is I wore the same pair of shoes all through the season," he said. "Now, it was the same company, but they were new shoes. Because it was the Super Bowl, and I was going to have new shoes! And they didn't fit right. They stunk. So I was [complaining] about the shoes, it was cold weather, I had all these little things that were bothering me."

Theismann should have given those shoes the same treatment he did with his footwear about two weeks after the Super Bowl, when he was making a paid appearance in Maine.

"I'm sitting in this little bed and breakfast," he said. "It's snowing outside, and I'm going to do a speech. I'm sitting on the edge of the bed, and Howie [Long] comes on the TV. He's being interviewed, and he's sitting there saying, 'Oh, yeah, you could see it in Joe Theismann's eyes. He was scared of us.' "

Theismann was so mad, he grabbed a shoe and threw it at the TV.

"I was never scared," he said. "I've never been scared of anything in my life. Thankfully, the TV didn't break. I said, 'Howie, you're full of ...!'"

You'll never imagine what Theisman wanted to say to Raiders linebacker Ted Hendricks.

More on that in a bit...

Photo: Howie Long. Credit: Stephen Dunn / ALLSPORT