When I think of what both great and under appreciated teams are, I think of teams that are just stacked everywhere have a collection of great players, but with a supporting cast of very good players everywhere as well. That have a great coaching staff that gets their players to play up to their abilities as much as possible as well. That have many strengths and doesn’t have any weakness’ and have not just the physical talent, but the mental talent as well. That understands key situations and when exactly is the time to make key plays and doesn’t make key mistakes in big moments.
That’s the 1983 Los Angeles Raiders and when I think of under appreciated teams, I think of teams that are very good if not great, but doesn’t get their just respect, not remembered as being a great team or a great champion. Except for the people who understand that team and again that’s the 1983 Los Angeles Raiders not just a great team, but a great dominant team that didn’t just beat teams, but they beat up teams within the rules. Because they were just bigger, stronger and better than any other team they played.
And they would actually take it to their opponents and win games and win them big to the point where that team doesn’t want to play them again, that’s the 1983 Raiders. The 1983 Raiders are one of the top ten teams of all-time that not many people who aren’t Raider fans and who didn’t play for that team or cover that team, aren’t aware of. Because they were a group of Renegades and misfits and people who were cut by other teams and were run by Al Davis.
You want to look at the 1983 Raiders, it of course starts at the top with their leader Al Davis, who put that team together. Then you have to move to their head coach Tom Flores who won two Super Bowls and 100 games and yet never gets much consideration even for the Hall of Fame. Then I would go to their defense, defensive line Howie Long arguably the best all around DL of his era and in the Hall of Fame.
Then you got pass rushers and run stuffers guys who could play both roles on their defensive line to go along with Howie Long. Lyle Alzado who they picked up from Cleveland. As well as Greg Townsend, and others. Perhaps the best linebacker in the league, with Hall of Famer Ted Hendricks and middle linebacker Matt Millen and outside linebacker Rod Martin who only made big plays for the Raiders.
And then the secondary, the two best corners in the league, with Lester Hayes and Mike Haynes. Both great bump and run cover corners, with the Raiders DL and secondary and their DL able to rush the QB and stop the run just with their front four. That freed up their LBs and DBs to just cover the field. Help out send extra blitzers without having to worry about getting beat for a big play. The 1983 Raiders were very good on offense as well, but their defense set the tone.
On offense you have Pro Bowl quarterback Jim Plunkett who won the 1970 Heisman Trophy at Stanford, who had his best years with the Raiders. Tailback Marcus Allen who NFL scouts thought was too slow because he ran a 4.5 40 yard dash. But if you look at Marcus’s highlights, you always see him running away from people or running through people, or running by guys who are supposed to be faster than him.
Then you have wide receiver Cliff Branch who should be in the Hall of Fame, who had a great habit of catching long touchdown passes in Super Bowls. A great habit to have by the way and then tight end Todd Christianson who should get consideration for the Hall of Fame. WR Dokie Williams a pretty good number two WR. The 1983 Raiders were stacked on both sides of the ball and deserve a lot more respect than they get.