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NFL – 1981 Super Bowl XV – Louisiana Superdome – Oakland Raiders VS Philadelphia Eagles – Qtrs 2 – 4


As I mentioned in part one of this two-part videos series of the 1981 Super Bowl XV between the Oakland Raiders vs Philadelphia Eagles game….this event hold special meaning to this lil ole chiweenie Sportsphile….cuz my Bone Daddy was at this game live while experiencing an incredible “road trip” to the Crescent City to watch the game live while sitting in the middle of Raider Nation near the 50 yard line behind the Raiders bench….as I will be telling the whole story surrounding this exciting “magic carpet ride” to New Orleans in my L E’s Stories section of this webpage….but for this post….I will stick to what happened on the field as the Bad Boys from Oakland spanked the Eagles from Philadelphia.

In the first quarter of the game….Oakland linebacker Rod Martin intercepted Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski’s first pass of the game and returned it 17 yards to Philadelphia’s 30-yard line….which set up Raiders QB Jim Plunkett’s 2-yard touchdown pass to WR Cliff Branch just 7 plays later. After each team punted once….Jaworski threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Rodney Parker….but the score was nullified by an illegal motion penalty on wide receiver Harold Carmichael….as the Eagles ended up being forced to punt. The Raiders later scored another touchdown with about a minute left in the quarter….when on third down from the Oakland 20-yard line….Plunkett threw the ball to running back Kenny King at the 39-yard line as he was scrambling around in the backfield to avoid being sacked…. as King caught the pass as it carried just over the outstretched arms of defensive back Herman Edwards….and took off to the end zone for a Super Bowl record 80-yard touchdown reception. The Raiders led 14-0 which tied the Miami Dolphins’ record for the largest Super Bowl lead (14 points) at the end of the first quarter, set in Super Bowl VIII….and still stands today.

Beginning the 2nd quarter, the Eagles managed to respond on their next drive….with Jaworski completing passes to tight end John Spagnola and Wilbert Montgomery for gains of 22 and 25 yards on a 61-yard drive that ended with a 30-yard field goal by Tony Franklin….which made the score 14–3 just five minutes into the second quarter. Then with less than 4 minutes left in the period….the Raiders reached the Eagles 27-yard line….only to have kicker Chris Bahr miss a 45-yard field goal. The Eagles then drove 62 yards to Oakland’s 11-yard line….when on third down, WR Parker got ahead of defensive back Odis McKinney and was open on a route into the end zone….but Jaworski overthrew him and the pass was incomplete. Then with just 54 seconds left in the half….K Tony  Franklin attempted a 28-yard field goal….but Raiders linebacker Ted Hendricks extended his 6’7″ frame at the line and blocked the kick.

The Raiders then took the opening kickoff of the second half and scored quickly….as Plunkett completed a 13-yard pass to King and a 32-yard completion to receiver Bob Chandler to move the ball to Philadelphia’s 33-yard line…..when after a 4-yard run by running back Mark van Eeghen,….Plunkett threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Branch while increasing Oakland’s lead to 21–3. The Eagles responded by driving 56 yards to the Raiders 34-yard line….but on third down and 3, Jaworski threw his second interception of the game to LB Martin….when Oakland subsequently drove 40 yards and scored with Bahr’s 46-yard field goal, increasing their lead to 24–3 

The Eagles finally managed to score a touchdown that counted early in the fourth quarter to cut their deficit to 24–10….after starting from their own 12-yard line….a 43-yard reception by receiver Charlie Smith sparked an 88-yard 12-play drive that was capped by Jaworski’s 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end Keith Krepfle…..but on their ensuing drive….Oakland marched from their own 11 to the Eagles 17-yard line….but Philadelphia kept the Raiders out of the end zone….so, Bahr kicked his second field goal, increasing Oakland’s lead to 27–10….after which Oakland’s defense then dominated the rest the game by forcing two turnovers on Philadelphia’s last 2 possessions of the game to prevent any chance of a comeback. On the Eagles’ next drive, Jaworski fumbled a snap and Oakland lineman Willie Jones recovered it….then following a Raiders punt….Martin recorded a Super Bowl record third interception….and the Raiders ran out the clock to win the game.

Raiders WR Cliff Branch’s two touchdown catches tied a Super Bowl record of Green Bay’s Max McGee in Super Bowl I….and Pittsburgh’s John Stallworth in Super Bowl XIII caught two touchdowns prior to this. Jaworski finished the game with more completions (18) and yards (291) than Plunkett….but completed just 18 of 38 attempts….while being intercepted 3 times. Van Eeghen was the top rusher of the game with 75 yards….and King was the top receiver with 93 yards and a touchdown off of just 2 receptions. Eagles running back Wilbert Montgomery led Philadelphia in rushing and receiving with 44 rushing yards and 6 receptions for 91 yards. 

After the game, the expected heated confrontation between NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle and Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis was actually very civil. As Rozelle presented the Lombardi Trophy to Davis….he praised his QB Plunkett, head coach Tom Flores, the players, and the entire Raiders organization for being the first wild card team to win the Super Bowl….then Davis thanked Rozelle….who then proceeded to also praise the team.

Oakland became only the second wild card team to make it to the Super Bowl….and the first to come away victorious. The Super Bowl IV champion Kansas City Chiefs are often thought of as a “wild-card team,”….but they were not; during 1969….which was the season before the 1970 AFL-NFL Merger….as the second-place finishers in both divisions of the American Football League qualified for the playoffs. Flores became the first person to be a member of a Super Bowl winning team as a player and head coach. He was a member of the Chiefs in Super Bowl IV, but did not play in the game.

Any way you cut the pie….this was not only a great game….but also an awesome memory in my Bone Daddy’s memory bank after attending literally thousands of live sporting events.

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