Davis' Bulldog Brigade
The Raiders didn't bring a pedigree to the Super Bowl, they just brought a lot of spirit. It was the spirit of the redeemed, of those who had come back from the garbage pile to smell the roses. Lightly regarded before the season, the Raiders were stocked with many players who had been cut loose by other clubs. Jim Plunkett had been released by the 49ers. Kenny King had ridden the bench for the Oilers, and John Matuszak was unwanted before Al Davis called. Other Oakland players had made similar unorthodox journeys. Davis himself was embroiled in a nasty lawsuit over whether he could move the Raiders to Los Angeles. This crew of pirates even took the hard road in the playoffs, starting out on wild-card weekend and beating the Oilers, Browns, and Chargers. The Eagles had a less colorful story but ranked as three-point favorites because of their tough defense and quick-strike offense.
The feisty mutts dominated the game. Rod Martin picked off Ron Jaworski's first pass of the day and returned it to the Philadelphia 30-yard line. Before seven minutes had elapsed, the Raiders scored a touchdown and led 7-0. The Eagles replied with a long touchdown pass to Rodney Parker, but a penalty wiped the score out. Late in the quarter, Oakland had the ball on its own 20-yard line. Plunkett threw a pass to King near the 40-yard line, and the halfback outsprinted the napping secondary for an 80-yard touchdown. With a 14-0 lead, the confidence of the Raiders was growing was the Eagles realized that they were collectively off their best form. A Tony Franklin field goal cut the lead to 14-3 at halftime.
In need of a second-half revival, the Eagles instead sank out of the game in the third quarter. Unable to score, they fell prey to Plunkett's precision quarterbacking. A touchdown pass to Cliff Branch in the third quarter lengthened the lead to 21-3 and put the handwriting on the wall for the Eagles. Although Jaworski kept throwing and did connect with Keith Krepfle for a score in the fourth quarter, the Raiders stormed to a 21-10 victory. Plunkett won the MVP award while Martin starred on defense with three interceptions. In the clubhouse after the game, Pete Rozelle presented the championship trophy to Al Davis in a polite ceremony which skirted the bitter feelings between the two men and which must have given Davis an extra rich taste of victory.