The Patriot Connection – The Bizarre Signing From the Patriots That Lead the Raiders to Winning Super Bowl XVIII 

This year is the 40th anniversary of the Raiders last Super Bowl win in 1983 so I will be writing many articles on that team this year. 

In 1978 and 1979 the Raiders had missed the playoffs two straight seasons ending each at 9-7. They revamped the team in 1980 and won a Super Bowl. A major part in that Super Bowl was signing Jim Plunkett, a former number 1 overall pick of the Patriots off the scrap heap in 1978 letting him sit for two years then coming off the bench in 1980 to lead them to the Super Bowl. 

The Raiders were again a contender in 1983. They had come off a fantastic 1982 season where they were the best team in football during the regular season amassing an 8-1 record. However, they were upset by a very good Jets team in the playoffs (the infamous Lyle Alzado throwing a helmet at a Jets offensive lineman game, which later became a NFL rule). 

In 1983 the Raiders got off to a strange start. Plunkett went down injured, Marcus Allen could not stop fumbling and they lost a few high scoring games. The defence was somewhat struggling; they had allowed 34 or more points in 4 games (granted one was due to a massive amount of turnovers against the Seahawks) and lost 3 of them. In a win against Dallas and a loss to Washington, the two best teams in the NFC, both teams threw the ball up and down the field on the Raiders and scored a total of 75 points in those two games.

A major issue with the Raiders defence was there no true starting corner playing across from Mike Haynes. Ted Watts was a solid number three CB but was getting picked on as a starter. Otis Mckenny was a solid ST player and backup CB but again no starter. 

Bring into the fold Mike Haynes. Haynes had been a former 5th overall draft pick of the Patriots and one of the premier cornerbacks in the NFL. He was Deion Sanders before Deion possessing speed, lock down abilities and the ability to make plays once he got the ball. Like Deion he returned punts and averaged over 10 yards a punt return with 2 touchdowns on over 100 punt returns with the Patriots.

Haynes was in a very strange contract situation. This was pre free agency and the Patriots claimed to signed him. At that time the Patriots were an average team going 5-4 in 1982 and making the expanded playoff format during the strike shortened 1982 season. In 1983 the Patriots would finish 8-8. However, Haynes wanted to play for a championship contender so he would not sign with the Pats. The Raiders laid a claim to the same contract and won an arbitration, which awarded them Haynes for a first round pick in 1984 and second round pick in 1985. Well worth compensation for one of the great CBs in NFL history. 

The acquisition was immediately positive with the Raiders winning 4 of their last 5 games giving up 14 or less points in 3 of those games after Haynes joined the team. 

Where it really paid dividends was in the playoffs. The Raiders defence laid waste to Pittsburgh and Seattle in the divisional playoff round and conference final as both teams were forced to throw away from Haynes and at Lester Hayes who picked off a ball in each game (including a pick 6 in the Pittsburgh game).  

In the Super Bowl the Raiders were able to lock down Charlie Brown and Art Monk (the best 1-2 WR duo in the NFL in 1983) with simple man on man coverage from Haynes and Hayes. This allowed them to blitz and pressure Joe Theisman and stack the box to stuff John Riggins. Theisman was sacked 6 times, threw 2 ints and lost a fumble. Riggins gained only 64 yards on 26 carries. Haynes had 2 passes defences and picked off Theisman. 

The Raiders were completely dominant during that playoff run beating the Steelers, Seahawks and Redskins by a combined 102-33, including allowing only 9 points to Washington who had set a NFL record for points scored that season! 

So a strange signing where the Raiders matched the Patriots contract then were awarded Haynes ended up resulting in the last Raiders Buper Bowl win!