NFL Films: NFL 1983- The Story of The 1983 Los Angeles Raiders

NFL's Bad Boys
NFL’s Bad Boys

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

I believe the 1983 Los Angeles Raiders represent everything that their creator Al Davis dreamed of on both sides of the ball. His football philosophy was all about pressure and toughness on both sides of the ball. He believed that you literally beat the hell out of your opponents on both sides of the ball to beat them. I mean you look at that defense with Howie Long and Lyle Alzado as your defensive ends. Howie Long, arguably being the best all around defensive end and perhaps defensive lineman of the 1980s.

And then you have Bill Pickel and Reggie Kinlaw inside. Who were both stout against the run and rush the quarterback as well. And then the linebackers, you’re talking Ted Hendricks, perhaps the best all around outside linebacker of all-time. Pro Bowler Matt Millen inside, Rod Martin on the other side, who perhaps should be in the Hall of Fame as well. They had two cover corner in Lester Hays and Mike Haynes. Most teams are lucky to have one.

Man for man, I believe the Raiders were better in 83 than the Chicago Bears were in 85. You argue about the numbers and stats, but I believe the 83 Raiders and the versatility of their linebackers were better than the Bears linebackers who were primarily blitzers and run stuffers. But teams don’t win the Super Bowl just with a great defense. You need at least to have a good offense that moves the ball and puts up points and doesn’t turn the ball over on a regular basis and makes the job of your defense even harder.

And the Raiders in 83 had more than that led by quarterback Jim Plunkett and the great tailback Marcus Allen. One of the top 5-10 all around running backs of all-time. And they had tight end Todd Christiansen and the great Cliff Branch on the outside as a receiver. A big strong offensive line with Bruce Davis, Charley Hannah, Mickey Marvin, Dave Dalby, who was part of all three Raiders Super Bowl championships and Henry Lawrence. Big strong mobile offensive line that was great in the running and passing games.

To me at least the 1983 Los Angeles Raiders represent what the Raiders of the 1980s should have been. They were poised and ready to replace the Pittsburgh Steelers from the 1970s as the dominant team in the NFL and I believe were in better shape and had better personal than the 1980s San Francisco 49ers who became the team of the 1980s in the NFL. And you can’t call the 1980s Raiders a failure since they did win two Super Bowls and made the AFC Playoffs five times and won three division championships. A great decade for most clubs in the NFL, but the Raiders actually underachieved.

Al Davis, almost ruined Marcus Allen’s career and not allowing his coaches to use him in the way they should which was as their premier player on offense. And they were never able to replace an aging Jim Plunkett at QB. I mean the reason why the NFC won thirteen straight Super Bowls in the 1980s and 90s, was because post-83 the Raiders slipped and became a team that was just fighting to make the playoffs every year. With the Denver Broncos taking the lead in the AFC West over the Raiders. But for one season in 83 we got to see how great the 1980s Raiders could have been.
NFL Films: NFL 1983

IronWorker Jeff: NFL Network’s America’s Game- The 1985 Chicago Bears: The Monsters of The Midway

Da Bears!
Da Bears!

Source: IronWorker Jeff: NFL Network’s America’s Game- The 1985 Chicago Bears: The Monsters of The Midway

When I look at the 1985 Chicago Bears, I see how the 1980s Bears should have been. Dominant defense, strong offensive line with a great running game that can also pass block, but with a healthy Jim McMahon a passing game as well. Pre-1985 or so all you needed was a strong run defense and a team that could score about twenty points a game or less to beat the Bears. They had Walter Payton, Roman Harper and Matt Suhey running the ball and that was basically it for their offense. Especially Payton and if they had a big game running the ball then maybe Jeff Fuller or whoever the quarterback was could hit a few passes to James Scott, or Willy Gault and Payton in the passing game.

The 85 Bears with a healthy McMahon, now had an offense to go with perhaps the best defense that the NFL has ever seen for one season in the 85 Chicago Bears and their 46 Defense. Jimmy Mc, was the difference between the Bears being a good, or very good team and a great dominant team that was perhaps better than any NFL team we’ve ever seen at least in the 1980s. But for that one season the Bears were about as good, or better than any NFL team that the NFL has ever seen. Because they had all of their parts both on defense and on offense. Mike Ditka, running the offense and Buddy Ryan running the defense. With the offense only having to come up with 14-17 points, but that could give you 25-30, even though they didn’t have to do that very often if ever.

The reason why the 1980s Bears only won one Super Bowl and the Bears haven’t won another one since is because they either couldn’t protect Jim McMahon, or he couldn’t protect himself. Or a combination of both, plus he only weighed about 190 pounds. And when you’re 6’1 and you’re playing QB in the NFL and play on Astroturf, you probably need to weigh 200 or more so you’re strong enough to take a beating every week. By when McMahon was healthy and on he was about as good as any QB in the NFL at least in 85. He was athletic and quick and had a strong accurate throwing arm. And he had a great offensive line and running game and you got to see how great the Bears back then could be in 85.

The reason why we can’t talk about the 1980s Bears like we can talk about the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers, or the 1980s San Francisco 49ers, or even the 1980s Washington Redskins that played in three Super Bowls and won two of them, is because the Bears only did it for one season. And to be that team and a dynasty you must have more than one great season. You have to win multiple Super Bowls in the same decade and have at least one great Super Bowl champion. But in 1985 for one season we got to see how great and NFL team can be on both sides of the ball for 19 games. The 18-1 Chicago Bears that only lost to the Miami Dolphins who were the last NFL franchise to go undefeated in the NFL. And the 85 Bears were real special and still are.