1980 Oakland Raiders season

1980 Oakland Raiders season
Head coach Tom Flores
General manager Al Davis
Owner Al Davis
Home field Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum
Record 11–5
Division place 2nd AFC West
Playoff finish Won Wild Card Playoffs (Oilers) 27–7
Won Divisional Playoffs (Browns) 14–12
Won AFC Championship (Chargers) 34–27
Won Super Bowl XV (Eagles) 27–10

The 1980 Oakland Raiders season began with the team trying to improve on their 9–7 record from 1979. It was the 20th anniversary of the Oakland Raiders franchise and ended with their second Super Bowl victory. Prior to the start of the season Al Davis announced plans to move the Raiders from Oakland to Los Angeles. However, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle blocked the move by filing a restraining order. He would even try to get Al Davis removed as owner, as the case went to the courts. Still playing in Oakland the Raiders entered the season with a new Quarterback after acquiring Dan Pastorini from the Houston Oilers for Kenny Stabler. However Pastorini struggled and the Raiders got off to a 2-3 when Pastorini was injured and replaced by Jim Plunkett. Plunkett proved right for the Raiders offense as the team played solid football the rest of the season compiling an 11-5 record, and qualifying for the playoffs as a Wild Card. In the Wild Card Game the Raiders would beat the Houston Oilers 27-7 at Oakland as the Raiders defense picked former teammate Kenny Stabler off twice. Playing in freezing weather with temperature reading 30 degrees below zero the Raiders stunned the Browns 14-12 in a defensive struggle in Cleveland. In the AFC Championship Game in San Diego the game would be a shoot out as the Raiders stunned the Chargers 34-27 to become the first AFC Wild Card to make the Super Bowl.


1980 Raiders Draft Selections[1]
Round Overall Player Position College
1 15 Marc WilsonQBBrigham Young
2 43 Matt MillenLBPenn State
5 125 Kenny LewisHBVirginia Tech
5 126 John AdamsLBLSU
5 128 William BowensLBNorth Alabama
7 173 Malcolm BarnwellWRVirginia Union
8 194 Kenny HillSYale
10 231 Walter CarterDTFlorida State
11 264 Mike MasseyLBArkansas
12 322 Calvin MuhammadWRTexas Southern


Depth chart


Head Coach: Tom Flores

Ast: Ray Willsey (RB), Lew Erber (WR), Sam Boghosian (OL), Earl Leggett (DL), Charlie Sumner (LB), Chet Franklin (DB), Steve Ortmayer (ST), Bob Mischak (OfA, pro sct), Joe Madro (OfA, sct), Willie Brown (DfA)


Regular season

Five weeks into the Raiders season, starting QB Dan Pastorini broke his leg in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs. 32-year-old Jim Plunkett came off the bench to relieve Pastorini and had a terrible performance, throwing 5 interceptions in a 31–17 loss. The Raiders, thinking that Marc Wilson did not have the experience they wanted, called on Plunkett to start for the remainder of the year. In his first game as a starter, he completed eleven of fourteen passes with a touchdown and no interceptions, beginning one of the greatest comeback stories in the history of the sport. Plunkett guided Oakland to nine victories in eleven games and a playoff berth as a wild-card. Then, even more remarkably, rather than suffering an early defeat which marks the typical fate of NFL wild card teams, Plunkett led the Raiders to four playoff victories, including the Super Bowl, where they defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 27–10, in Super Bowl XV. Throwing for 261 yards and three touchdowns, Plunkett was named the game's MVP.

At wide receiver, Cliff Branch re-emerged again as one of the games deep threats and had his best season since 1977. Bob Chandler, the other WR, had one of his best seasons, leading the team in receptions (49) and TDs (10).

All – Pro veteran Raymond Chester at tight end also contributed with timely big plays throughout the year and in the post season. On defense, the Raiders were led by Lester Hayes who arguably had the best season for a cornerback in NFL history – 18 interceptions, 2 TDs in 19 games played. Oakland led the NFL in interceptions (35) and takeaways (52) and 2nd in sacks with 54. Hayes was known for using "stickum" and would have stickum all over his upper body. After the season, the NFL prohibited its use.

The Raiders' Super Bowl win was the first by an NFL wild card team and the second by a non-division champion. The Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowl IV after finishing second to the Raiders in the AFL West Division during the 1969 season.


Week Opponent Result Game site
1 at Kansas City Chiefs W 27–14 Arrowhead Stadium
2 at San Diego Chargers L 24–30 OT San Diego Stadium
3 Washington Redskins W 24–21 Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum
4 at Buffalo Bills L 7–24 Rich Stadium
5 Kansas City Chiefs L 17–31 Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum
6 San Diego Chargers W 38–24 Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum
7 at Pittsburgh Steelers W 45–34 Three Rivers Stadium
8 Seattle Seahawks W 33–14 Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum
9 Miami Dolphins W 16–10 Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum
10 Cincinnati Bengals W 28–17 Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum
11 at Seattle Seahawks W 19–17 The Kingdome
12 at Philadelphia Eagles L 7–10 Veterans Stadium
13 Denver Broncos W 9–3 Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum
14 Dallas Cowboys L 13–19 Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum
15 at Denver Broncos W 24–21 Mile High Stadium
16 at New York Giants W 33–17 Giants Stadium


AFC West
San Diego Chargers(1) 11 5 0 .688 6–2 9–3 418 327 W2
Oakland Raiders(4) 11 5 0 .688 6–2 9–3 364 306 W2
Kansas City Chiefs 8 8 0 .500 4–4 6–8 319 336 W1
Denver Broncos 8 8 0 .500 3–5 5–7 310 323 W1
Seattle Seahawks 4 12 0 .250 1–7 3–9 291 408 L9

Game summaries

Week 1: at Kansas City Chiefs

Week One: Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Raiders 7 0 14627
Chiefs 7 0 0714

at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

Week 2: San Diego Chargers

Week Two: Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers – Game summary
1 2 34OTTotal
Raiders 3 7 77024
Chargers 3 7 014630

at San Diego Stadium, San Diego

Week 3: vs. Washington Redskins

Week Three: Washington Redskins at Oakland Raiders – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Redskins 0 7 7721
Raiders 3 7 7724

at Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California

Week 4: at Buffalo Bills

Week Four: Oakland Raiders at Buffalo Bills – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Raiders 0 0 707
Bills 7 10 0724

at Rich Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

Week 5: vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Week Five: Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Chiefs 14 17 0031
Raiders 0 3 01417

at Oakland Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California

Week 6: vs. San Diego Chargers

Week Six: San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Chargers 7 3 7724
Raiders 7 10 71438

at Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California

Week 7: at Pittsburgh Steelers

Week Seven: Oakland Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Raiders 7 21 71045
Steelers 10 14 10034

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Week 8: vs. Seattle Seahawks

Week Eight: Seattle Seahawks at Oakland Raiders – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Seahawks 0 0 01414
Raiders 3 3 101733

at Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California

Week 9: vs. Miami Dolphins

Week Nine: Miami Dolphins at Oakland Raiders – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Dolphins 0 3 7010
Raiders 6 10 0016

at Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California

Week 10: vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Week Ten: Cincinnati Bengals at Oakland Raiders – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Bengals 3 7 0717
Raiders 0 14 7728

at Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California

Week 11: at Seattle Seahawks

Week Eleven: Oakland Raiders at Seattle Seahawks – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Raiders 0 0 71219
Seahawks 0 7 7317

at The Kingdome, Seattle, Washington

Week 12: at Philadelphia Eagles

Week Twelve: Oakland Raiders at Philadelphia Eagles – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Raiders 0 0 077
Eagles 0 0 3710

at Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia

Week 13: vs. Denver Broncos

Week Thirteen: Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Broncos 3 0 003
Raiders 0 0 639

at Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California

Week 14: vs. Dallas Cowboys

Week Fourteen: Dallas Cowboys at Oakland Raiders – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Cowboys 7 9 3019
Raiders 7 3 3013

at Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California

Dallas cornerback Aaron Mitchell intercepted Jim Plunkett in the end zone with 1:44 remaining to seal the victory.[3]

Week 15: at Denver Broncos

Week Fifteen: Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Raiders 7 10 0724
Broncos 0 7 7721

at Mile High Stadium, Denver, Colorado

Week 16: at New York Giants

Week Sixteen: Oakland Raiders at New York Giants – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Raiders 10 10 7633
Giants 0 10 0717

at Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

The Raiders clinched a wild card spot and a home playoff game with the win over the Giants. Oakland was now 9–2 since Jim Plunkett had taken over as the team's starting quarterback.[4] "I'm not really amazed", Plunkett said. "I felt that this team had a chance to make it into the playoffs. I'm just thankful I had these opportunities to play. I just kept plugging away and I think it turned out OK."[5]

Chris Bahr opened scoring midway through the first quarter with a 41-yard field goal. Ted Hendricks blocked Dave Jennings' punt and Jeff Barnes fell on the ball at the New York 11 on the ensuing possession. Two plays later, Arthur Whittington swept around right end for Oakland's first score.[6]

Three plays into the Giants' next drive, Gary Shirk caught a Scott Brunner pass but fumbled it away. Luckily, the Raiders couldn't capitalize as Bahr's 52-yard field goal attempt was short.[6]

A Joe Danelo field goal put New York on the scoreboard but Plunkett completed passes of 12 and 11 yards to Bob Chandler before finding Cliff Branch caught a pass between Eric Felton and Steve Henry at the Giants' 10 and strode in to give Oakland a 17–3 lead with 6:29 left in the first half. Three plays following the kickoff, Lester Hayes picked off Brunner and returned it 50 yards to the New York 19. The Raiders failed to move and Bahr kicked a 38-yard field goal to increase the lead to 20–3 with 2:55 left.[6]

New York scored their first touchdown on a touchdown pass from Scott Brunner to Leon Perry before halftime but Oakland took control on a 37-yard bomb from Plunkett to Raymond Chester late in the third quarter. Billy Taylor scored in the closing seconds following a pass interference penalty by Hayes in the end zone but an onside kick attempt by Joe Danelo went right to Derrick Jensen, who sprinted into the end zone.[6]



Week Opponent Result Game site Notes
Wild Card Houston Oilers W 27–7 Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum AFC Wild Card
Divisional at Cleveland Browns W 14–12 Cleveland Stadium AFC Divisional
Conference at San Diego Chargers W 34–27 San Diego Stadium AFC Championship
Super Bowl Philadelphia Eagles W 27–10 Louisiana Superdome Super Bowl XV


Game summaries

Wild Card

Wild Card: Houston Oilers at Oakland Raiders – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Oilers 7 0 007
Raiders 3 7 01727

at Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California


Divisional Round: Oakland Raiders at Cleveland Brown – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Raiders 0 7 0714
Browns 0 6 6012

at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

AFC Championship

AFC Championship Game: Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Raiders 21 7 3334
Chargers 7 7 10327

at San Diego Stadium, San Diego

Super Bowl

Super Bowl XV: Oakland Raiders vs. Philadelphia Eagles – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Raiders 14 0 10327
Eagles 0 3 0710

at Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans



  1. "1980 NFL Draft at databaseFootball.com".
  2. Raiders coaches – Silver and Black Report
  3. "Dallas Downs Oakland." The Robesonian (Lumberton, N.C.) December 8, 1980. p. 2B.
  4. "Plunkett in control; Raiders back on top." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. December 22, 1980
  5. "Raiders Whip Giants to Clinch Playoff Berth." Palm Beach Post. December 22, 1980.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 ^
  7. Pro-Football-Reference.com
  8. 1980 Oakland Raiders season at databaseFootball.com
  9. NFL.com. Retrieved November 20, 2011.

External links

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