Super Bowl Stories: Mike Haynes
January 27, 2019
Photo Credit: Associated Press
“You’re a Raidah!” Said Al Davis on the phone to Mike Haynes.
Haynes, a bit confused because the trade deadline had already passed, was under the impression he would be stuck holding out on the Patriots after having played out his option the previous year.
Fortunately, after some legal action, the NFL acquiesced to the transaction that sent the All-Pro and future Hall of Famer to join Lester Hayes and the Raiders, giving them two shut-down corners.
PFRPA board member, Mike Haynes grew up in Los Angeles, so he was eager to be back home and play in front of his family. Haynes had used his size and speed to already establish himself as one of the best corners to ever play the game. He was arguably the best in his era, but his success didn’t come without a learning curve.
Talking to former NFL lineman, Brian DeMarco, on the PFRPA Podcast, Haynes recalls his welcome-to-the-NFL moment that occurred in the pre-season of his rookie year. “I was there to show-off [at training camp], to show why I got drafted in the first round. They put the ball at the 6-yard line and every Raiders receiver beat me for a touchdown.”
Originally a wide receiver himself, Haynes would learn quickly to respect each player who lined up across from him - big or small, fast or slow. That humbling experience helped developed him into an elite corner, who would eventually grab 46 career interceptions, a Super Bowl championship and a gold jacket.
"[Playing defense] You’re always either bad or great. There are no in-betweens. I’ve had some of my best games when I’ve completely shut out a guy and it goes unnoticed.”
- Mike Haynes
As we lead up to Super Bowl LIII, it’s important to note that the ‘83 Raiders are the only LA team to win a Super Bowl. The Rams won the NFL Championship in 1951, but that was during the pre-Super Bowl era. When they won Super Bowl XXXIV, they were the St. Louis Rams.
Following the strike-shortened season in 1982, when the Raiders relocated from Oakland to LA, the team dominated the AFC during the ’83 season. They particularly found success at home playing at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Their final game of the season, Super Bowl XVIII, would be played on the opposite coast in a now-demolished stadium in Tampa.
They faced the defending champion Washington Redskins, a team that had already beaten them in the regular season. The Raiders lost a high-scoring game 37-35, although they didn’t have Haynes on the field to help slow down the offensive juggernaut that was the Redskins. Washington had averaged a whopping 33.8 points a game during the regular season, breaking offensive records while also allowing the fewest rushing yards defensively. For those reasons, the Redskins were favored going in to Super Bowl XVIII.
However, the Raiders dismissed the odds and embarrassed Joe Gibbs’ team in historic fashion, including a Super Bowl record 38 points scored and a 29-point margin of victory. The upset by the black-jerseyed Raiders is what led to Super Bowl XVIII being known forever as "Black Sunday."
Haynes and Hayes dominated the Redskins' big-play receivers, holding Charlie Brown and Art Monk to just four catches combined, while Haynes nabbed an interception by QB Joe Theismann. Howie Long and Matt Millen controlled the middle of the field, hogtieing the Redskins and star John Riggins. The Raiders offense was led by QB Jim Plunkett and Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Allen, who earned MVP honors by racking up 191 yards rushing.
A team that before the in-season trade was good, thanks to Mike Haynes, became legendary!
That was a team that just won, baby.