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In His Own Words: ex-Raider Mike Haynes on Super Bowl XVIII

In His Own Words: Raiders cornerback Mike Haynes

“We were super confident going into that game. If you remember, the Raiders lost to Washington in overtime earlier that year and Marcus Allen didn’t play in that game. I didn’t play in that game because I hadn’t gotten to Los Angeles yet from the trade from the Patriots. And in that game, Cliff Branch pulled a hamstring. Now comes a rematch in the Super Bowl and we’re all healthy. Plus, we had just beaten the Seattle Seahawks in the AFC championship game, and they looked like world-beaters and had beaten the Raiders twice that year. So we were confident.

“I remember we were locked in on every single play. Even when we got to the locker room, up 21-3 and knowing we’ve got 30 minutes left to play, guys were not in there celebrating. Everyone understood we need to go back out there and finish this game.

“Offense. Defense. Special teams, they all showed up and we got huge plays from every phase of the game. To win the Super Bowl, you need everyone to play their best games and that is what we did.

“On the 74-yard touchdown run by Marcus Allen, I saw the whole thing unfold right in front of me on the sidelines. Whenever we were in a big game and our offense was on the field, I’d be watching on the sideline, on a knee, with my helmet in my hand.

“So I remember seeing that play so clearly, and when Marcus cut back, I hadn’t seen him do that before, ever, and I’m thinking ‘Oh shoot, that guy’s going to catch him, he’s going to tackle him behind the line of scrimmage.’ Then Marcus cuts inside and he is gone, and I’m like, ‘Wow, he’s gonna score. He’s gonna score.’ But then I see a Washington player giving chase and I think Marcus is going to get caught. But Cliff Branch cuts the guy off and when I saw Cliff coming, I knew it was going to be a touchdown. Unbelievable run.

“Like a lot of guys, I left the bench to go congratulate Marcus, and the most amazing thing to me was that, even after a run like that, when most guys would be huffing and puffing, Marcus wasn’t doing any of that, at all. I remember thinking, ‘Wow, this guy could turn right around and do it again.’

“At the end of the game, I was just completely caught up in the emotion. This was my first Super Bowl win, and as it turned out my only Super Bowl championship. So I just wanted to pay attention and appreciate the moment. And for Al Davis to say what he said about us being his “greatest team,” that was so important to me. I was just in a place that I’d never been before and I remember thinking ‘This is what it’s all about. This is it.’ And I’m so glad to be here and be with these teammates.”

As told to the Review-Journal’s Vinny Bonsignore.

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