Marcus Allen Super Bowl

As a kid there were two things that I would watch endlessly if my parents plopped me down in front of the television: Julia Child and football. While I still don’t quite understand my fascination with the famous French cook, my love of football can in many ways be traced to Marcus Allen — including his Super Bowl XVIII touchdown run for 74 yards. I was only two when the run actually happened, but as I aged it seemed that every year the Super Bowl came around that clip would find its way into the network’s promotional footage. To this day I shake my head in awe when I see it. In many respects it was the “perfect” run and a metaphor for life.

Marcus Allen was given the ball on the biggest stage and told to run with it to the end zone. He met a wall, so he reversed course. As he did so, he found himself in the middle of a mess of moving obstacles all honed in on stopping him from achieving his goal. Instead of falling down he accelerated forward, gracefully weaving through his adversaries into the open. As daylight approached, he knew he that he still had far to go and that his pursuers would be hot on his heels. It was off to the races, and with steely determination he sprinted to his final destination without anyone else laying a finger on him.

Perhaps Allen says it best:

“That was a beautiful run and it turned out to be a beautiful career. And yes, I did reverse field sometimes. […] but in the end I ended up where I wanted to end up.” —Marcus Allen

As a kid, every time I touched the football I believed I could score, and on some level that confidence was cultivated by watching men like Marcus Allen exhibit greatness on the most elite level. When sports stars try and say they’re not role models, they’re lying to themselves. Whether they like it or not — they are. Kids will mimic the adults in their life; I just happened to have a lot of good ones around, whether it was my own parents or Hall of Fame running backs on television like Marcus Allen. Oddly enough, I even ended up going to his alma mater, USC, as an adult…

If you’re a football fan, look into Marcus Allen. His career is fascinating, especially when one considers that Al Davis did everything within his power to sabotage it while Marcus was in his prime. That, too Mr. Allen handled with grace.

I missed Marcus Allen’s induction into the Hall of Fame, but one day I’ll get to Canton, Ohio. When I do, Marcus’ section will be the first I visit.

Coach Tom Flores, I have already had a call from Moscow. They think that Marcus Allen is a new secret weapon and they insist we dismantle it.
“Coach Tom Flores, I have already had a call from Moscow. They think that Marcus Allen is a new secret weapon and they insist we dismantle it.” — President Ronald Reagan
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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

8 comments

  1. I’ll never be a raider fan after they beat my Eagles in the Super Bowl when I was little! (family in pennslyvania, I’m not a native Denver person). But that was one of the greatest runs I’ve ever seen, and anytime I got the ball in a pickup game, I envisioned myself doing what Marcus did…..but I can’t, or I would have progressed past pickup games. I never could figure out why Al Davis had such acrimony towards Marcus in the end, guys like that don’t come around often.

    1. I think I read somewhere that Al Davis said Marcus was trying to become bigger than the team … or something weird like that. It makes no sense. I don’t even understand if Marcus got it. I remember as a kid watching a few games where Marcus was essentially benched and I kept wondering, “Why? What did he do?” I know that Bo Jackson was obviously a star, but they’d cut to shots of Marcus on the sidelines and the announcers would say something or other, and even as a kid I knew something wasn’t right.

      I know it sounds weird, but I vaguely remember watching that halftime interview with him on Monday night football where he let the cat out of the bag. I don’t want to go on a mega-Al Davis rant because he’s dead, but that moved soured me on the Raiders organization. It was mean and vindictive and that was the first time I really witnessed that sort of thing in sports.

    2. I primarily remember him as a member of the Chiefs myself, since I wasn’t alive during his Raider days of the 1980s. He left Oakland for Kansas City because of his conflict with Davis, I think… I’m not sure if they ever mended fences.

    3. Haha. Well, I’m pretty sure Davis would have needed to live a couple hundred more years for that fence to be mended. I used to be a Raiders fan, but what Davis did to Marcus Allen was beyond the pale. I renounced the Raiders and followed Marcus to the Chiefs. Once he retired … I didn’t really have a team. I still don’t really have one specific team I root for. I generally find a few players who interest me and then follow them.

    4. Haha, Carl- you make me feel old! 😊. I remember the pre-Marcus Raiders! What was amazing was that by Doug’s clip you can see how good Marcus was at the tail/half back position, yet he had a fullback’s nose for the end zone. Since he was older on the Chiefs he didn’t run all the time, so they’d stick him in short yardage goal line situations and he’d score constantly.

      Football to me is like comics for you guys, I can go on forever; but to Doug’s point: adaptability, perseverance, strength, and grace on his exit from the raiders; definitely a good metaphor for life!

      Enjoy Peterson while you can up in Minnesota, like I said those guys don’t come around often. I know he’s had some dicey off field stuff; but he is a great player. He’ll be at roughly 1400-1500 yards this year, with a string of annoying injuries and the line stacked against him every down; I haven’t seen that since Walter Payton.

    5. Peterson is fun to watch. The guy is a beast. I make sure to hit up Vikings highlights every week just to see what he’s done.

      One thing I didn’t really drive home in the Marcus post was his adaptability. He could run, but he also had good hands, he was a solid blocker, and he could actually pass! He had a number of passing touchdowns in his career, which is pretty cool for a running back. He really was the full package, in my book.

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