A Look Back At—Jim Plunkett

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Jim Plunkett won the Heisman Trophy in 1970 at Stanford and was the #1 overall selection in the 1971 NFL Draft. He joined the Raiders in 1978 and led the Silver and Black to two World Championships of Professional Football with victories in Super Bowls XV and XVIII. Plunkett was named Most Valuable Player in Super Bowl XV, a 27-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. He set a then-record with an 80-yard touchdown pass to RB Kenny King. He was also named the Comeback Player of the Year in 1980. The San Jose, Calif.,-native finished his illustrious playing career in 1986 ranked #4 on the Raiders all-time passing list with 12,665 yards and 80 touchdowns through the air. Plunkett was inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.

SVT: Who were some of your favorite teammates?

Jim Plunkett: Dave Dalby, there’s no question about it. I also enjoyed playing with Bobby Chandler and Rich Martini. Lester Hayes was a fun guy to hang around.

SVT: Are there any former teammates of yours that you feel should be in the Hall of Fame

Jim Plunkett: I think there are quite a few; obviously Cliff Branch would be one of them. I think Raymond Chester will get there. Dalby did a great job playing center for the Raiders, three Super Bowls worth, he should have a consideration.

SVT: What was the most memorable game for you when you played for the Raiders?

Jim Plunkett: There were so many but I think that first Super Bowl, there’s no question about it. After 10 years in the league, and two years sitting on the bench behind Kenny Stabler and finally getting my opportunity to win a Super Bowl. The way we won it as a wildcard team and being the first wildcard team to not only get there but to win the Super Bowl.

SVT: Is there one play that you can remember from your career?

Jim Plunkett: Not one particular play, there have been so many that have been big plays through the course of my career that I can’t latch onto any one in particular.

SVT: Which team did you like playing against the most?

Jim Plunkett: I always enjoyed playing against the better teams in the league to see if we could knock them off if we were the underdog especially when I was in New England and San Francisco. You step on the field with the Raiders they expect to win every time, that was a great feeling that I hadn’t experienced when I was with those other teams because there was so much doubt they didn’t have the kind of confidence that the Raider players did.

SVT: Can you describe what it was like to win the Super Bowl?

Jim Plunkett: It’s been so long but you certainly are filled with emotion. It’s something you shoot for as a professional football player. Your ultimate goal is to get to the Super Bowl and win it and I finally got to experience that and it was a great feeling.

SVT: What was your favorite stadium to play in, other than home?

Jim Plunkett: Always at home, if I was at New England it was at home, if I was at San Francisco it was at home. There’s a certain amount of comfort level that you feel when you’re playing in your own stadium.

SVT: Can you compare today’s game to your playing experience?

Jim Plunkett: I played into the age of specialization where on each down you’d have different players in so I got to see all of that, not quite to the degree that Raiders do today. They shuffle players literally every down, which requires some work by the quarterback to stay on top of things.

SVT: What are your impressions of Raiders fans both past and present?

Jim Plunkett: There’s not a greater group of fans than Raider fans. In the old days when I first came to the Raiders you could walk out of the Coliseum and literally you could almost name everybody by their first name. That sense of community and that kind of feeling, it’s a little different now, the stadium is bigger and there’s a different fan base but all in all you can’t beat the Raider fans.

SVT: Can you describe what it was like playing for Coach Flores?

Jim Plunkett: I enjoyed it, we got along well, we had our own head to head battles where he’d want to do one thing and I’d want to do another. He did a very fine job, took us to two Super Bowls that we won. He prepared us for each and every game and it was up to us to get the job done.

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