1980 Oakland Raiders season
OwnerAl Davis
General managerAl Davis
Head coachTom Flores
Home fieldOakland–Alameda County Coliseum
Division place2nd AFC West
Playoff finishWon Wild Card Playoffs
(vs. Oilers) 27–7
Won Divisional Playoffs
(at Browns) 14–12
Won AFC Championship
(at Chargers) 34–27
Won Super Bowl XV
(vs. Eagles) 27–10

The 1980 season was the Oakland Raiders' 21st since they were founded, their 11th in the National Football League (NFL) and their second under head coach Tom Flores.

The team improved on their 9–7 record from 1979 to an 11–5 record, and ended with their second Super Bowl victory. In 1979, Raiders owner Al Davis announced his intention to move the Raiders to Los Angeles. Negotiations between Davis and the Oakland Coliseum regarding potential improvements to the facility came to an end in February 1980. At the NFL's annual meeting on March 10, 1980, team owners voted 22-0 against allowing the move, with the Raiders not participating and five teams abstaining. Davis announced he would ignore the vote and move the team anyway.[1]

The Raiders played the entire 1980 season in Oakland. At a Monday Night Football game against the Denver Broncos on December 1, 1980, Raiders fans protested by entering the Oakland Coliseum five minutes after the start of the game and holding up signs stating "Save Our Raiders" at each half's 2-minute warning. By some estimates, "almost two-thirds" of the Coliseum's seats had been empty at the game's kickoff.[1]

The announced move was involved in four lawsuits: the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission sued the NFL charging antitrust violations, the NFL sued the Raiders charging breach of contract, Raider season ticket holders filed a class-action lawsuit, and the City of Oakland filed for eminent domain of the team.[1] It wouldn’t be the only controversial event the team was involved in, as Lester Hayes’ use of stickum for competitive advantage reached its head during the season, leading to the substance’s banning the next season in what was dubbed the “Lester Hayes Rule”. Hayes, along with other NFL players such as Hall of Fame wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff, had used the substance in years past to assist in intercepting, catching and to disrupt opposing quarterbacks’ passing ability.[2]

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 start when Pastorini was injured and replaced by Jim Plunkett. Plunkett proved right for the Raiders offense. The defense led the league in interceptions (35), turnovers (52) and yards per carry (3.4 YPA). Lester Hayes led the NFL with 13 interceptions. The team won 6 straight 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 off former teammate Kenny Stabler twice. Playing in freezing weather with the temperature reading 2 °F (−17 °C), 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. Highlighted by Jim Plunkett's MVP performance and Rod Martin's 3 interceptions, the Raiders defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 27–10 in Super Bowl XV.


NFL draft

Main article: 1980 NFL Draft

1980 Oakland Raiders draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 15 Marc Wilson  Quarterback BYU
2 43 Matt Millen *  Linebacker Penn State
5 125 Kenny Lewis  Running back Virginia Tech
5 126 John Adams  Linebacker LSU
5 128 William Bowens  Linebacker North Alabama
7 173 Malcolm Barnwell  Wide receiver Virginia Union Made roster in 1981.
8 194 Kenny Hill  Defensive back Yale Made roster in 1981.
10 264 Walter Carter  Defensive end Florida State
11 291 Mike Massey  Linebacker Arkansas
12 322 Calvin Muhammad  Wide receiver Texas Southern Made roster in 1982.
      Made roster    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career



1980 Oakland Raiders roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists

Practice squad

Rookies in italics

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)


Season summary

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.[citation needed]

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 Date Opponent Result Record Venue Recap
1 August 9 at San Francisco 49ers L 14–33 0–1 Candlestick Park Recap
2 August 16 New England Patriots W 31–29 1–1 Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Recap
3 August 23 at Washington Redskins L 17–34 1–2 RFK Stadium Recap
4 August 30 Philadelphia Eagles W 24–23 2–2 Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Recap

Regular season


Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Recap
1 September 7 at Kansas City Chiefs W 27–14 1–0 Arrowhead Stadium Recap
2 September 14 at San Diego Chargers L 24–30 (OT) 1–1 San Diego Stadium Recap
3 September 21 Washington Redskins W 24–21 2–1 Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Recap
4 September 28 at Buffalo Bills L 7–24 2–2 Rich Stadium Recap
5 October 5 Kansas City Chiefs L 17–31 2–3 Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Recap
6 October 12 San Diego Chargers W 38–24 3–3 Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Recap
7 October 20 at Pittsburgh Steelers W 45–34 4–3 Three Rivers Stadium Recap
8 October 26 Seattle Seahawks W 33–14 5–3 Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Recap
9 November 2 Miami Dolphins W 16–10 6–3 Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Recap
10 November 9 Cincinnati Bengals W 28–17 7–3 Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Recap
11 November 17 at Seattle Seahawks W 19–17 8–3 Kingdome Recap
12 November 23 at Philadelphia Eagles L 7–10 8–4 Veterans Stadium Recap
13 December 1 Denver Broncos W 9–3 9–4 Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Recap
14 December 7 Dallas Cowboys L 13–19 9–5 Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Recap
15 December 14 at Denver Broncos W 24–21 10–5 Mile High Stadium Recap
16 December 21 at New York Giants W 33–17 11–5 Giants Stadium Recap
Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.


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 (0–0) at Kansas City Chiefs (0–0)
Period 1 2 34Total
Raiders 7 0 14627
Chiefs 7 0 0714

at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

Game information

Week 2: San Diego Chargers

See also: 1980 San Diego Chargers season

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

at San Diego Stadium, San Diego

Week 3: vs. Washington Redskins

See also: 1980 Washington Redskins season

Week Three: Washington Redskins at Oakland Raiders – Game summary
Period 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 (2–1) at Buffalo Bills (3–0)
Period 1 2 34Total
Raiders 0 0 707
Bills 7 10 0724

at Rich Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

Game information

Week 5: vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Week Five: Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders – Game summary
Period 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
Period 1 2 34Total
Chargers 7 3 7724
Raiders 7 10 71438

at Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California

Week 7: at Pittsburgh Steelers

See also: 1980 Pittsburgh Steelers season and Monday Night Football

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

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Week 8: vs. Seattle Seahawks

See also: 1980 Seattle Seahawks season

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

at Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California

Week 9: vs. Miami Dolphins

See also: 1980 Miami Dolphins season

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

at Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California

Week 10: vs. Cincinnati Bengals

See also: 1980 Cincinnati Bengals season

Week Ten: Cincinnati Bengals at Oakland Raiders – Game summary
Period 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
Period 1 2 34Total
Raiders 0 0 71219
Seahawks 0 7 7317

at The Kingdome, Seattle, Washington

Week 12: at Philadelphia Eagles

See also: 1980 Philadelphia Eagles season

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

at Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia

Week 13: vs. Denver Broncos

See also: 1980 Denver Broncos season

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

at Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California

Week 14: vs. Dallas Cowboys

See also: 1980 Dallas Cowboys season

Week Fourteen: Dallas Cowboys at Oakland Raiders – Game summary
Period 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.[4]

Week 15: at Denver Broncos

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

at Mile High Stadium, Denver, Colorado

Week 16: at New York Giants

See also: 1980 New York Giants season

Week Sixteen: Oakland Raiders at New York Giants – Game summary
Period 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.[5] "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."[6]

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.[7]

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.[7]

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.[7]

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.[7]



Round Date Opponent (Seed) Result Record Venue Recap
Wild Card December 28 Houston Oilers (5) W 27–7 1–0 Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Recap
Divisional January 4 at Cleveland Browns (2) W 14–12 2–0 Cleveland Stadium Recap
Conference January 11 at San Diego Chargers (1) W 34–27 3–0 San Diego Stadium Recap
Super Bowl XV January 25 Philadelphia Eagles (N2) W 27–10 4–0 Louisiana Superdome Recap


Game summaries

Wild card

See also: 1980 Houston Oilers season

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

at Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California


See also: 1980 Cleveland Browns season and Red Right 88

Divisional Round: Oakland Raiders at Cleveland Browns – Game summary
Period 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
Period 1 2 34Total
Raiders 21 7 3334
Chargers 7 7 10327

at San Diego Stadium, San Diego

Super Bowl

Main article: Super Bowl XV

See also: 1980 Philadelphia Eagles season

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

at Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans



  1. ^ a b c Raiders fans reliving the Los Angeles nightmare, The Press Democrat, Phil Barber, Dec. 14, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "1980 Oakland Raiders Draftees". Pro Football Reference. Retrieved May 14, 2022.
  3. ^ "Raiders coaches – Silver and Black Report". Archived from the original on April 18, 2010. Retrieved December 23, 2010.
  4. ^ "Dallas Downs Oakland." The Robesonian (Lumberton, N.C.) December 8, 1980. p. 2B.
  5. ^ "Plunkett in control; Raiders back on top." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. December 22, 1980
  6. ^ "Raiders Whip Giants to Clinch Playoff Berth." Palm Beach Post. December 22, 1980.
  7. ^ a b c d e ^
  8. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com
  9. ^ 1980 Oakland Raiders season at databaseFootball.com Archived April 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ NFL.com. Retrieved November 20, 2011.