Remembering when Ronald Reagan compared the Raiders Super Bowl team to WMDs

November 27, 2020 - Oakland, CA, USA - Oakland Raiders fans in The Black Hole section of the stadium are ready for the team’s game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, Calif. The Raiders defeated the Panthers 35-32 (Photo by Jeff Siner/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire)

With the Super Bowl right around the corner, we are remembering some of the good, bad and just flat out entertaining Super Bowl moments in Raiders history. We’ve already discussed a guy who should have won the MVP in Super Bowl XV and some of the forgotten stars of Super Bowls past. Now we remember a fun story about that time Ronald Reagan compared the Raiders to weapons of mass destruction.

The Los Angeles Raiders destroyed Reagan’s “hometown” Washington Redskins by a 38-9 score but the artistry of running back Marcus Allen stole the show. Allen carried the ball 20 times for a then-record total of 191 yards and two touchdowns.  He also added 2 receptions for 18 yards and he scored on a then-record 74-yard run in the third quarter.

President Reagan witnessed the entire performance from his easy chair at the White House and he was so impressed with the Raiders runner that he had to let the world know.  Reagan loved the spotlight, he was an actor by trade and he was unafraid of being in front of millions of people and performing.   Perhaps Reagan felt a kinship with Allen because Marcus was so relaxed when he ran the football.  Reagan loved big-time performances in big moments and the Super Bowl was the biggest stage in the world.  After the game he phoned the Super Bowl winners and he spoke with Raiders head coach Tom Flores regarding Allen’s performance.

The President. Coach Tom Flores?

Coach Flores. Yes, Mr. President.

The President. Congratulations. That was a wonderful win tonight. I just think you ought to know, though, that you’ve given me some problems. I have already had a call from Moscow. They think that Marcus Allen is a new secret weapon and they insist that we dismantle it. [Laughter] Now, they’ve given me an idea about that team that I just saw there of yours. If you’d turn them over to us, we’d put them in silos and we wouldn’t have to build the MX missile. [Laughter] But it’s been great. You proved tonight that a good defense can also be a pretty good offense.

Coach Flores. Well, thank you, Mr. President. I really appreciate it. We played a good game tonight. Our players were just tremendous in every phase. We totally dominated. I think we proved to the whole world that the silver and black is the best team.

The President. Well, you certainly were from what we saw out there on the field tonight. And, again, my congratulations to you. God bless all of you. And there isn’t anything that I could say that would make you any happier than you all must be.

Coach Flores. Well, thank you. I wish you were here to enjoy it with us, but I appreciate your call. Thank you very much.

The President. You bet.

Citation: Ronald Reagan: “Remarks by Telephone With Coach Tom Flores of the Los Angeles Raiders Following Super Bowl XVIII ,” January 22, 1984. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.

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