NFL Unforgettable Moments: Marcus Allen’s Reverse Run

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The NFL is one of the most beloved sporting leagues in the United States of America, if not the entire world. With many talented players across various teams and a devoted fan base that consistently tune in year after year, there’s something quite special about the league.

Perhaps it’s the NFL betting odds or maybe the fact that the NFL is packed full of some of the sport’s most iconic names and memorable situations that continuously draw fans back to the sport each year. 

Whatever the reason, there are unforgettable moments in football history that truly outshine the rest of the league. One of these is Marcus Allen’s 1984 reverse run. 

Read on if you want to learn more.

Rookie Season With The Raiders

Marcus Allen was an NFL player who was truly ahead of his time. 

While playing as part of the 1978 University of Southern California national championship team, Marcus Allen reached superstar status in his senior year after winning the 1981 Heisman Trophy in addition to almost every other award.

The Los Angeles Raiders drafted Allen with the tenth pick during the 1982 NFL Draft. He turned out to be an incredible draft and went on to have an explosive debut season by leading the league in terms of rushing touchdowns. As a result of this, Allen was named the 1982 Rookie of the Year.

However, it wasn’t until his next season with the Raiders that Allen began to exceed all expectations.

Super Bowl XVIII

This Super Bowl took place on January 22, 1984, and was just like any other; exciting, thrilling, and nail-biting. 

The Washington Redskins finished the previous league with a league-best 14-2 record. They also entered this game against the Raiders as the defending Super Bowl champions and National Football Conference (NFC) champions.

Los Angeles went on to outgain the Redskins in terms of total yards, achieving 385 to their 283. The Raiders eventually defeated the Redskins 38-9 which remains the most amount of points scored by a single AFC team in a Super Bowl.

The Reverse Run

The Raiders managed a 21-3 halftime advantage which was aided by a 5-yard interception return courtesy of Jack Squirek and also by touchdowns on Derrick Jensen’s recovery from a blocked punt.

But it was Raiders’ star running back Marcus Allen who truly made a huge difference during this game!

Allen took a basic off-tackle play call for 74 yards to make a rushing reverse-the-field touchdown that is still considered to be one of the all-time great runs in Super Bowl history. The play was “17 Bob Trey O” which became a staple for the Raiders throughout this season.

It was intended to be a simple power-run play that veered to the left like it had been performed before. However, Allen swung out a bit too wide and a little bit too far, which meant he had to spin away from a Washington defender.

With talented quarterback Jim Plunkett blocking on the right side, Allen was able to take the handoff from the quarterback and burst through a small hole in the heart of Washington’s defense.

With a feline quickness, Allen quickly dipped back in the opposite direction, turned the right corner, and managed to evade several of the Redskins’ tacklers. 

His run broke the 58 yards record that had previously been set and upheld by Tom Matte in Super Bowl III. Allen later added a 5-yard run to complete a 70-yard Los Angeles drive that ended the contest.

At this moment, Allen’s run ended the hopes for the Redskins as the Raiders already had a 28-9 lead before the touchdown took place.

The Aftermath

President Reagan congratulated the Raiders for their Super Bowl victory and compared Allen, their star running back, to a secret weapon. He also compared the rest of the team to a nuclear missile.


Not only did Allen gain widespread popularity for his amazing “running with the night” pass but he was also named the Super Bowl MVP. He was the third ever Heisman Trophy Winner to be granted this honor.

Overall, Allen immortalized himself as one of the best running backs in Raiders franchise history — a fact that remains true today. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003.


Marcus Allen is one of the greatest running backs in NFL history. With an unforgettable moment like the reverse run under his belt, it’s no wonder why so many people remember this talented player with such fondness!