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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Plunkett won't trade this opportunity
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

Jan. 11, 1981

Funny how things often work out in sports. During training camp, Jim Plunkett asked the Oakland Raiders to trade him because he expected to have virtually no playing time for the third straight season. But when Dan Pastorini suffered a broken leg in the fifth game, Plunkett took over and the former Heisman winner at Stanford leads the Raiders to the Super Bowl.

On the third play from scrimmage of the AFC championship game against the San Diego Chargers, Plunkett's deflected pass results in tight end Raymond Chester scoring on a 65-yard play. "If that was the way our day was going to go," Plunkett says, "that wasn't too bad."

Before the quarter is over, Plunkett scrambles five yards for another touchdown and throws a 21-yard scoring strike to halfback Kenny King as the Raiders take a 21-7 lead. Plunkett finishes with 14 completions in 18 attempts for 261 yards as the wild-card Raiders win the AFC title, 34-27, in San Diego.

"I admire the man," says Chargers quarterback Dan Fouts. "He was the difference."

In two weeks, Plunkett will be the difference again, throwing three touchdown passes in the Raiders' 27-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XV.

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