Thirty-five years later, Bo Jackson’s legendary 91-yard tunnel run is vividly remembered by all who attended

When Tampa Bay drafted him against his stated wishes, he decided to play professional baseball. He was again qualified for the NFL draft the following year, but teams turned him in, presumably believing he was committed to baseball. Raiders owner Al Davis took the chance and selected him in the seventh round. Then he was able to sign him after agreeing he could play football and baseball.

Jackson joined the Raiders midway through the 1987 season, which was a soft period for the franchise. The Raiders had won their first two games, but a league-wide players’ strike ensued, and the team lost two of three games while using substitutes. Los Angeles was 3-2 when regulars returned after the strike ended, and a simmering feud between Davis and Allen, a former league MVP and All-Pro, had yet to be resolved.

Enter Jackson, whose first game with the team came in Week 8, in the midst of a seven-game losing streak.

“We knew he was drafted but we didn’t think much about it because we were on strike,” Lofton said. “You don’t watch college football when you’re in the NFL; Saturday is a travel day, and it wasn’t like you could pick up an Auburn game anywhere in the country like you can now. I picked him out before his first practice at his apartment because his car had yet to be delivered and I’m not a super talkative guy and he doesn’t really say anything. We go out onto the field and he doesn’t know the pieces, so his very first game, we run something easy, throw right.

“I’m behind the huddle and — I’ve been on the USA Track Team and been with all these Olympians, including fast guys from the Raiders — when they threw the ball to Bo, I’ve never seen anyone before or after in my life like that.” ran fast. I remember looking at Marcus and thinking: There goes your work. It was kind of, you know, how we see Derrick Henry now, and when he gets to the line there’s this big wave. Well, with Bo, it was just so big rush! as he turned the corner.”

Wilson took note of this as well.

“For quarterbacks, even on running plays, there’s a rhythm to the game,” he said. “You get the ball and in most cases you turn around, put out your hand, get the mesh point and pass. It’s pretty consistent; High school or college, there really isn’t much of a difference. But the first time I passed Ab to Bo, that was very different, Bo could get up to speed so fast you had to hurry or you missed him and you got stuck on the ball and had to do something with it that you could in pick up speed two or three paces and he flew.”


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