By KYLE MARTIN | Lead Digital Content Producer
Walter Payton may have popularized going airborne over a pile of linemen on the goal line.
But Marcus Allen perfected it.
Throughout his illustrious 16-year NFL career, the Raiders legend scored more than 120 touchdowns in a seemingly limitless variety of ways. If it helped his team win, Allen did it, whether it was on the ground, tossing a sneaky halfback pass, or, yes, skying into the end zone.
"Diving over the goal line was kind of a by-any-means necessary thing," Allen told Raiders.com.
Nowadays, it's common to see running back coil his legs and launch himself over across the plane for a touchdown. But in the late '70s, it was a little more rare. One place you could find it back then was on an iconic campus in Los Angeles.
"I really learned it from Charles White at USC," Allen said. "We'd practice going over the top. … I noticed there were a lot of guys submarining at the line of scrimmage trying to get underneath the linemen, and really there weren't many running lanes, so I just did it."
As linebackers started to catch on to the athletic maneuver, executing the leap became more challenging. But Allen knew that as long as the line of scrimmage held, he'd find his way in the end zone.
"The bottom line was score," Allen said. "I remember the great Jim Brown said, 'Don't be cool.' I never tried to be cool; whether I had to crawl, run, dive, or go backwards, scoring was the goal. It certainly does look pretty when you dive over — it looks good."
"I remember I could fly."