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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."

"I never tried to be cool; whether I had to crawl, run, dive, or go backwards, scoring was the goal."



Being a one-dimensional back was something Allen was adamant about never becoming. At any stage of his career, the five-time Pro Bowler and two-time First-Team All-Pro impacted the game in myriad ways as a runner and receiver and often left fans in awe.

"People would ask me, 'how did you do that?' The best answer you can ever give someone is, 'I don't know, I just did it,'" Allen said with a grin. "If somebody ever tries to give you an answer, it's B.S. — they're full of it — because a great running back isn't thinking about what he's doing; he's just doing it."

When the only running back to win a Heisman and a Super Bowl MVP offers advice like that, you listen. That's something current Raiders running back phenom Josh Jacobs knows well. Earlier this month, Jacobs divulged that he and Allen talk once a week about a variety of things, including, yes, the goal-line dive."

"[Marcus Allen's] one of the best goal-line, short-yardage runners that I've seen, that I've watched tape on," Jacobs said. "So I try to ask him, how do I mimic certain things about that too. He just gives me pointers [like] how to be a leader."

Last season, as Jacobs smashed several of Allen's franchise rookie rushing records, the NFL legend was Jacobs' biggest fan. Especially after offering fans a flashback to Allen with dominant, leaping touchdowns peppering his debut season.



While Jacobs' physical abilities have been remarkable for years, Allen has been more impressed by the kind of person he is.

"There's a lot of depth to [Josh]," Allen said. "And then to have that athletic prowess to do those things — the thing I told him before that I really admired was that he approached everything like a pro.

"Being a pro is important to me. That means giving it your undivided attention, the most important thing in your life at that particular time is practice. Showing up, practicing with meaning, playing with meaning and passion because that's who you are. Watching him, you can see that he is a pro."

"He tells me all the time, if something ain't right, don't be afraid to speak up," Jacobs added. "And if practice ain't going right, start the practice over. He's just trying to teach me how to be a pro and how to take that next step. … I'm just happy to have a great mentor like him, a Hall of Famer that is just mentoring me and taking me under his wing."

“He tells me all the time, if something ain’t right, don't be afraid to speak up.”

Jacobs has already established himself as one of the league's strongest and hardest to tackle runners. But that mentorship and the little lessons only Allen can share make the sky the limit for No. 28.

Just like Allen, he's putting in the time mentally and physically to elevate himself above the rest — both literally and figuratively.

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