Nnamdi Asomugha: Why the Patriots Payback on the Raiders Should Start Here

History is a cycle, something that the National Football League experiences more often than most observers care to recall or acknowledge.

Learning from the past doesn't always make for a better future, but it can typically steer the participants away from certain avenues previously proven unwise.

In 1982, a six-time Pro Bowl cornerback had his contract expire with the New England Patriots. He had won the 1976 Defensive Rookie of the Year Award and had snared 28 interceptions with 11 fumble recoveries in his seven seasons.

Not only was he considered one of the very best players at his position that season, an induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame was also in his future.

Mike Haynes played in an era before free agency, but he was not returning to New England. The team's owner was well known for not paying his players on scale and would later lose such key players like offensive tackle Leon Gray because of his stance on players' salaries.

Haynes had been teaming with Raymond Clayborn to give New England the very best pair of cornerbacks in the league and the team a top-notch defense. They were drafted in the first round in consecutive seasons by the Patriots and had grown together over the years. Clayborn finished his career a Patriots legend who went to three Pro Bowls and picked off 36 passes in 13 years with the team.

Al Davis, the Hall of Fame owner of the Raiders, knew that Haynes was just what his team needed. Lester Hayes was the star cornerback of the team, having just been named to the second of five consecutive Pro Bowl games. Davis realized this would give him the best set of cornerbacks in the NFL and Raiders history.

Giving up a first and second-round draft pick to New England, the Raiders acquired Haynes and then promptly went on to win Super Bowl XVIII that year as Haynes and Hayes dominated opponents. Haynes intercepted a ball in the Super Bowl win. He l...

About the Author