Ottis Anderson
Ottis Anderson.jpg
No. 32, 24     
Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1957-01-19) January 19, 1957 (age 63)
Place of birth: West Palm Beach, Florida
Career information
College: Miami (FL)
NFL Draft: 1979 / Round: 1 / Pick: 8
Debuted in 1979 for the St. Louis Cardinals (NFL)
Last played in 1992 for the New York Giants
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Rushing yards     10,273
Average     4.0
Touchdowns     86
Stats at

Ottis Jerome "O.J." Anderson (born January 19, 1957) is a former American football running back. He was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press (AP) with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1979, and the MVP of Super Bowl XXV in 1991 when playing with the New York Giants. He played college football at the University of Miami.

Early life through collegeEdit

Anderson was born and raised in West Palm Beach, Florida. He was a football and track star at Forest Hill High School in West Palm Beach, Florida before graduating in 1975. He went on to attend the University of Miami on a full athletic scholarship and earned a degree in Physical Education. During his college career, Anderson broke Chuck Foreman’s career rushing records at the University of Miami, becoming the first player to rush for more than 1,000 yards in the school’s history his senior year with 1,266 yards. He was named The Sporting News and the American Football Coaches First Team All-American and received All-American honorable mentions by both AP and UPI and graduated in 1979 as the team's all-time leading rusher with 3,331 yards.[1]


Year Carries Rushing Yards Rushing TDs Catches Receiving Yards Receiving TDs
1975 67 365 0 11 128 1
1976 213 918 0 10 121 0
1977 187 782 1 20 243 3
1978 224 1266 0 14 47 0

Professional careerEdit

Anderson was selected in the first round of the 1979 NFL Draft, the 8th overall pick, by the St. Louis Cardinals.[1] He had what was probably the greatest first game in NFL history when he rushed for 193 yards. His single season 1,605 rushing yard performance[2] was one of the few bright spots in the Cardinals' 1979 season, when they finished 5-11. He earned the first of back-to-back Pro Bowl selections that year.

In his first six seasons, Anderson rushed for over 1,000 yards in five seasons. The lone exception was in the 1982 strike-shortened season, when he rushed for 587 yards in eight games, and was on pace for well over 1,000 yards, if 1982 were a full 16 game season.[2]

The Cardinals made the playoffs in 1982, thanks to an expanded field due to the brevity of the season. It was the franchise's first postseason appearance since 1975 and last until 1998. Anderson rushed for 58 yards on eight carries against the Green Bay Packers in the team's lone playoff game.

Injuries drastically decreased the number of games Anderson played each season, and his explosiveness as a tailback. After a year and a half, Stump Mitchell emerged as the Cards' top running back, and the expendable Anderson was traded to the New York Giants in the middle of the 1986 season.[1] He ended up deep in the Giants' depth chart. By this time in his career, it was clear that he was better used in goal line or short yardage situations. Anderson would rush for only six yards on seven carries in the 1986 playoffs, but did score a rushing touchdown in the Giants' victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI.

In his first two and a half seasons with New York, Anderson did not fumble once in his 100 offensive touches. In 1989, Anderson become the top running back for Bill Parcells' ball control offense and was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year. He scored a career high 14 rushing touchdowns, and rushed for 1,023 yards on 325 carries. He was also the top running back for the Giants the following year, when they won Super Bowl XXV, and was named Super Bowl MVP for his 102 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. As a testament to the Giants' ball control strategy, their time of possession was double that of the Buffalo Bills, their opponents, in the first Super Bowl without a turnover. Anderson is one of only four running backs in NFL history to score rushing touchdowns in two Super Bowls and win Super Bowl MVP (only Franco Harris and John Riggins accomplished this feat before Anderson, and only Emmitt Smith has achieved it since).

Anderson was replaced by Rodney Hampton in 1991. His last season was 1992. Anderson fumbled just three times in 739 touches as a Giant, from 1987-1992.

When he retired, Anderson ranked seventh in rushing TDs and eighth in rushing yards. At the end of the 2005 season, Anderson was ranked 14th in career rushing touchdowns and is one of 22 running backs in the history of the NFL to rush for more than 10,000 yards.[1]

Life after footballEdit

The end of Anderson’s 14-year football career[2] in 1993 marked the beginning of his career in entrepreneurship and motivational speaking.

Anderson has appeared on several major local and national radio and television shows including: the David Letterman Show and Good Morning America. He has experience as a broadcast analyst with WFAN for the New York Giants, and has co-hosted three radio shows in St. Louis with former Cardinal teammates Theotis Brown, E.J. Junior and Roy Green respectively. Ottis was also a frequent guest on The Billy Taylor Show in New York and contributed to in-season weekly column, "Ask Ottis", in the Giants Insider publication.

As president of Ottis J. Anderson Enterprises. He is also involved in several ventures and is involved with writing benefits for municipalities, school boards and privately held businesses in New Jersey.

Anderson has been affiliated with many community organizations such as the United Way of America, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and the Deborah Hospital Foundation.

Anderson is a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity.

Chris Cuomo of ABC News interviewed Anderson as part of One Moment in Time: The Life of Whitney Houston, a two-hour special on ABC shortly after the death of singer Whitney Houston. In Super Bowl XXV, Houston performed "The Star-Spangled Banner", and Anderson and then-Giants quarterback Jeff Hostetler reflected on Houston's performance in that game.

Anderson appeared on Comedy Central's Tosh.0 during the Crying Giants' Fan Web Redemption.

Personal lifeEdit

Anderson has two adult daughters, Tristian and Alex.

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Joe Montana
NFL Super Bowl MVPs
Super Bowl XXV, 1991
Succeeded by
Mark Rypien
Preceded by
Greg Bell
NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award
Succeeded by
Barry Word
Preceded by
Earl Campbell
AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year
Succeeded by
Billy Sims
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