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Ottis Anderson
Running back
Jersey #(s)
32, 24
Born January 19, 1957 (1957-01-19) (age 52)
West Palm Beach, Florida
Career information
Year(s) 19791993
NFL Draft 1979 / Round: 1 / Pick: 8
College Miami (FL)
Professional teams
Career stats
Rushing yards 10,273
Average 4.0
Touchdowns 86
Stats at
Career highlights and awards

Ottis Jerome "O.J." Anderson (born January 19, 1957 in West Palm Beach, Florida), is a retired 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.


Early life

Anderson was a football and track star at Forest Hill Community 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.

Professional career

Anderson was selected in the first round of the 1979 NFL Draft, the 8th overall pick, by the St. Louis Cardinals. His 1,605 rushing yard performance 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.

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 ended up deep in the New York Giants' depth chart in the middle of the 1986 season. 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 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.

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.


The end of Anderson’s 14-year football career 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 and senior partner of TWO FOUR, Anderson is involved in enhancing the excitement of sports fans and enthusiasts through a recently established apparel and premium goods line called "MoodaChainz". He is also involved in several ventures including serving as Vice President of Public Relations for an insurance firm, where he is involved with benefits for municipalities, school boards and privately held businesses in the state of New Jersey.

Anderson has been affiliated with many community bodies and charities such as the United Way of America, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, American Heart Association, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Drug Abuse Resistance Education and the Deborah Hospital Foundation.

Anderson is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Spina Bifida Association.

Anderson has two daughters, Alex (21) and Tristian (27).

See also

External links

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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