Saturday, August 15, 2015

1974 Profile: O.J. Simpson

Running Back
No. 32
"Simpson topped the National Football League in rushing for the second consecutive season and smashed Jim Brown's all-time single season record for yards gained rushing and became pro football's first 2,000-yard runner. His achievements included eight different NFL records.
O.J. was the League's Most Valuable Player in both AP and UPI balloting, AP Male Athlete of the Year, winner of the Hickock Belt as professional athlete of the year by the largest landslide in the history of the award, Maxwell Club of Philadelphia's Bert Bell trophy winner, Sporting News Man of the Year and recipient of the Dunlop Pro-Am prize as male athlete of the year.
He captured the NEA Jim Thorpe Memorial Trophy as NFL Player of the Year, was back and player of the year in the opinion of Pro Football Weekly and was cited for his 1973 NFL achievements by Mutual Broadcasting, the 101 Club of Kansas City, the New York Pro Football Writers Association, the Wisconsin Pro Football Writers, the 1000-yard foundation and Football Digest among others.
Simpson snapped Willie Ellison's record for yards gained rushing in a single game with 250 (on 29 carries) against New England at Foxboro on the opening Sunday of the regular season. His pace never slackened as he finished with 11 games of 100 or more yards rushing, three 200-plus outings and 2,003 yards on 32 attempts- all League records. He displaced Wray Carlton as Buffalo's all-time rushing leader and broke his own club marks for yardage gained and rushing attempts in a single season. Twelve touchdowns pushed his career totals to 30 rushing and 30 overall. O.J. presently ranks 16th on the NFL's list of all-time rushers with 5,181 yards.
O.J.'s highest single game average was 10.0 (219 yards on 22 attempts) against New England at Orchard Park but he has never scored more than two touchdowns in a single game. His best efforts have been against New England, a team he has racked for 946 yards and seven touchdowns in eight games. His 94-yard run against Pittsburgh on October 29, 1972 is a Buffalo record.
A unanimous choice for All-Pro and All-Conference two successive seasons, O.J. played in two straight Pro Bowl games. He was MVP in the 1973 Pro Bowl with 112 yards on 16 carries.
He reached the 1,000-yard level for the first time in 1972, leading the NFL with 1,251 yards on 292 trips. O.J. missed one game in his rookie season and sat out the final six games of 1970 with an injury but has played in 42 straight league outings since. He must also be feared as a pass receiver and option passer. Simpson was the first player picked in the 1969 pro draft.
Simpson was voted College Athlete of the Decade. A brilliant athlete for John McKay's USC Trojans, he destroyed 13 Southern California records in an abbreviated two-year varsity career. He gained 3,423 rushing yards for SC on 674 carries and established an NCAA rushing record in his senior season with 1,709 yards. O.J. averaged 164.4 yards per appearance in 19 regular season games as a collegian.
O.J. carried a record 47 times (for 220 yards and three touchdowns) in SC's 1968 win over Stanford. He gained 299 yards in two Rose Bowl appearances. He more than doubled the vote of runner-up Leroy Keyes in the 1968 Heisman Trophy balloting and was a unanimous two-time All-America choice. Simpson ran sprints for the USC track team and was a member of SC's world record 440-yard relay team (38.6 seconds) in 1967.
Simpson attended the City College of San Francisco for two seasons before enrolling at Southern Cal. He rolled up 54 touchdowns and 2,445 rushing yards (on 259 carries) in junior college and was a two-time junior college All-American. He went to Galileo High School in his native San Francisco.
He majored in public administration as an undergraduate. He worked during the off-season as a weekend commentator on ABC-TV's Wide World of Sports. Simpson completed work on two motion pictures- 'The Klansman,' co-starring Richard Burton and Lee Marvin, and 'The Towering Inferno' with Paul Newman and Steve McQueen.
O.J. made numerous appearances on the banquet circuit and is honorary chairman of the 1974 Erie County (NY) Cancer Crusade and an active participant in many other public service projects. Baseball standout Ernie Banks is a second cousin. O.J.'s real name is Orenthal James and his hobbies include playing cards and tennis."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

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