(O.J. Anderson photos courtesy of N.Y. Giants)
Talk of Fame Network
Running back O.J. Anderson was an NFL Rookie of the Year, a Super Bowl MVP and a two-time Super Bowl champion. What he's not is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, though he's one of the 94 modern-era candidates on the ballot for the Class of 2017.
That’s the good news. The bad is that Anderson has never made it as a Hall-of-Fame semifinalist, which means he never made the cut to 25, and he doesn’t get it. In fact, as he said on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast, he not only thinks he belongs; he thinks he belongs in Canton, too.
"Absolutely," he said. "My stats are worthy of me going there. I don’t see why I shouldn’t be in there. I don’t know why I'm not going in there. But, then again, I saw how Harry Carson was treated and how long it too for him to go in. So I just figured maybe one day they’ll figure it out and say, 'OK, maybe this guy is worthy.' "
Anderson has the resume to be considered. He ran for 1,000 yards in five of his first six pro years – with the lone exception the strike-shortened 1982 season when he ran for 587, a pace that would have put him over 1,000 -- and he was the first rookie to average 100 yards rushing per game. But he was not an all-decade choice and ranks 28th on the all-time rushing list – two considerations that can hurt his candidacy.
"Unfortunately, for me," he said, "in the era that I played most of the writers who really saw me play are probably passed away by now. And the new-school writers don’t know a lot about old-school players ... other than a name here or there ... so they're looking at these new-school players.
"They forget one thing. I had two strikes where we stopped work during my seven years in St. Louis and in '85 I got hurt and missed nine game. So, if you put my stats up where I played a full season every year ... my stats equal Marcus Allen, equal Eric Dickerson, the late Walter Payton. All you've got to do is pull them, ladies and gentlemen.
"Pull the comparison for every game that I played a full season… not counting the strike in '82, not counting the strike in '87 and don’t count the fact that I got hurt in '85. But look what I did the first four years ... three years ... of my career. You line me up with any guys who are in the Hall of Fame, and you will see where I am equal to or better."