Former Giants star Ottis Anderson has won a battle over time before.
It’s been 26 years since he retired, and when he quit, his 10,273 yards rushing was eighth on the NFL’s all-time list and his 81 rushing TDs ranked seventh. You’d think those numbers could get him consideration for the Hall of Fame, but he’s never even been a semifinalist. And as the years pass, Canton seems to get smaller and smaller in the distance.
But Anderson, buttonholed by TMZ, isn’t holding any grudges against Hall of Fame voters: “One day, they’ll figure it out,” he says.
“If you check my credentials, I think I earned the right to be considered [a Hall of Famer],” Anderson says. “Put me in … until then, we’ll just keep on enjoying what I accomplished as a 14-year vet.”
Giants fans remember how Anderson, thought to be washed up, helped Bill Parcells’ team stun the Buffalo Bills, 20-19, in Super Bowl XXV by rushing for 102 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. Anderson was the game’s MVP.
Ron Borges of SI.com recalled how Parcells, with running back Joe Morris injured and youngster Lewis Tillman waiting his turn, motivated Anderson with the story of Old Red.
According to Anderson, “Bill said to me, ‘Old Red was a coon dog. Loved to hunt coon. He was great at it, too. But as Red got older, he didn’t get off the porch as quickly. He’d already made a name for himself.
“Well, the farmer went out and got himself a puppy as a way to motivate Red. Every time the door opened the puppy was there, ready to go. Red didn’t jump up. But then the puppy came back from a hunting trip with some coon. That got Red’s attention.
“Bill said to me, ‘Here’s the moral of the story. I can let Lewis Tillman play. He’ll do a good job. But if you want to stay on the team, you’ve got to decide to get motivated.’
“That’s the year I was 32, and became the oldest back at the time to gain over 1,000 yards. Bill would walk by me at practice and say, ‘Ooo, that dog, he wants to hunt today.’ He was great at pushing people’s buttons to get them to play harder.”
So, Anderson has won one battle over time. Can he win another?