Though the bulk of his success came with the St. Louis Cardinals, this running back’s second career as a Giant makes him worthy of this list. Feeling that Anderson was limited due to injuries and had already reached his peak, the Cardinals sent their 1979 number-one pick to New York for undisclosed draft picks several weeks into the 1986 season.
Though they felt the same way about Anderson, Bill Parcells and the Giants still looked to use him in reserve spots and not overuse him and make him vulnerable to injury.
Before the 1986 Giants finished out their Super Bowl XXI victory over the Denver Broncos, Ottis Anderson was given the nod to close out the team’s scoring with a one-yard touchdown run. Though it may have looked like a crowning achievement to many, Anderson was not quite done with leaving his mark on the NFL.
By 1989, the 32-year-old Anderson was given the chance to be the team’s starting running back, and if Anderson didn’t live up to expectations, he exceeded them. Anderson started all 16 games and totaled 1,023 rushing yards to help the Giants to an NFC East title and was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year for his efforts.
He would follow that up with a 1990 season where he, along with rookie back Rodney Hampton, rushed the Giants to an NFC East-best 13-3 record and a first-round bye. With an injured Hampton sidelined for the playoffs, Ottis Anderson carried the load for the Giants and his 102-yard, one-touchdown performance in New York’s 20-19 Super Bowl XXV victory over the Buffalo Bills.
It saw Anderson, at age 34, named Super Bowl MVP. Also during that season, Anderson became the eighth ever player to reach the 10,000 rushing yard plateau.