For eight seasons, Rodney Hampton’s rushing was vital to a New York Giants squad that was looking for an identity for most of the 1990s. Drafted out of Georgia in 1990, Hampton’s youth and quickness balanced out a rushing attack that also consisted of 33-year-old “ground and pound” back Ottis Anderson.
With the two of them handling ground control duties, the team worked their way to a 13-3 record and a first-round bye. Unfortunately for Hampton, he suffered an injury in the Divisional Playoff game against the Chicago Bears, which kept him from participating in the Giants’ championship run.
No matter, though. A healthy Hampton returned to the Giants in 1991 and was named the team’s starting running back. From 1991 to 1995, Hampton rushed for over 1,000 yards each season and had 45 touchdowns in that stretch.
In the 1993 Wild Card game against the Minnesota Vikings, Hampton’s rushing helped out the team out greatly, rushing for 161 yards and his two touchdowns that day were the only touchdowns New York would score. His first touchdown, a third-quarter 51-yard romp, got the Giants to tie the game at 10, and his second was the winning score in the 17-10 victory.
From the time of his retirement in 1998 until 2004, Hampton was the Giants’ all-time career rushing leader with 6,897 yards. In 1992 and 1993, Hampton was named to the Pro Bowl. During his Giants career, Hampton played for four head coaches and reached the playoffs only three times, but Hampton’s dominance on the ground was a constant bright spot on the team despite what was going on around him.