July 14, 2011

MVP Profile: Roger Craig, 1988

Running Back, San Francisco 49ers


Age: 28
6th season in pro football & with 49ers
College: Nebraska
Height: 6’0” Weight: 224

Prelude:
Chosen by the 49ers in the second round of the 1983 NFL draft to address the unsettled situation at running back, and better known in college for his blocking ability, Craig teamed at fullback with veteran acquisition RB Wendell Tyler and gained 1152 yards from scrimmage (725 rushing, 427 receiving). After a second such year in ’84, he had his first Pro Bowl season in 1985, becoming the first back to gain a thousand yards both rushing (1050) and receiving (1016 on a NFL-leading 92 catches). Craig split time with HB Joe Cribbs in ’86 but had a second Pro Bowl year in 1987 as he gained 1307 total yards in the strike-abbreviated season (815 rushing, 492 receiving).

1988 Season Summary
Appeared in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Rushing
Attempts – 310 [3]
Most attempts, game - 26 (for 143 yds.) vs. Denver 10/9, (for 162 yds.) at Phoenix 11/6
Yards – 1502 [3]
Most yards, game – 190 yards (on 22 carries) at LA Rams 10/16
Average gain – 4.8 [6]
TDs – 9 [9, tied with Lorenzo Hampton]
100-yard rushing games - 7

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 76 [7]
Most receptions, game – 10 (for 61 yds.) vs. Atlanta 9/18
Yards – 534
Most yards, game - 73 (on 7 catches) at Atlanta 12/4
Average gain – 7.0
TDs – 1

Kickoff Returns
Returns – 2
Yards – 32
Average per return – 16.0
TDs – 0
Longest return – 17 yards

Total Yards – 2068 [2]

Scoring
TDs – 10 [12, tied with five others]
Points – 60

Postseason: 3 G
Rushing attempts – 56
Most rushing attempts, game - 21 vs. Minnesota, NFC Divisional playoff
Rushing yards – 274
Most rushing yards, game - 135 vs. Minnesota, NFC Divisional playoff
Average gain rushing – 4.9
Rushing TDs – 2
100-yard rushing games - 1

Pass receptions – 13
Most pass receptions, game - 8 vs. Cincinnati, Super Bowl
Pass receiving yards - 160
Most pass receiving yards, game - 101 vs. Cincinnati, Super Bowl
Average yards per reception – 12.3
Pass Receiving TDs – 0

Awards & Honors:
NFL MVP: NEA
NFL Offensive Player of the Year: AP
1st team All-NFL: AP, PFWA, NEA, Pro Football Weekly, Sporting News
1st team All-NFC: UPI, Pro Football Weekly
Pro Bowl

49ers went 10-6 to finish first in the NFC West while leading the league in total offense (5987 yards), rushing yards (2237), scoring (459 points), and TDs (59); they led the NFC in passing yards (3750). Won NFC Divisional playoff over Minnesota Vikings (34-9), NFC Championship over Chicago Bears (28-3), and Super Bowl over Cincinnati Bengals (20-16).

Aftermath:
Craig had a fourth Pro Bowl year in 1989, gaining 1054 yards on the ground and 473 through catching passes as the 49ers won another championship, but, after absorbing seven years of punishment as a versatile all-purpose back, his productivity began to drop off thereafter. After one last year with the 49ers in ’90, he moved on to the Raiders and then two final years in Minnesota, never gaining more than 590 yards rushing in any of his last four seasons or catching more than 25 passes. He retired with totals of 8189 rushing yards and 4911 receiving yards on 566 receptions, a total of 13,100 yards from scrimmage.

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MVP Profiles feature players who were named MVP or Player of the Year in the NFL, AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press, Pro Football Writers Association, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, Maxwell Club – Bert Bell Award, or the league itself).

[Updated 2/15/14]