September 11, 2011

MVP Profile: Eric Dickerson, 1983

Running Back, Los Angeles Rams

Age: 23
1st season in pro football
College: Southern Methodist
Height: 6’3” Weight: 220

A two-time All-American in college, who set a Southwest Conference career rushing record despite splitting time with Craig James, Dickerson was taken by the Rams in the first round of the 1983 NFL draft (second overall). An upright runner with speed as well as power, he moved into the starting lineup in new Head Coach John Robinson’s ground-oriented offense.

1983 Season Summary
Appeared and started in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Attempts – 390 [1]
Most attempts, game - 34 (for 127 yds.) vs. Chicago 11/6
Yards – 1808 [1]
Most yards, game – 199 yards (on 30 carries) vs. Detroit 10/2
Average gain – 4.6 [11]
TDs – 18 [2]
100-yard rushing games - 9

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 51
Most receptions, game – 8 (for 60 yds.) at Miami 10/30
Yards – 404
Most yards, game - 60 (on 8 catches) at Miami 10/30
Average gain – 7.9
TDs – 2

TDs – 20 [2]
Points – 120 [6]

All-purpose yards: 2212 [1]

Postseason: 2 G
Rushing attempts – 33
Most rushing attempts, game - 23 at Dallas, NFC Wild Card playoff
Rushing yards – 115
Most rushing yards, game - 99 at Dallas, NFC Wild Card playoff
Average gain rushing – 3.5
Rushing TDs – 0

Pass receptions – 8
Most pass receptions, game - 6 at Washington, NFC Divisional playoff
Pass receiving yards - 20
Most pass receiving yards, game - 11 at Dallas, NFC Wild Card playoff
Average yards per reception – 2.5
Pass Receiving TDs – 0

Pass attempts – 1
Pass completions – 1
Passing yardage – 1
TD passes – 0
Interceptions – 0

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

Rams went 9-7 to finish second in the NFC West and secured a wild card playoff spot. Defeated Dallas Cowboys in Wild Card playoff (24-17). Lost to Washington Redskins in Divisional playoff (51-7).

After setting a rookie rushing record in 1983, Dickerson went a step further in ’84 as he set a new single-season record with 2105 yards on the ground. He gained over a thousand yards in all four of his seasons in LA, leading the NFL in rushing again in 1986 (1821 yards) and achieving consensus first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors in 1984 and ’86. However, contract disputes and holdouts also occurred on a regular basis and in a blockbuster midseason trade in 1987, Dickerson was dealt to the Indianapolis Colts. He gained a total of 1011 yards in just nine games in that strike-shortened season, and once more led the league with 1659 yards in 1988. With the Colts, he was a consensus first-team All-Pro in ’88 and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1988 and ’89. Injuries began to take a toll from 1990 on, and he moved on to the Raiders in 1992 and, briefly, Atlanta in ’93 before retiring. In all, he ran for over a thousand yards in each of his first seven seasons and gained a career total of 13,259. He also scored 90 rushing touchdowns (96 in all). Dickerson’s #29 was retired by the Rams and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 1999.


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).