July 8, 2012

MVP Profile: Dick Anderson, 1973


Safety, Miami Dolphins



Age: 27
6th season in pro football & with Dolphins
College: Colorado
Height: 6’2”    Weight: 196

Prelude:
A versatile All-American in college, Anderson was taken by the Dolphins in the third round of the 1968 AFL/NFL draft. He showed off his ability as a rookie, intercepting 8 passes for a league-leading 230 yards, including one for a 96-yard TD. With the addition of Jake Scott in 1970, Anderson was shifted to strong safety and became part of an outstanding tandem. He again had 8 interceptions in ’70 and once more was the leader in return yards with 191. With the team going undefeated and winning the Super Bowl in ’72, Anderson was a consensus first-team All-Pro and was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time.

1973 Season Summary
Appeared in all 14 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Sacks – N/A
Interceptions – 8 [1, tied with Mike Wagner]
Most interceptions, game – 4 vs. Pittsburgh 12/3
Int. return yards – 163 [3]
Most int. return yards, game – 121 vs. Pittsburgh 12/3
Int. TDs – 2 [1, tied with Tom Hayes]
Fumble recoveries – 0

Punt Returns
Returns – 6
Yards – 52
Average per return – 8.7
TDs – 0
Longest return – 27 yards

Scoring
TDs – 2
Points – 12

Postseason: 3 G
Sacks – 0
Interceptions – 1
Int. return yards – 19
TD – 0

Punt Returns – 1
Yards – 2
Kickoff Returns – 1
Yards – 14

Awards & Honors:
NFL Defensive Player of the Year: AP
1st team All-NFL: AP, PFW, NEA, Pro Football Weekly
1st team All-AFC: AP, UPI, Pro Football Weekly, Sporting News
Pro Bowl

Dolphins went 12-2 to win the AFC East with the conference’s best record while leading the NFL in passing defense (1290 yards and 5 TDs allowed). Won AFC Divisional playoff over Cincinnati Bengals (34-16), AFC Championship over Oakland Raiders (27-10), and Super Bowl over Minnesota Vikings (24-7).

Aftermath:
Anderson followed up with a third consecutive Pro Bowl year in 1974, although for the first time in his career he failed to intercept more than one pass. A knee injury cost him the entire ’75 season and he was a backup for the last two years of his career in 1976 and ’77. Overall, Anderson intercepted 34 passes which he returned for 792 yards and three touchdowns.

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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). Also includes Associated Press NFL Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year.

[Updated 2/8/14]