April 23, 2013

MVP Profile: Eric Dickerson, 1986


Running Back, Los Angeles Rams


Age: 26
4th season in pro football & with Rams
College: Southern Methodist
Height: 6’3”   Weight: 220

Prelude:
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. After setting a rookie rushing record in 1983 with 1808 yards, Dickerson went a step farther in ’84 as he set a new single-season record with 2105 yards on the ground. He was a consensus first-team All-NFL and Pro Bowl selection in 1983 and ’84 but, due to a contract holdout and nagging injuries, Dickerson’s rushing numbers dropped off to 1234 yards in 1985, although he still scored 12 touchdowns.

1986 Season Summary
Appeared and started in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Rushing
Attempts – 404 [1]
Most attempts, game - 38 (for 193 yds.) at St. Louis 9/7
Yards – 1821 [1]
Most yards, game – 207 yards (on 30 carries) vs. Tampa Bay 10/5
Average gain – 4.5 [7, tied with Lorenzo Hampton]
TDs – 11 (5)
200-yard rushing games – 1
100-yard rushing games – 11

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 26      
Most receptions, game – 5 (for 12 yds.) at New Orleans 11/9
Yards – 205
Most yards, game - 46 (on 3 catches) at Chicago 11/3
Average gain – 7.9
TDs – 0

Passing
Attempts – 1
Completions – 1
Yards – 15
TDs – 1
Interceptions – 0

Scoring
TDs – 11 [9, tied with Mark Duper, Stephone Paige & Walter Payton]
Points – 66

All-purpose yards: 2026 [1]

Postseason: 1 G (NFC Wild Card playoff at Washington)
Rushing attempts – 26
Rushing yards – 158
Average gain rushing – 6.1
Rushing TDs – 0

Pass receptions – 0

Awards & Honors:
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

Rams went 10-6 to finish second in the NFC West and qualify for a Wild Card playoff berth. Lost NFC Wild Card playoff to Washington Redskins (19-7).

Aftermath:
Dickerson gained over a thousand yards in all four of his seasons in LA, but contract disputes and holdouts also occurred on a regular basis and in a blockbuster midseason trade in 1987, he 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.

[Updated 8/4/13]

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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.

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