July 20, 2012

MVP Profile: Rod Woodson, 1993

Cornerback, Pittsburgh Steelers

Age: 28
7th season in pro football & with Steelers
College: Purdue
Height: 6’0”    Weight: 200

An outstanding athlete coming out of college (he was a champion hurdler as well as football star), Woodson was chosen by the Steelers in the first round of the 1987 NFL draft (10th overall). He held out and got a late start in the strike-interrupted ’87 season, and was used as a nickel back and kick returner, but swiftly developed into a star at cornerback and was team co-MVP in 1988. Woodson was a consensus first-team All-Pro and went to the Pro Bowl for the first time in ’89. With his outstanding speed, leaping ability, and body control, he became a regular Pro Bowl participant through 1992 and was again a first-team All-Pro selection in 1990 and ’92, a season in which he recorded a career-high six sacks and 100 tackles. He also compiled 20 interceptions in his first six years, led the NFL in kickoff returning in 1989 (27.3 avg.) and ran two kickoffs and two punts back for TDs.

1993 Season Summary
Appeared in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Sacks – 2
Most sacks, game – 1 at LA Rams 9/12, at Cleveland 10/24
Interceptions – 8 [3]
Most interceptions, game – 2 vs. San Francisco 9/5, at Atlanta 9/27, vs. New Orleans 10/17
Int. return yards – 138 [2]
Most int. return yards, game – 63 (on 2 int.) vs. New Orleans 10/17
Int. TDs – 1 [2, tied with many]
Fumble recoveries – 1
Forced fumbles – 2
Tackles – 95

Kickoff Returns
Returns – 15
Yards – 294
Most yards, game – 65 (on 4 ret.) at Denver 11/21
Average per return – 19.6
TDs – 0
Longest return – 44 yards

Punt Returns
Returns – 42 [2]
Yards – 338 [8]
Most yards, game – 54 (on 4 ret.) vs. Cincinnati 9/19
Average per return – 8.0
TDs – 0
Longest return – 39 yards

TDs – 1
Points – 6

Postseason: 1 G (AFC Wild Card playoff at Kansas City)
Sacks – 0
Interceptions – 0

Punt Returns – 3
Yards – 18
Avg. Return – 6.0
TDs – 0

Kickoff Returns – 3
Yards – 66
Avg. Return – 22.0
TDs – 0

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

Steelers went 9-7 to finish second in the AFC Central and qualify for the postseason as a Wild Card. Lost AFC Wild Card playoff to Kansas City Chiefs (27-24).

In 1994, Woodson was again a first-team All-Pro for the fifth time in six seasons and was selected to his sixth straight Pro Bowl. But it appeared his career might be over due to a severe knee injury suffered in the first game of the ’95 season. Remarkably, he returned to play for the Steelers in the Super Bowl following that season and was again selected for the Pro Bowl in 1996. He moved on to the 49ers in ’97 and then to the Baltimore Ravens in 1998, where he was shifted to free safety in ’99 and played well enough to once again gain selection to the Pro Bowl. It was the first of three straight such selections with the Ravens, who also won the Super Bowl following the 2000 season largely due to their outstanding defense. With the Raiders in 2002, Woodson was a consensus first-team All-Pro for the sixth and last time, and also went to the Pro Bowl for the last of 11 times at the age of 37. He finished up with Oakland in 2003, having intercepted 71 passes, the third most in NFL history, 12 of which were returned for touchdowns, a league record. Woodson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2009.


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]

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