July 19, 2014

Highlighted Year: Donny Anderson, 1973

Halfback, St. Louis Cardinals

Age: 30
8th season in pro football, 2nd with Cardinals
College: Texas Tech
Height: 6’3”   Weight: 210

A two-time All-American in college, where he was nicknamed “The Golden Palomino”, Anderson was chosen in the first round of the 1965 NFL draft as a future pick by the Green Bay Packers. Along with FB Jim Grabowski from Illinois, he received a large contract to join the Packers in ’66 with the expectation that he would be the heir to aging star HB Paul Hornung. He saw little action as a rookie but injuries provided an opportunity to contribute in 1967 and he performed well in Green Bay’s drive to a third straight NFL title, also being utilized as a punter and kick returner as well as halfback. In 1968, Anderson rushed for 761 yards and caught 25 passes for 333 more yards to gain selection to the Pro Bowl. Splitting time with Elijah Pitts and Travis Williams in ’69, his production dropped off significantly, but he came back to rush for a career-high 853 yards in 1970 while also catching 36 passes for 414 more yards. Following a 1971 season in which he was joined by rookie FB John Brockington, Anderson was involved in a contract dispute and had other problems with new Head Coach Dan Devine that led to his being traded to the Cardinals in 1972. In his first year in St. Louis, he gained 536 yards on the ground and 298 on 28 pass receptions while also handling the punting (the last year that he would do so).

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

Attempts – 167
Most attempts, game – 25 (for 82 yds.) at Atlanta 12/9
Yards – 679
Most yards, game – 130 yards (on 18 carries) vs. NY Giants 10/28
Average gain – 4.1
TDs – 10 [2, tied with Mercury Morris, 1st in NFC]
100-yard rushing games – 2

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 41      
Most receptions, game – 6 (for 44 yds.) vs. Philadelphia 10/14
Yards – 409
Most yards, game – 67 (on 4 catches) vs. Denver 11/4
Average gain – 10.0
TDs – 3

TDs – 13 [2, tied with Harold Jackson & Floyd Little]
Points – 78 [19, tied with Harold Jackson, Floyd Little & Bobby Howfield]

Cardinals went 4-9-1 to finish fourth in the NFC East.

Anderson was supplanted at halfback by Terry Metcalf in 1974 and ran the ball just 90 times for 316 yards while catching 15 passes. He was traded to Miami in the offseason but retired during training camp. Overall, he rushed for 4696 yards on 1197 carries (3.9 avg.) and caught 209 passes for 2548 yards, scoring a total of 56 touchdowns. Anderson also averaged 39.6 yards on 387 punts, threw two TD passes on halfback option plays, and ran back one punt for a touchdown.


Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)

**NFC/AFC since 1970