Ottis Anderson (born January 19, 1957), is a retired American football running back. He was named The NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press in 1979 and the MVP of Super Bowl XXV in 1991 when playing with the New York Giants. In college, he played for the University of Miami. Anderson was a football star at Forest Hill High School in West Palm Beach, Florida before graduating in 1975.
His 1,605 rushing yard performance was one of the few bright spots in the St. Louis Cardinals' 1979 season, when they finished 5-11. He earned the first of back-to-back Pro Bowl selections that year.
In his first six seasons, Anderson rushed for over 1,000 yards in five seasons. The lone exception was in the 1982 strike-shortened season, when he rushed for 587 yards in eight games, and was on pace for well over 1,000 yards, if 1982 was a full 16 game season. Anderson did have a fumbling problem, however, and fumbled 48 times in his first six years.
The Cardinals made the playoffs in 1982, thanks to an expanded field due to the brevity of the season. It was the franchise's first playoff appearance since 1975 and last until 1998. Anderson rushed for 58 yards on eight carries.
Injuries would drastically decrease the amount of games Anderson played each season, and his explosiveness as a tailback. After a year and a half, Stump Mitchell, who himself is a member of Omega Psi Phi, emerged as the Cards' top running back, and the expendable Anderson ended up deep in the New York Giants' depth chart in the middle of the 1986 season. By this time in his career, it was clear that he was better used in goal line or short yardage situations. Anderson would rush for only six yards on seven carries in the 1986 playoffs, but did score a rushing touchdown in the Giants' victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI.
In his first two and a half seasons with New York, Anderson did not fumble once in his 100 offensive touches. In 1989, Anderson become the top running back for Bill Parcells' ball control offense and was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year. He scored a career high 14 rushing touchdowns, and rushed for 1,023 yards on 325 carries. He was also the top running back for the Giants the following year, when they won Super Bowl XXV, and was named Super Bowl MVP for his 102 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. As a testament to the Giants' ball control strategy, their time of possession was double that of their Super Bowl opponent's, in the first Super Bowl without a turnover.
Anderson would be replaced by Rodney Hampton in 1991. His last season was 1992. Anderson fumbled just three times in 739 touches as a Giant, from 1987-1992.
As of the end of the 2005 season, Anderson was ranked 14th in career rushing touchdowns and is 1 of 17 running backs in the history of the game to rush for more than 10,000 yards.
Distinguished Member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Preceded by: Joe Montana NFL Super Bowl MVPs Super Bowl XXV, 1991 Succeeded by: Mark Rypien Preceded by: Greg Bell NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award 1989 Succeeded by: Barry Word