(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

It’s Not Easy, But It Is Noble

Adrian Peterson’s quest for 2,500 yards is running up against the cold reality of NFL defenses primed to stop him. But there’s a beauty in his pursuit of runners who came before him, and in his evoking the lost glory of the ground game

By
Andrew Lawrence
· More from Andrew·

Twenty-five hundred is a nice round number. It is also an absurd number, even by the NFL’s warped statistical standards. Absurd enough to make Marshall Faulk do a spit take.

Nine months ago Faulk interviewed Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson for an NFL Network segment. Well, Faulk tried to, anyway. His inner fanboy kept getting in the way, but that was no sin on this particular occasion. Peterson had just come within nine yards of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record of 2,105 a year after completely shredding his left knee. In February he was named the league MVP, finishing with 11 more first-place votes than Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. AD’s thunderous comeback was affirmation that there is no miracle beyond the reach of the player known as Purple Jesus.

Still, Faulk’s faith in the helmeted messiah wobbled some when Peterson stated his goal for the 2013 season: to rush for 2,500 yards. Fourteen years ago Faulk got close to that number—71 yards short—during an MVP season with the St. Louis Rams, but that was in total yards from scrimmage, rushing (1,381) and receiving (1,048). Faulk was skeptical of Peterson’s ambition, but not enough to dismiss it entirely. He wanted to take that leap of faith. He wanted to follow Purple Jesus.

“Seriously,” Faulk said, putting a hand to his chest as he sputtered toward the next bit. “I don’t want to insult you, but do you really feel like you can get twenty-five hundred yards?”

“Yeah,” Peterson said. “It’s definitely out there. I can get it.”

In pro football no statistical milestone is sacred. How can it be when the fans’ memories are so short? If no one remembers what came first, what was to stop AD from saying what would come next, especially after such a remarkable 2012?

This particular strain of amnesia is unusual for a sport that America cares about more than its next breath. When baseball was on top of the sports food chain, statistical milestones didn’t just live on paper. They lived in your head, next door to the geography facts and the social studies trivia; their front porch was the tip of your tongue. When players like Joe DiMaggio and Hank Aaron took aim at milestones, the country hung on every pitch. And when they blew those marks away, the new ones became immortal.

In pro football, no milestone is sacred. How can it be when memories are so short?

A baseball milestone had real currency. A pro football milestone is Monopoly money; it’s only worth keeping tabs on while the game is going on. Math is an inexorable part of football life, ruling every facet of the game from the geography of the field to the stakes of a possession to the hierarchy of the men who play to how much money those men make—that last bit seemingly the only number fans really cling to. Yet the league’s habit for making up the rules as it goes doesn’t exactly make the action that builds inside the box score and culminates inside the record book any easier to follow.

From 1947 to ’78 the length of the NFL season jumped from 12 games to 14 and then to 16, and it could take another leap forward in the very near term. Individual statistics not only differ from one side of the ball to the other, but between certain positions too. Some results (such as sacks) were not recorded until recently, while others (tackles) are often sweetened (or muddled) by in-house scorekeepers. And then, just when football numbers couldn’t seem any more arbitrary, along comes fantasy football to turn all of this chaos into something resembling an NBA score line. For a nation accustomed to seeing the world in terms of pitchers and catchers, this is a lot to take in.

It’s no wonder that winning has, by default, become the ultimate milestone for the ultimate team game. It’s why past Super Bowl winning teams are so much easier to remember than, say, past all-time single season rushing champions. And that’s too bad. Once upon a time there was no higher expression of teamwork than a well-oiled run game.

* * *

Steve Van Buren led the league in rushing four times, but because he never played more than 12 games, his yearly numbers pale compared to later runners. (Bettmann/Corbis)
Philadelphia’s Steve Van Buren led the league in rushing four times, but because he never played more than 12 games, his yearly numbers pale compared to those of later runners. (Bettmann/Corbis)

Before the passing game came along in full force, gaining a yard used to be, well, hard. There was no throwing over or around the strength of a defense, only ramming straight through. And there was no making any headway without a bone-deep commitment from all 11 men on offense. A chorus line effort from the blockers wasn’t enough to get the job done. The quarterback had to swallow his pride. The back had to have patience, vision and a body that could stand up to routine abuse. Receivers had to block their butts off. The matchup nightmares? Those came later in the game, after the other side cried uncle. “The defense does not know what to do when a team is dominating them physically,” says former Cleveland Browns back Jim Brown, perhaps the best to ever do this. “You don’t dominate a team in the same sense by passing. When you run it, it is the essence of football.”

Ground and pound spoke to a team’s toughness and attitude. Everyone in the stadium knew what was coming, and yet the only ones who could stop it were the guys holding the ball. The baddest backs on the block were the ones who could string together enough 100-yard games to get north of 1,000 yards by season’s end. From 1937 to ’56, when a season still spanned 12 games, only four men did: Chicago’s Beattie Feathers (with 1,004 yards in 1934), Philadelphia’s Steve Van Buren (1,008 yards in 1947 and 1,146 in ’49), San Francisco’s Joe Perry (1,018 yards in 1953 and 1,049 in ’54), and the Bears’ Rick Casares (1,126 yards in 1956). And then Brown came streaking into the league in 1957 like a stiff arm to the septum.

For many, Jim Brown remains the standard by which backs are judged. But can you recall a single stat associated with him, on the order of 714 or 755? (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)
For many, Jim Brown remains the standard by which backs are judged. But can you recall a single definitive stat associated with him, on the order of 714 or 755? (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

Brown didn’t know Steve Van Buren from Martin Van Buren. What’s more, “I didn’t give a foot,” he says. (See? Attitude.) What he did know was how to run the hell out of a sweep. Brown’s knack for this was owed to his physical gifts—specifically, a 6-2, 232-pound body that combined the strength an elephant with the speed of a gazelle—and also to the film study sessions he convened with his offensive linemen on the night before games.

After a 942-yard rookie season, Brown ran for well over 1,000 yards every season for the next eight years. The best of his many eye-popping odometer readings came in 1963, when he rushed for 1,863 yards in 14 games. (That’s 133 yards per game for those of you still struggling to keep score at home.) And it might’ve been more than that, says former Cleveland guard John Wooten, one of Brown’s lead blockers, if Brown wasn’t taking himself out of blowouts-in-progress to let his backups get some burn.

“If you look at the scores during those games, you’ll see that we were winning by two to three touchdowns,” Wooten says. “Jim would come to the sideline in the third and fourth quarters and say to [Browns coach] Blanton [Collier], ‘Put Charlie Scales in, put in Kenny Webb—let those guys have it.’ And because of that we didn’t get to the 2,000-yard mark. I’ll be very selfish and tell you that still bothers me. If we had been thinking out loud we could’ve set a record that nobody would ever have broken, you know?”

And that’s the real beauty in the single-season rushing record. They might print the runner’s name next to it but, really, this one’s for the linemen. The few stats that blockers compile mostly charge them only for their mistakes; the rushing record is the exception, the equivalent of an Academy Award for Best Picture. A special runner gives them license to dream big.

* * *

There was a time when O.J. Simpson was admired, beloved even, for what he did on a football field. Forty years ago he had arguably the greatest rushing season in history: 2,003 yards in 14 games. His average of 143.1 yards per game that year is 10 more than any other rusher has managed. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)
There was a time when O.J. Simpson was admired, beloved even, for what he did on a football field. Forty years ago he had arguably the greatest rushing season in history: 2,003 yards in 14 games. His average of 143.1 yards per game that year is 10 more than any other rusher has managed. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

Ten years later the Buffalo Bills would have just such a back in O.J. Simpson. Before Simpson gained infamy as the defendant in the most divisive court case since the Dred Scott decision, he was the most blessed of the football gods’ creations. Like Brown the 6-2, 212-pound Simpson was a marvel of size and speed—perfect for the sweep. But where Brown ran over and through would-be tacklers, Simpson preferred to turn on the afterburners and surge past. “You just got in front of somebody, and the guy would blow by him,” recalls former Buffalo Bills guard Joe DeLamielleure, who earned a ticket to Canton by escorting Simpson around the gridiron. “He was incredible.”

The Juice, as he was known, was a world-class sprinter—while a junior at USC he was part of the four-man team that set the world record in the 4 x 110-yard relay at 1967 NCAA track championships. As a senior he won the Heisman Trophy. For a product of San Francisco public housing who was leading his own street gang—the Superiors—by the time he was a teenager, this was quite a turnaround. “What I thought was probably the more interesting parts of O.J. is how close he came in his early years to ending up where he is now,” says Larry Fox, an ex-New York Daily News reporter who covered the Bills and wrote a book about the Juice’s 2,000-yard march, The O.J. Simpson Story. “I was telling my wife the other day that it seems to me like a different version of Appointment in Samarra.”

In the spring of 1969 Buffalo made Simpson the top pick in the draft and signed him to a four-year, $300,000 contract—a sizeable outlay for the day. But Buffalo would make the money back and more by playing exhibition games in stadiums that accommodated exponentially more fans than their home field, the 40,000-seat War Memorial Stadium. And by 1973 the Bills were playing home games in a bigger ballpark—Rich Stadium, since renamed for owner Ralph Wilson.

Simpson had an abiding respected for his O-line, dubbed The Electric Company because they turned on The Juice. (Wil Blanche/Sports Illustrated)
Simpson duly credited his blockers—his Bills O-line was dubbed The Electric Company because they turned on The Juice. (Wil Blanche/Sports Illustrated)

That’s how Ruthian a figure O.J. was in the game. “He was the most famous athlete that ever played in this country, a combination of Willie Mays and Muhammad Ali,” DeLamielleure says, with perhaps a bit of hyperbole. “In 15 years I never saw player who practiced harder or was more generous with his time. He would sit and sign autographs until everyone was gone, visit with special-education kids—I don’t think there was ever a superstar who was more down to earth and good with the common people. Now it’s like you barely see these guys. I live in Charlotte, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Carolina Panther just going to a grocery store. They all live in gated communities. It’s just too bad what happened to him . . . .”

The formidable line that the Bills placed in front of Simpson in 1973 lived up to their nickname—The Electric Company, because they turned on The Juice, on the field and off. Fox reveals in his book that it was actually second-year guard Reggie McKenzie who gave voice to the idea that the Browns’ Wooten thought of but left unsaid years earlier.

Before the Bills reported for camp that year Simpson called McKenzie.

“You know, with the guys we’ve got to block, I think I should gain 1,700 yards this year,” Simpson said. “Maybe I’ll even have a shot at Jim Brown’s record.”

“Why don’t we go for two grand?” McKenzie said. And they were off.

In the 1973 opener against the New England Patriots, Simpson ran for 250 yards, enough to earn a few series off in the game. By the seventh game, at home against Kansas City, he was already at 1,000. Entering the last week of the season, on the road against the New York Jets at Shea Stadium, Simpson was staring down three milestones: the ’73 rushing crown, Brown’s alltime mark and McKenzie’s 2K summit. That afternoon, his teammates ticking down the yards to go with each carry, Simpson rolled for 200 yards in a 34-14 walkover. After the Bills carried him on their shoulders to the sideline in triumph, Simpson defied Bills public relations director Budd Thalman and hauled his fellow starters into the press room for his post-game news conference, recognizing each man with a generous, comedic flourish. “I just want you to know I hope to stay in the league until all these guys get old,” Simpson told the assembled press. “That way no young back can get behind them and break my records.”

* * *

Eric Dickerson’s 2105 yards in 1984 has stood the test of time, though he had two more games than Brown, Simpson or Payton did in their most productive years. (Peter Read Miller/Sports Illustrated)
Eric Dickerson’s 2,105 yards in 1984 has stood the test of time, though he had two more games than Jim Brown, O.J. Simpson or Walter Payton did in their most productive seasons. (Peter Read Miller/Sports Illustrated)

Of course other electrical companies would emerge over the years to give great backs a jolt. Blame deregulation, which in the NFL meant narrowing the hash marks and watering down offensive blocking tactics to make the game faster and safer. Since Simpson started the 2,000-yard club, six players have gained entry. The next man up, the Rams’ Eric Dickerson, charged in 11 years after The Juice with a 2,105-yard effort in 1984—but he needed that 16-game schedule to get there.

Fan amnesia being what it is in football, especially when it comes to milestones, we let this slide without an asterisk. Instead we dwell on the fact that those Rams, while winners that season, went on to lose in the first-round of the playoffs; that Juice’s Bills were league doormats; that all this running was going nowhere fast. Dickerson’s peak came a year after the rookie sesaons of John Elway and Dan Marino, bookends of the quarterback draft class that would launch the NFL’s passing era. Fifteen years later, when a torn ACL—the same injury Peterson suffered—essentially cut down Denver Broncos tailback Terrell Davis (2,008 yards in 1998) in his prime, teams began rethinking the wisdom of entrusting so much of their offense to one guy, especially as more rules were drafted to protect the quarterback. Who needed attitude when intellect could win the day?

Furthermore, who cared if Dickerson’s milestone wasn’t really the record? Heck, who could even remember it? Never mind that when it comes to rushing, these are the two milestones that should end any debate about greatness: 5.2, Brown’s career average yards per carry; and 143.1, Simpson’s average yards per game in 1973. These numbers are not like, say, Tom Brady’s record 50 touchdown passes, a six-year-old mark that may not last through 2013 if Peyton Manning keeps lighting things up. Those rushing milestones are the truest testament to the strength in numbers, to the triumph of 11 men against the Sisyphean hill. These numbers hold magic.

chris-johnson-2009-800
Chris Johnson’s career proves the difficulty of repeating a 2,000-yard season; since his 2,006 in 2009, he hasn’t come within 600 yards of 2K. (John Iacono/Sports Illustrated)

Clearly, Peterson has magic in reserve. In December 2012 alone he averaged 172.2 yards in five games—impressive, even though Simpson still has him beat with 185.3 yards over his last three games in ’73. But there’s a reason why no back has rushed for more than 2,000 yards a second time. Along with the odds, defenses are stacked against Peterson in 2013; his 2,500-yard pronouncement probably played like background noise to preoccupied defensive coordinators. “The second year is just totally different,” says Davis. “The attention you get from defenses is something you don’t really want. It felt like I was playing against 14 people out there: The guy in the stands with the popcorn, the ref, the usher. I couldn’t believe they had that many players on defense. It felt illegal.”

The second year is just totally different,” says Terrell Davis. “It felt like I was playing against 14 people out there.

So it was for Peterson in the season opener against the Lions, who dropped eight men in the box on 15 of Peterson’s first 16 runs. Apart from his 78-yarder to start the game—a comedy of missed tackles at the point of attack, bad angles at the next level and Peterson’s blazing straight-ahead speed in the open field—the Detroit D played a disciplined game, holding the MVP to 15 yards on his next 17 carries. The trend continued against the Bears; after gashing them for a 36-yard run, Peterson was held to 2.6 yards per carry the rest of the way. Last Sunday the Browns did not let Peterson have a run of more than nine yards.

Peterson should be helped by the return of Pro Bowl fullback Jerome Felton—a player who, by himself, Peterson says was “worth 600 to 700 yards … and maybe more”—who was suspended for the first three games of the season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. But if he does get on a roll and threatens the record again, defenses will be even more intent on stopping him. AD’s 2012 regular-season finale against the Packers had Brian Billick flashing back to 2003, when he was coach of the Ravens and Jamal Lewis was 153 yards from the Dickerson’s mark going into the season finale against Pittsburgh. Billick gave Lewis 27 cracks to get over the threshold, but 114 yards was the best Lewis could do against a Steelers D that was playing for its future peace of mind. “There’s no question they did,” Billick says. “When they start stacking that box with eight, nine and 10 guys, it’s because they don’t want to be that team that lets Jamal Lewis break the alltime record. Because that [go-ahead] run is gonna be seen I don’t know how many millions of times by I don’t know how many millions of people. Not only just that week, but in the Hall of Fame. In every replay of that individual. Every time a back gets close.”

And yet, despite the stratospherically high bar Peterson has set for himself, despite the fact that he has 2,219 yards to go, many of his fellow backs are rooting for him. That’s why Brown agreed to be interviewed for this story (“I really just wanted to pay my respects to him publicly for having that kind of a year under those circumstances,” he said); why Faulk calls Peterson “Superman;” why Davis says “just retire him and put him in Canton” if AD clears 2,000 again. Even Dickerson, for as much he doesn’t want Peterson to break his record, still recognizes him as “great.”

Those great runners want Peterson—need him—to best Peyton Manning (or Tom Brady or Russell Wilson) again. With every carry, Peterson keeps a legacy alive. He reminds us that a ground game can still rise above the fray, that attitude still goes a long way. As absurd as it sounds, a number like 2,500 would never let us forget that.

24 comments
bmerfeld
bmerfeld

After the Patriots roughed up the Colts receivers in the 2003 playoffs the NFL refined illegal contact rules opening up the passing game. With other pass friendly rules put in place over the past 10 years it's no longer the same game I watched growing up in the 80's and 90's.  Baltimore didn't win a championship last year playing elite defense and running the ball; it came from big plays in the passing game and a few key stops.  It was nothing like their 2000 Super Bowl win.

In 2003 the average team threw for 3207 yards; last year it was 3700 yards.  The '03 Colts were the only team to throw for over 4000 yards.  In 2012 9 teams threw for over 4000 yards.  Total Passing Yards for the entire NFL have increased almost 15,800 yards since '03.

It saddens me, but the era of the franchise star running back is coming to a close.

Some people are criticizing Peterson for setting his 2500 yard goal as stupid and selfish, but I'm not one of them. Adrian Peterson may just be the last of a dying breed.  As runningbacks are getting fewer chances thanks to the passing game and runningback by committee Peterson may be the last true threat to Dickerson's record and OJ's yards-per-game in a season record.  

Maybe I'm the selfish one, but I long for more feature backs carrying their teams on their back, but those guys are going extinct.  There will be a few over the next decade, but I'll be shocked if there's another guy like Peterson, Dickerson, Brown, Sanders, etc...  And yes, I did compare Peterson to the greats because with a few more solid seasons he will be one.  It's just a shame he won't have a Super Bowl ring to show for it (well...probably won't).

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

He had as good of a season as he is capable of and he did not break the record.  The moment he mentioned his goal, everyone should have laughed and laughed hard.  I did.  What a stupid notion.  He will never even get close to that number.  He won't run for 2000 ever again.  The only reason he got 2000 is because they have no passing game.  If they ever have a passing game he won't get enough touches to get to 2000.  Just like defenses adjusted to the dumb read option crap, defenses had the off season to adjust to what the Vikings were doing in the running game.  

jimmercik
jimmercik

I would bet money that this author never actually saw Jim Brown play. 

 re: " ... For many, Jim Brown remains the standard by which backs are judged. But can you recall a single definitive stat associated with him, on the order of 714 or 755?... " ... Mr. Brown was not about numbers, he was about domination. His numbers came as a by-product of his attitude and his focus. I've watched NFL/AFL since 1958... the most exceptional running backs during that period were Brown, Walter Payton, and Gale Sayers, 

Frankly, the only individual statistics/numbers I ever remember in NFL was (i)Tom Dempsey's 63 yd field goal, and (ii) -13F temperature in the 1967 Superbowl in Green Bay.

scBlais
scBlais

Did this idiot really just put the OJ trial in some sort of comparison to Dred Scott???  No more clicking on MMQB articles for me.  The poor editing was bad enough but now they're branching out into serious stupidity.

humdrumdrumhumming
humdrumdrumhumming

how generous of you to spend more space and time on OJ than anyone else but AD....



golf claps.



I'm sure Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman are very proud of your article.


i guess you just think it's "unfortunate" they haven't been alive since June 1994.


"divisive"


i guess that's one way of referring to a double homicide, without ever even mentioning the crime he was convicted of in civil court...



comparing that man to Dred Scott, that should make any american embarassed...



a black american doing so takes a special kind of "look at me" temerity...


that hard up for attention on your articles?



why didn't you just call him a living martyr who was falsely accused?



jackahzz

Marty2
Marty2

I don't find it noble at all when a runner sets some selfish goal like this.  For any back to make that many yards necessarily means the QB should basically ignore other attempts to move the ball.  It almost always means a mediocre or poor record for the team at the end of the season.  Why not say something like this:  "I'd like to gain as many yards as I can, but it may not be in the team's best interest."

m.anthony.crowder
m.anthony.crowder

As a football fan who reads MMQB daily, I found the overall argument of this article quite interesting.

As a professional historian of the politics of slavery and antislavery in antebellum America, I abhor the equation of O.J. Simpson's 1994 case to the 1857 Dred Scott decision. These are the sort of parallels that should not ever be drawn. I hope that this is a case of unfortunate editing (as other respondents have suggested, in a different context). 

OttoSchlosser
OttoSchlosser

Good grief, do you guys get bonuses for typos? Good article but unreadable in places.

JPM
JPM

Well done, Andrew.  Brought back a lot of memories.  I remember watching a Cleveland Browns game on TV.  The play was a simple dive into the line.  Brown was (apparently) swarmed by the defense.  Another second or two, and the play would be whistled dead.  Suddenly, Brown emerged from the scrums and rolled ahead for 30 or 40 yards.  Epic.

dgersland
dgersland

Dickerson eclipsed Simpson's record in 15 games, with a monster game against the Oilers.  He added on that in the 16th game against the Niners, ending up with 2105.

KeysSteven
KeysSteven

Surprising take ("noble") on braggadocio that I doubted anyone took seriously, from a player on a team (MIN) in more need of skillful QB play (a la Cunningham & Favre) and in a sport where, not since days of Jim Brown ('64), has an RB (or run-QB) carried his team to the title.  Earl Campbell was incredible...and came close. 

Adrian Peterson's pre-season boast of "2500" was not about "beauty," nobility, history nor team.  It was strictly self-service, a by-product of a man bursting with pride after taking the NFL's 2013 MVP award.  AP's an incredible talent and a joy to watch, but had the author associated nobility with the likes of Barry Sanders, I'd have been more pleased.  

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

After the 1st game he should set his goal at 1100 yards !!!! Since they have NO QB, running is toast now.

Ciscos
Ciscos

So Marshall Faulk got a case of "fan boyism" huh? Not surprised he did either. Who wouldn't? The reason why 2k in yards in the NFL is such a big deal is because it's so phreaken hard to do.  When AP said he wanted to shoot for 2500 yards, who's to tell him no he can't? I doubt that he will. Heck I doubt he'll get close to 2k yards again this season.  Why? Because everyone is gunning for him now.  Ponder still hasn't convinced anyone outside of his household and the coaching staff with their rose colored sunglasses on that he can throw consistently. I talk about the coaching staff but I'm confident they know what they're working with.  As such, the offense must go thru AP.  That said, if I'm a DC, I'm dumping 8 in the box and daring Ponder to throw it.  Hit the gaps, block off the cut back lanes and AP will have a difficult time.

AP is still AP. He'll still get his yards, but not 2500 or 2k this season. Vikes get a QB who gives a defense reason to pause, then AP its all day.

JMillerNC
JMillerNC

Great article Andrew.  Personally I dislike the running-back-by-committee approach that most teams are taking these days.  I understand it, but I don't like it.  Oh if this world had more Jim Browns, more APs, more John Riggins', etc.   :)

Fifilo
Fifilo

Very enjoyable read.

JohnD.Culver
JohnD.Culver

@humdrumdrumhumming

Pay attention.  He didn't compare O.J. to Dred Scott; he compared the divisiveness of the cases.  And he very well may be correct, although Brown v. Board has to be in the conversation as well.

And discussing O.J.'s prowess on the football field, or even his off field behavior while he was playing, has nothing to do with his later actions.  He was a great football player and he was generous with his time while he was playing.  Does that diminish what (I believe anyway) he did to Nicole and Ron?  Nope.  But it doesn't change reality or the truth of these things.  

It seems to me that some people need to put their big-boy pants on and grow up.

EasyGoer
EasyGoer

@humdrumdrumhumming What's your problem? This is about football. When they talk about the Founding Fathers, slavery is rarely mentioned but their inaction allowed the practice to continue for almost another hundred years at the cost of hundreds of thousands of black people's lives. Any problems with that?

humdrumdrumhumming
humdrumdrumhumming

wikipedia -- not divisive... 


O.J. Simpson committed a double homicide


Civil trial[edit]

The parents of Ron Goldman, Fred Goldman and Sharon Rufo, brought suit against Simpson for wrongful death, and Brown's estate, represented by her father Lou Brown,[29] brought suit against Simpson in a "survivor suit," in a trial that took place over four months in Santa Monica and was not televised (by judge's order).[56][57] The Goldman family was represented by Daniel Petrocelli, with Simpson represented by Bob Baker.[57] Attorneys for both sides were given high marks by observing lawyers.[57] Simpson's defense in the trial was estimated to cost $1 million and was paid for by an insurance policy on his company, Orenthal Enterprises.[29]

At one point, Baker made a mistake that allowed Petrocelli to introduce evidence regarding Simpson's failure of a lie detector test about the murders.[4] Fuhrman was not called to testify, and Simpson was subpoenaed to testify on his own behalf.[4][11] In addition, a photo of O.J., taken while he was attending a Buffalo Bills game in 1993 was produced and showed him wearing Bruno Magli shoes,[58] the same type of shoes which investigators stated the killer of Goldman and Brown was wearing when the murders were committed.[59] The photo was then presented as evidence against him,[59] as O.J. had previously denied ever wearing such shoes.[59] The jury in the civil trial awarded Brown and Simpson's children, Sydney and Justin, $12.6 million from their father as recipients of their mother's estate.[4] The victims' families were awarded $33.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages.[60]

Four years after the trial, at an auction to pay some of the money in the compensation order, a conservative Christian radio host paid $16,000 for some of Simpsons memorabilia, including his Hall of Fame induction certificate, two jerseys and two trophies he was given for charity work. He then took them outside the courthouse where the auction was held, burned the certificate and jerseys, and smashed the trophies with a sledgehammer.

humdrumdrumhumming
humdrumdrumhumming

@Marty2 


it's also not good for his long-term career or his long-term value to his team..


the vikings have one of the best backup runners in the league, 


if i was this attention seeking writer i might have the stupidity to comare the truth about Peterson's "nobility" to the truth about the "divisive" nature of a convicted double murderer



jimmercik
jimmercik

@JPM I'm telling you... Jim Brown was and is the best ever.  An unmatched combination of power, speed, timing, craftiness, balance, and determination. I remember TV-watching the last game that Barry Sanders played... in Detroit against the Jets (pretty sure I'm right on that).  Anyway, Mr. Sanders' dad was on the sidelines since there were a lot of rumors of his son's immanent retirement... a sidelines reporter sidled up to him and she asked the elder Mr. Sanders "... Do you think your son is the best RB of all time?" And his response was "Oh No! Jim Brown is the best running back of all time." I agreed of course.  Barry, OJ, EricD, Emmit Smith, were great ... amazing to watch ... but Mssrs. Brown, Payton, & Sayers were the big 3, imho, w Mr. Brown at the top of the heap.

beekay31
beekay31

@Ciscos Pretty sure every team was always keying on Peterson, not just now.

JMillerNC
JMillerNC

And no I'm not equating Riggo to The Greatest, I'm just mentioning the guy I grew up watching with my Dad.   :)

humdrumdrumhumming
humdrumdrumhumming

@JohnD.Culver


right, you go on believing that he didn't bring up a 156 year old court case on purpose to compare the two..

those are the only three divisive court cases in american history..
excellent point..


he didn't  even have the respect to mention he's comparing a double murderer to someone setting a historical precedent in american history..

great comparison..


eeediot..


wait, let's compare your stupidity to cigarette companies lying about what they knew...
great comparison..


let's compare your dumbness to the vast space of the universe..

now there's a decent comparison...

don't stick up for someone who intentionally made a bad analogy to get some cheap hits while disrespecting people OJ murdered...


your stupidity rivals the depth of the grand canyon..


humdrumdrumhumming
humdrumdrumhumming

@EasyGoer


it's no longer "about football" when he mentions the case, then compares it to dred scott, and fails to mention the two people he murdered..

if he never brought up the court case or dred scott then i'm not here calling you stupid..



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