What a great interview and highly recommend a listen if anyone has time. Here's a paraphrased recap on his NY Giants stories...
*** 1979 NFL Draft:
New Giants Head Coach Ray Perkins flew to Miami and during dinner told OJ that they were going to draft him 7th overall (wound up drafting Phil Simms instead.) OJ was so excited to become a NY Giant, that he asked his agent to let the Top 6 teams know not to draft him, that he wants to only play for NY.
Then Cardinals GM called, saying they picked 8th overall and what would be his thoughts on playing for the Cardinals. OJ said don't bother, that he'll be a NY Giants player. Although the GM said "What If" you don't get selected and OJ said I'll be a Giant and will deal with What If when that doesn't happen.
*** Talking about the Giants trade in 1986:
Cardinals owner Bidwell was impatient and after a couple of tough losses in 1985 wanted to blow up the team. He hired a new Head Coach in 1986 with Gene Stallings who didn't like OJ.
Bill Parcells called Stallings during the season, looking for a 3rd down back and punt returner. Parcells asked if Stump Mitchell was available, to which Stallings refused. Although since he didn't see eye to eye with OJ, he did tell Parcells that OJ Anderson was available, which surprised Bill.
Bill talked to Jim Burt who was a college team mate of OJ. Burt told Parcells that OJ doesn't drink, smoke and is a great competitor. Bill then talked to the Linebackers on the Giants with Carson, Martin and LT on what their thoughts were about trading for OJ and their response was "Please, if you can get this son of a gun, go get him! We're tired of chasing him down from behind."
Parcells then told OJ, you're not going to play much behind Morris but you're our insurance policy. Plus Parcells said while Carthon was a great blocker, he wanted to have both Morris and Anderson in the backfield at the same time and have teams guessing who would get the football.
*** Scoring a TD in Superbowl XXI:
Late in the Superbowl blowout, Parcells told OJ that I'm going to put you in to score. Thank you for the way he helped the team and motivated Joe Morris that year and putting him in to score the TD was their appreciation of that. Especially if OJ never gets a change to play in the Superbowl again.
While OJ appreciated the gesture, he felt he still had a lot to offer.
*** OJ's Salary:
The team honored his salary for the 1987 season but late in the year, Parcells told this to Anderson. "We don't bring back aging RBs, we don't bring back aging RBs who make a lot of money and if you want to return in 1988, you'll need to take a significant salary deduction and hopefully you make the team."
OJ then commented that he was an afterthought in 1988 and wasn't even invited to the 1988 team off-season workouts because they wanted to bring in other running backs. Parcells told OJ, that he didn't have to come to training camp.
Anderson knew what that meant, out of site/out of mind. So even without the invite, he packed up his gear and drove to NJ. During the first day of the off season program, he remembers showing up unannounced. He went to the reception area to be buzzed in but the receptionist would not let him in. Saying, "You are not on the list of invited players and need to get clearance before I let you in".
OJ then called the strength and conditioning manager who then asked Parcells, that OJ is at the door and wants to participate in the off season program. Anderson then explained, back in those days, players who lived out of state would get a stipend to help cover their costs for attending. Parcells told OJ, that if he wanted to attend, he was not going to get a stipend to attend since we wasn't invited. Anderson agreed and tried to play the role of a mentor to the young RBs on the roster. Parcells also put OJ as the very last RB on the depth chart for showing up uninvited.
The year before, he was the highest paid RB on the team but in 1988, he was forced to take a significant pay cut that made him the least paid RB on the team. OJ said he was hurt by the pay cut but figured at that point in his career, it wasn't about the money, it was about playing for the love of the game.
Quote that OJ was given by the team during the 1987 season was that....his role was to eat, warmup and ride the bench!
*** 1988 Giants Roster:
Final cutdown, it was a toss up between keeping OJ or Tony Galvert. Although with George Allen getting hurt, they were able to keep both OJ and Tony.
Mid-season the Giants were having issues with short yardage situations and scoring TDs. Giants Offensive Coordinator Ron Erhardt told Parcells they need to shore up short yardage situations and recommended to Parcells to use OJ in that role since he's 6'2 and 225 pounds. Parcells thought about it and said "Yeah he can fall forward for 2 yards and if he can't do that, we don't need him!"
OJ then said that everyone in the stadium knew when he came in the game, that he was going to run up the middle. Parcells told OJ, if you can't get me 1, 2 or 3 yards, you're getting cut and put on the first plane back to St. Louis!
OJ said that threat and peer pressure by Parcells motivated him to excel in that role. Every time he entered the game, the defense would shift to the right because they knew the formation. OJ asked Parcells can we switch the formation to the other side to keep the defenses guessing. Parcells said, "Didn't matter if the defense knows where the run is going to, since you know where the run it going. Get me those short yardage situations.
In 1988 season, OJ Anderson only had 65 carries BUT scored 8 TDs!
1989 Giants season:
Anderson did such a great job in short yardage situations in 1988, that this time around, he was invited to the off season workouts in 1989. They even increased his pay. Which worked out, since when Morris got injured, then made Anderson the starter who ran for over 1,000+ yards and was the comeback player of the year.
Key for staying sharp as a starting RB for 1989 and 1990 seasons. Anderson said in 1987 and 1988, he'd request to run all the scout team reps specifically so that he could face the #1 defense and keep his timing against that talented defense.
Another funny Parcells quote to the Giants RB position coach, since Anderson always requested those scout team reps....."Can you take him out! He's not playing on Sunday, he's old. Let's give these reps to the young RBs like Lewis Tillman and Dave Meggett!"
Even with all that, Anderson still requested those reps. Since he liked to stay sharp facing the #1 defense. Plus in his mind, he faced those guys for so many years and in practice it was still like Cardinals vs Giants when he ran those scout team reps.
Plus he added, that's why him and Jeff Hosteler played so well together during the 1990 season, because they played together on the scout team ALL THE TIME!
Flipper Anderson Game in 1989:
Anderson thought that team was so talented to win a Superbowl. Giants were 12-4, OJ was the starting RB and the Superbowl was going to be in Miami.
Since he was in college, he always told roommates and team mates that if he ever got to opportunity to be a starting RB in a Superbowl that was played in his home state of Miami, that then his team would win the Superbowl. That was always his prediction.
With the Flipper Anderson TD, OJ said he was in tears. That he thought his prediction would come true and now it wouldn't happen. Which is when Maurice Carthon told OJ that the Superbowl the following year was in Tampa Bay. OJ then told Carthon, that we're going to win the Superbowl in 1990!
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Easily one of my favorite Giant players.
+1. +1 +1
The wind up before the blow was classic and forever etched in memory.