Cardinals’ All-Time Rushing Yardage Leaders
As I write this in 2009, the Arizona Cardinals are going to the Super Bowl for the first time. This franchise has been around since 1920, beginning in Chicago, moving to St. Louis, and then eventually to Phoenix in 1988. The franchise has two championships, but none since 1947. The Cardinals have, however, fielded some great offensive players, and what follows is a list of the teams’ all-time Top 10 in rushing yards:
Ottis Anderson (7999)—Before he went on to be a Super Bowl MVP for the Giants, Ottis Anderson piled up many yards for the St. Louis Cardinals, from 1979 to 1986. Anderson ranks first in franchise history with 7999 rushing yards and went to the Pro Bowl his first two seasons, including as a first team All Pro selection his rookie year. That year, Anderson rushed for a career high 1605 yards with 8 rushing scores, and added 41 receptions for 308 yards and 2 more touchdowns as a receiver.
Stump Mitchell (4649)—Stump Mitchell played his entire career for the Cardinals, from 1981 to 1989, which took him through both St. Louis and Phoenix. Mitchell ranks second in team history with 4649 rushing yards, and his best season was 1985. That year, Mitchell rushed for a career best 1006 yards with 7 rushing TDs, and added 47 catches for 502 yards and 3 more touchdowns out of the backfield. That gave Stump 1508 yards from scrimmage with 10 total scores.
Jim Otis (3863)—Jim Otis played most of his career in St. Louis, from 1973 to 1978, and was mostly a fullback. Still, Otis was a bruising back, and ranks third in Cardinals’ history with 3863 rushing yards. He had his best (and only Pro Bowl) season in 1975, when Otis rushed for a career high 1076 yards with 5 rushing touchdowns, adding 12 catches for 69 yards and one more TD as well.
Johnny Roland (3608)—Johnny Roland played most of his career in St. Louis, from 1966 to 1972, before closing his career with the Giants in 1973. Roland ranks fourth in Cards’ history with 3608 rushing yards, and his best season was 1967. That year, Roland made the Pro Bowl for the second time, and rushed for career highs in yards (876) and rushing scores (10), adding 20 receptions for 269 yards and one more TD as a receiver.
Charlie Trippi (3506)—Charlie Trippi played for the Chicago Cardinals his entire career, from 1947 to 1955, and was a three time Pro Bowler, including first team All Pro in 1948 when he led the NFL with a 5.4 yards per carry average. Trippi ranks fifth in franchise history with 3506 rushing yards, and his best season was that 1948 year, when he rushed for career highs in yards (690) and rushing TDs (6), adding 22 catches for 228 yards and 2 more touchdowns out of the backfield.
John David Crow (3489)—John David Crow began his career with the Chicago Cardinals in 1958 and moved with the team to St. Louis in 1960, playing there until 1964. Crow ranks sixth in team history with 3489 rushing yards, and was a three time Pro Bowler for the franchise. Crow’s best season was in St. Louis in 1960, when he rushed for a career best 1071 yards with 6 rushing touchdowns, adding 25 catches for another 462 yards and 3 TDs as well.
Terry Metcalf (3438)—Terry Metcalf was a great running back who was also a very dangerous kick returner. Metcalf played in St. Louis most of his career, from 1973 to 1977, and ranks seventh in Cardinals’ history with 3438 rushing yards. His best season was 1975, one of three Pro Bowl years, when he rushed for career highs in yards (816) and rushing TDs (9), adding 43 receptions for 378 yards and 2 receiving touchdowns.
Wayne Morris (3375)—Wayne Morris was mostly a fullback with the Cardinals from 1976 to 1983, and ranks eighth in team history with 3375 rushing yards. Morris had his best season for the team in 1977, when he rushed for career highs in yards (661) and rushing touchdowns (8), adding 24 catches for another 222 yards and 1 more TD as a receiver.
Ollie Matson (3331)—Ollie Matson began his career with the Chicago Cardinals in 1952 and played there until 1958. What’s remarkable is that Matson made the Pro Bowl every season in Chicago, including first team All-Pro his first five years. Matson’s best season was with Chicago in 1956, when he rushed for a career best 924 yards with 5 rushing scores, and added 15 receptions for another 199 yards and two more TDs out of the backfield.
Earl Ferrell (2950)—Earl Ferrell played for the Cardinals his entire career, from 1983 to 1989, which spanned both St. Louis and Arizona. Ferrell ranks tenth in team history with 2950 rushing yards, and his best season was in 1988. That year, Ferrell rushed for career highs in yards (924) and rushing TDs (7), adding 38 catches for 315 yards and 2 more touchdowns as a receiver.