Updated: Jun 16
Most Overrated NFL Player Of All-Time
Written by: Jackson Melin
Walter Camp, a rugby player nonetheless, founded what is known as the modern-day NFL. Since then, some great players have graced the league with their outstanding careers. Ranging from MVPs, Pro Bowls, DPOY, etc. Many of these players have become icons and HOF candidates. Rightly so, based on the accolades they received. Some have been vastly overhyped in contrast to their career stats. (i.e. Aikman, Roethlisberger, Bradshaw) That being said, there is one player that fits that bill more than anyone else., Bo Jackson. Bo Jackson never RAN for more than 1000 yards. He topped 1000 TOTAL yards ONCE in his 4-year span. The year in which he did top 1000 yards, he reached a SINGULAR pro bowl. After that, he didn’t notch another accolade again. Yet, some praise him to be one of the ’80s-’90s best running backs. In this article, I will be debunking the argument for Bo to get into the Hall of Fame.
1. Freak Athlete- There is no debate about it that Bo Jackson is a world-class athlete. In the MLB draft 1982, the New York Yankees in the second round 50th pick drafted him. He then went instead on (Per his family's wishes) to join the Auburn football program. After bouncing between both sports (Both college and professional), Bo most certainly proved his athleticism throughout his career no question. But at age 28, he had a devastating hip injury. In an Oakland Raiders playoff game, Jackson was tackled awkwardly and ended up fracturing and dislocating his hip. That effectively ended his whole sports career within the next 3 years
So, Jackson’s peak professional athletic prowess was roughly from 1987-1991
2. Cultural Impact- During the late ’80s and early ’90s, Bo was somewhat of a pop culture phenomenon. The Nike ad campaign “Bo Knows” boosted Jackson’s popularity from college star and promising prospect to international superstar. By getting then-stars of sports: Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky & others to cameo in his commercial. That commercial has gone on to be one of the most well-known advertisement campaigns ever. In 1989 Bo was featured in an arcade game called “Tecmo Bowl” which was released with the NFLPA licensing’s rights. That game would go on to be one of the most influential arcade games of all time. In 1990, the trading card company Score came out with what is known as THE iconic image of Bo Jackson. The picture of Jackson with the bat over the shoulder pads. This image not only added to his athletic mystique but also appealed to the younger generation through the medium of trading cards.
3. The Team- The Raiders during the mid-eighties already had a HOF caliber player at RB being, Marcus Allen. With the Raiders having an inconsistent play at quarterback, they had to rely on the RB position. With Allen and Jackson, the raiders should’ve been Super Bowl bound right?
Nope, the raiders went to the playoffs once in that 4-year span. Jackson suffered a career-ending hip injury against the win over the Bengals. His hip was both dislocated and then fractured. In his career, that would be the only playoff game he would ever play in.
THE VERDICT: Bo Jackson’s career was the biggest case of “What-If?” in his 4 years of playing in the NFL, he didn’t solidify himself as the godsend mega athlete he was promised at Auburn. Bo Jackson is not one of the top players in the 90s. He is not one of the best running backs. He is not a top Raider. Most certainly, he is not a Hall of Famer.
If you disagree, let me know. Thank you for attending my TED Talk