Including the 2023 Hall of Fame class, there are 371 former NFL players who can say that they are members of arguably the most iconic fraternity in professional sports. Only 91 of those players can claim that they were inducted in their first year of eligibility. Marcus Allen, a former running back who starred for both the Raiders and Chiefs, is on the short list of Hall of Famers to be a first-ballot inductee.
A Heisman Trophy winner at USC, Allen won Offensive Rookie of the Year honors after a stellar first season with the Raiders. He went on to enjoy a highly successful career that included a league MVP, Super Bowl MVP and Comeback Player of the Year honors.
In honor of his 63rd birthday on March 26, 2023, here are five fast facts about the former standout running back.
Super Bowl history
Allen broke two Super Bowl records during the Raiders’ 38-9 win over Washington in Super Bowl XVIII. Allen, who was named MVP of the game, broke John Riggins’ one-year-old Super Bowl record after rushing for 191 yards. His 74-yard touchdown run broke Tom Matte’s 15-year-old record for the longest run in Super Bowl history.
Allen’s single game Super Bowl record was broken four years later by Washington running back Timmy Smith, who gained 204 yards in Super Bowl XXII. No other running back, however, has matched Allen’s total, as he still owns the mark for the second-most rushing yards in a single Super Bowl.
It took 22 years for another running back to post a run longer than Allen’s in the Super Bowl. Former Steelers running back Willie Parker broke it by a yard during Pittsburgh’s win over Seattle in Super Bowl XL.
First to 100
Allen was the first running back to score 100 rushing touchdowns. He did so as a member of the Chiefs during the 1995 season during a snowy day in Denver. Allen’s 123 rushing touchdowns at the time of his retirement was the most by a running back in NFL history. He has since been passed by Emmitt Smith (164 touchdowns) and LaDainian Tomlinson (145 touchdowns).
One of the best goal line rushers in league history, Allen had six seasons where he scored at least 11 rushing touchdowns. Remarkably, Allen had as many rushing touchdowns during his rookie season (11 in 1982) as he did during his final season (1997). He led the NFL with 12 rushing touchdowns in 1993 at the age of 33.
First member of 10K/5K club
Allen further made history in 1995 by becoming the first player to record 10,000 career rushing yards and 5,000 career receiving yards. An incredibly versatile player who threw six career touchdown passes in his career, Allen averaged 59 catches a season from 1983-87. Allen’s ability as a receiver allowed him to set the then-NFL record for most total yards in a season during his MVP season of 1985 (2,314 yards).
Allen’s departure from the Raiders was anything but civil. He had an ugly fallout with then-Raiders owner Al Davis, who reduced Allen to a backup during the last years of his Raiders career. In fact, Allen was so desperate to play that he voluntary served as Bo Jackson’s fullback for several seasons.
Of all teams, Allen signed with the Raiders’ biggest rival, the Chiefs, as a free agent in 1993. Also joining the Chiefs that season was quarterback Joe Montana, who like Allen had had less than ideal breakup with his former team. With Montana and Allen, the Chiefs had their best season in over two decades in 1993 that included a trip to the AFC Championship Game.
Allen was nearly unstoppable in games against the Raiders during his five years with the Chiefs. Kansas City went 9-1 against the Raiders during that time. A notable Chiefs win over the Raiders during that time was Allen’s 132-yard rushing effort in the final game the Raiders ever played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Allen is one of only four players in league history to win league MVP, Super Bowl MVP and Comeback Player of the Year. The other three: Montana, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.
Allen won Comeback Player of the Year in 1993, his first season with the Chiefs. That was also the season where Allen won his second touchdown rushing title 11 years after winning his first. Allen, who played five seasons with the Chiefs, holds the record for the most rushing yards by a player during his age 36 season. He held the record for the most yards rushing by a 37-year-old until Frank Gore broke his mark in 2020.