Obscure Athletes

Where the 15 Minutes of Fame Never End

Obscure Broncos’ 1000-yard Rushers: Mike Anderson

One day, you’re going to be in a position to answer a trivia question, for either a bunch of

I think I could have rushed for a thousand yards with that Broncos O-Line

money or a pair of tickets to your next local sporting event, or something of that nature. Maybe it’s on Jeopardy. Alex Trebeck is going to look you in the face and say “Call him both an early and late bloomer, because he holds the NFL record for most time in between 1000-yard rushing seasons.” And because of Obscure Athletes, you’ll correctly answer the question. Maybe it’s a Final Jeopardy question, who knows? And if it is, you’ll answer “Mike Anderson” and smile. Hopefully you wagered all your money and weren’t that guy who sees the Final Jeopardy category and bets $0. Isn’t it really lame when that guy wins?


Anyway, today we’re talking Mike Anderson– the pride of Winnsboro, South Carolina and a former sixth round pick out of the University of Utah. Anderson served in the Marines after high school and was 26 by the time he was drafted in 2000 by the Broncos.  Anderson was thrust into the starting role after Olandis Gary went down early in the season, and did not disappoint. On his way to NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, Mike Anderson rushed for 1487 yards on 297 carries and an impressive 15 touchdowns.


Chillin' in Baltimore, starring Mike Anderson. Coming this fall.

Anderson’s carries were cut in half both of the next two seasons, and his production diminished. Finally in 2004, Anderson suffered a season-ending injury during the preseason, and the already improbable run of Mike Anderson all the way to the ranks of the NFL looked to finally be ending.


Going into the ’05 season, Anderson was determined to prove he had one more good NFL season in him, and behind a stellar Broncos offensive line, Mike Anderson once again broached the 1000-yard plateau. In fifteen games Anderson rushed for 1,014 yards and 12 touchdowns, and added another three in two playoff games for Denver.

After that 2005 season, Anderson was a salary cap casualty for the Broncos, after which he signed on with Baltimore, for whom he played only one season. That year saw him  carry the ball only 39 times from a backup role with the Ravens. Mike Anderson’s NFL career came to a close when he was suspended for a full season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, after which no team was willing to take a chance on the running back.  He finished his career with 919 carries, and a 4.4 yards per carry average. Anderson ran with a chip on his shoulder, making sure to always fall forward. And his fifteen minutes of fame will remain well-preserved here at Obscure Athletes.

The continuing saga of Broncos’ 1000-yard rushers gets even more obscure next week, think you can guess who we’ll be looking at?


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