Before the infamous “Trial of the Century,” OJ Simpson was better known as one of the most famous running backs in football history. The trial after the gruesome double murder in 1994 of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman forever stained the reputation of the beloved athlete, actor and broadcaster.
America fell in love with Simpson early on in his football career. He played both offensive and defensive positions at City College of San Francisco from 1965 to 1966. His skills on the field were noticed and won him an athletic scholarship to University of Southern California, where he would prove to be one of the best college football players of all time.
During his two years with the Trojans he was untouchable. He led the NCAA in rushing in 1967, running 1,543 yards and scoring 13 touchdowns and led again in 1968 with 383 carries for 1,880 yards.
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In 1967, during his junior year, he was a Heisman Trophy candidate and starred in the famed USC vs UCLA football game. In 1988, The Sporting News' "College Football's Twenty-Five Greatest Teams" called the game in which Simpson ran 64 yards for the touchdown to tie the game one of the greatest of the 20th Century.
In both 1967 and 1968, he was named a consensus All-American and won the Walter Camp Award for player of the year.
In 1968 he rushed 1,709 yards with 22 touchdowns and won the Heisman Trophy with, to date, the largest margin of victory defeating runner up Leroy Keyes from Purdue by 1,750 points. His star performance that year also won him the Maxwell Award for collegiate player of the year.
Simpson's electrifying performances garnered the attention of professional teams, and he was the No. 1 NFL draft pick in 1969. The running back debuted as a professional football player for the Buffalo Bills and went on to some memorable individual accomplishments while with the team until he was traded in 1978 to the San Francisco 49ers.
Career highlights while with the Buffalo Bills included becoming the first player to pass the 2,000 yard mark on the ground, rushing for 2,003 yards in 1973, winning four NFL rushing titles between 1972 and 1976, winning the Pro Bowl Player of the year award in 1973 and playing in six Pro Bowls.
He retired in 1979 after playing two seasons with the 49ers.
In 1983, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and in 1985 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
After leading a successful and well-known football career Simpson went on to act in several TV shows and films and was a NFL sports commentator. He was also the face of several brand endorsements with national and international fame.