Archie Griffin

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Archie Griffin
Archie Griffin.jpg
Archie Griffin.
No. 45
Position: Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1954-08-21) August 21, 1954 (age 60)
Place of birth: Columbus, Ohio
Career information
College: Ohio State
NFL draft: 1976 – 1st round – 24th pick
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards: 2,808
Average: 4.1
Touchdowns: 7
Stats at

Archie Mason Griffin (born August 21, 1954) is a former American football running back. Griffin played seven seasons in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals. He is college football's only two-time Heisman Trophy winner. Griffin won four Big Ten Conference titles with the Ohio State Buckeyes and was the first player ever to start in four Rose Bowls.

High school career[edit]

Griffin rushed for 1,787 yards and scored over 170 points in 11 games, including 29 touchdowns, as a senior fullback at Eastmoor High School (now Eastmoor Academy) in Columbus, Ohio. That year he led Eastmoor to the Columbus City League championship, rushing for 267 yards on 31 carries in the title game against Linden-McKinley High School. In his junior year, Griffin also rushed for over 1,000 yards.[1]


  • In 1996 Griffin was inducted into the high school hall of fame.
  • Eastmoor Academy renamed their playing field "Archie Griffin Field" in his honor.[2]

College career[edit]

Griffin played for the Ohio State University Buckeyes from 1972-75. His freshman year was the first year freshmen could play on the varsity team, so when he won a starting position, many sophomores were disappointed because Griffin took their spots. Former Ohio State head coach Woody Hayes said of Griffin, "He's a better young man than he is a football player, and he's the best football player I've ever seen."[3]

In 1972 Griffin was a T-formation halfback, and from 1973 through 1975 he was the team's I-formation tailback. He led the Buckeyes in rushing as a freshman with 867 yards, but his numbers exploded the following year with the team's conversion to the I-formation. He rushed for 1,428 yards in the regular season as a sophomore, 1,620 as a junior, 1,357 as a senior. Griffin is the only back to lead the Big Ten Conference in rushing for three straight years. Overall, Griffin rushed for 5,589 yards on 924 carries in his four seasons with the Buckeyes (1972–1975), then an NCAA record. He had 6,559 all-purpose yards and scored 26 touchdowns. In their four seasons with Griffin as their starting running back, the Buckeyes posted a record of 40-5-1.[4] Griffin is one of only two players in collegiate football history to start four Rose Bowl games, the other being Brian Cushing.

Griffin introduced himself to OSU fans in his third game as a freshman by setting a school single-game rushing record of 239 yards in the second game of the 1972 season, against North Carolina, breaking a team record that had stood for 27 seasons. Coincidentally, his only carry in his first game had resulted in a fumble. He broke his own record as a sophomore with 246 rushing yards in a game against the Iowa Hawkeyes. Over his four-year collegiate career, Griffin rushed for at least 100 yards in 34 games, including an NCAA record 31 consecutive games.

Career rushing statistics[edit]

Year Att Yds Avg TD
1972 159 867 5.5 3
1973 247 1,577 6.4 7
1974 256 1,695 6.6 12
1975 262 1,450 5.5 4[5]


Griffin finished fifth in the Heisman vote in his sophomore year and won the award as a junior and senior. He has been the only NCAA football player to date to win the award twice, a feat that will be difficult for current players to match.[6] In addition to his two Heisman Trophies, Griffin won many other College Awards. He is one of two players to win The Big 10 Most Valuable Player Award twice (1973–1974). United Press International named him Player of the Year twice (1974–1975), the Walter Camp Foundation named him top player twice (1974–1975), he won the Maxwell Award (1975), and Sporting News named him Man of the Year (1975). Griffin is also one of two players in NCAA history to start in four Rose Bowl games in a single career.

The College Football Hall of Fame enshrined Griffin in 1986. Ohio State enshrined him their own Varsity O Hall of Fame in 1981 and officially retired his number, #45, in 1999. He was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 1990. In 2007, he was ranked #21 on ESPN's Top 25 Players In College Football History list. On January 1, 2014, Archie Griffin was named the All-Century Player of the Rose Bowl Game during the celebration of the 100th Rose Bowl Game and participated in the Rose Parade.

Professional football career[edit]

In the 1976 NFL Draft, he was the first-round draft choice of the Cincinnati Bengals, selected as the 24th overall pick in the draft. Griffin played 7 seasons in the NFL, all with the Bengals (1976–1982). He was joined in the backfield with his college fullback teammate Pete Johnson, who was drafted by the Bengals in 1977, and his brother, Ohio State defensive back Ray Griffin, who was drafted by the team in 1978. During his 7 NFL seasons, he rushed for 2808 yards and 7 touchdowns, and caught 192 passes for 1607 yards and 6 touchdowns. Griffin played in Super Bowl XVI with the Bengals after the 1981 season. However, Griffin struggled throughout his professional career, rushing for 100 yards or more in only three games and failing to record a 700-yard season.[7]

After his career with the Bengals ended, Griffin played briefly with the Jacksonville Bulls of the United States Football League.

Career after football[edit]

Griffin returned to Ohio State University to receive a MBA. Griffin is currently the President and CEO of The Ohio State University Alumni Association. He is also the current spokesman for the Wendy's High School Heisman award program. Formerly, he served as Assistant Athletic Director for The Ohio State University and still speaks to the football team before every game.

Griffin also serves on the Board of Directors for Motorists Insurance which has offices in downtown Columbus and the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, based in Irving, Texas.

Along with former NBA basketball star Magic Johnson, Griffin is a part owner of the Dayton Dragons, a Class Single-A minor league baseball team affiliated with Major League Baseball's Cincinnati Reds.[8]


Griffin is a son of Margret and James Griffin. He has six brothers and a sister. His brothers are named Jimmy, Larry, Daryle, Duncan, Raymond (former NFL cornerback who for a time was a teammate with the Bengals), and Keith who also played in the NFL. His sister is named Crystal. Griffin is married to Bonita and has three sons, Anthony, Adam and Andre.

Griffin's son Andre is currently entering his seventh year as an assistant football coach at Saginaw Valley State University.[9]

His son Adam played as a defensive back for the Ohio State football team for three seasons until a shoulder injury ended his football career.[10]


External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
John R. Baiorunos
Pat Haden
Randy L. Hall
Jarrett T. Hubbard
Tony Waldrop
NCAA Top Five Award
Class of 1976
Marvin L. Cobb
Archie Griffin
Bruce A. Hamming
P. Timothy Moore
John M. Sciarra
Succeeded by
Jeff Dankworth
Randolph H. Dean
Steve Furniss
John Hencken
Gerald G. Huesken
Preceded by
Dianne Baker
Junior Bridgeman
Pat Haden
Lisa Rosenblum
John Dickson Stufflebeem
John Trembley
Silver Anniversary Awards (NCAA)
Class of 2001
Alpha V. Alexander
Archie Griffin
Steve Largent
Steve Raible
Lee Roy Selmon
Wally Walker
Succeeded by
Richard C. Chapman
Maurice "Bo" Ellis
Herman Frazier
Betsy King
John Naber
Rodney E. Slater
Preceded by
Ed Marinaro
NCAA Division I FBS Career Rushing Yards record
Succeeded by
Tony Dorsett