Running quarterbacks are certainly exciting to watch both on television, and playing with them in video games (especially Tecmo Super Bowl). There’s nothing better than being able to add another threat on the ground when your passing lanes are clogged. And I’d imagine for Eagles fans growing up in the late 80’s to early 90’s, there was nothing more exciting than seeing Cunningham running for a first down on a broken play – plays that would’ve likely resulted in disaster for most other quarterbacks.
Randall Cunningham really had the chance to go down as one of the greatest QB’s of all-time. His passer rating of 81.5 is pretty high, especially for a mobile signal-caller. But injuries, questionable coaching (Rich Kotite, yikes), and other happenings prevented The Ultimate Weapon from ever really accruing enough stats to get serious HOF consideration. Could you imagine this guy in today’s NFL offenses, with the Pistol, Wildcat, and spread offenses abounding? The stats he could hypothetically put up are scary.
Below, you can find some crazy awesome highlights of Randall’s career. There’s plenty of them, but we’ve whittled it down to half a dozen of them. Stay tuned.
A few more things to note about Cunningham. He’s still #2 all-time in rushing yards by a quarterback. He paved the way for guys like Michael Vick to get a real NFL shot. Cunningham was out of football in 1996 after retiring briefly, and he missed a combined 27 games in 1991/1993 with major injuries. In fact, his 1993 season, he was on pace for some great stats – and he was 4-0 to boot.
Here’s 6 major highlights from Cunningham’s career.
#1. Randall Cunningham could punt, too.
In a 1989 game against the Giants, Randall Cunningham unleashed a 91 yard punt, which is still one of the 5 longest in NFL history.
#2. Cunningham to Randy Moss? Yes, that happened.
For one magical season, Randall Cunningham and Randy Moss lit the entire NFL up with record-setting offensive numbers – had it not been for a fateful missed field goal late in the 1998 NFC Championship Game against Atlanta, it would’ve likely been those Vikings against the defending champion Denver Broncos. Not to slight the Falcons, but that would’ve been a matchup for the ages.
Imagine the numbers a younger Cunningham would’ve put up with the WR in Moss that he never had in his younger days (seriously, his best pass catcher was probably Fred Barnett in the Philly days).
#3. Bruce Smith sacks Cunningham in the end zone for a safety? Not today, Bruce.
For over a decade, and possibly even through his career, there may not have been a more feared pass rusher on any defensive line than Bills DE Bruce Smith. An anchor for 4 consecutive Super Bowl appearances for Buffalo, he racked up sack numbers that most could only dream of. So when Buffalo was playing the Eagles in a 1990 game, it was a killer matchup. On a 3rd and 14 deep in their own territory, Randall Cunningham took the snap, ducked under what would’ve been a Bruce Smith sack for a safety, and threw a bomb to Eagles WR Fred Barnett that went for a 95-yard TD pass. Stunning.
#4. Randall Cunningham was on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Randall was arguably at the peak of his powers in 1989, as he was leading the Eagles to playoff appearances and putting up numbers unheard of for a quarterback. He landed the cover of Sports Illustrated for the 1989-1990 NFL Preview edition.
#5. His career stats would’ve been even better if not for benchings, questionable coaching, and injuries.
If major knee/leg injuries in 1991 and 1993 had never happened, his rushing numbers might be untouchable today, even though Michael Vick would’ve likely come close.
#6. Randall Cunningham had one of the league’s greatest comeback stories ever
Fans of the sport should never forget that Randall Cunningham was completely out of football in 1996, where he started up a marble business. 2 years later, he put up arguably the best season of his career with an offensive nucleus of Randy Moss, Jake Reed, Cris Carter, and Robert Smith. For a player to go from completely out of football to almost reaching the Super Bowl and having a career year two years later? Insane.
#Bonus: Cunningham was one of the best video game athletes
Seriously, while you have Bo Jackson, Barry Sanders, Jerry Rice, and many other killer athletes from the Tecmo Super Bowl series, no QB posed a threat quite like Randall.
What were your favorite Randall Cunningham highlights?