98 Facts About Barry Sanders


Barry Sanders was born on July 16,1968 and is an American former professional football player who played as a running back in the National Football League from 1989 to 1998 for the Detroit Lions.


Barry Sanders played college football for the Oklahoma State Cowboys, where as a college junior in 1988, he compiled what is widely considered among the greatest individual seasons in college football history, rushing for 2,628 yards and 37 touchdowns in 11 games.


Barry Sanders was awarded the Heisman Trophy and was unanimously recognized as an All-American.


Barry Sanders was selected by the Lions in 1989, and had an immediate impact in his rookie season, winning the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.


In 1991, Barry Sanders helped lead the Lions to their first and only postseason win since 1958.


In 1994, Barry Sanders was awarded the NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award.


Barry Sanders cited the Lions' front office and declining team production as reasons for his retirement.

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Barry Sanders finished his career with 15,269 rushing yards, and 99 rushing touchdowns ; in each of his ten seasons he was selected to a Pro Bowl and All-Pro team.


Barry Sanders is considered by many as one of the greatest running backs in NFL history.


Barry Sanders was first inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in 1998, into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003 and in that same year inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.


In 2000, Barry Sanders was included in the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team, and in 2019, Barry Sanders was named to the National Football League 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.


Barry Sanders was born on July 16,1968, in Wichita, Kansas, the seventh of eleven children to William and Shirley Barry Sanders.


Barry Sanders's father worked as a roofer and carpenter, while his mother worked as a homemaker for the Sanders family.


Table-tennis and baseball were sports that Barry Sanders tried to take a part in.


Barry Sanders did not become the starting running back until the fourth game of his senior year, when the original player was suspended for disciplinary reasons; he rushed for 274 yards and four touchdowns in that game.


Barry Sanders rushed for 1,417 yards on 139 rushing attempts, averaging 10.2 yards per rushing attempt, and scored 17 touchdowns through his seven-game senior season.


Barry Sanders later said that his choice to play at Oklahoma State caused a conflict between him and his father.


When Oklahoma State's coach came to his father's house with a letter of intent the day Barry Sanders signed with the team, his father was frustrated, saying as the coach walked out the door that Barry Sanders was "making a big mistake" when signing with the team.


In 1986, Barry Sanders played in eight games and rushed for 325 rushing yards on 74 rushing attempts, with two rushing touchdowns.


Barry Sanders was named a second-team College Football All-American as a return specialist.


Barry Sanders was not fond of this as he believed Thomas to be a good teammate.


Thomas moved on to the NFL in 1988, which allowed Barry Sanders to become the starter for his junior year in college.


In 1988, in what is considered one of the greatest individual seasons in college football history, Barry Sanders became the first player to open two consecutive seasons with a 100-yard kickoff return.


Barry Sanders led the nation by averaging 7.6 yards per attempt and over 200 yards per game, including rushing for over 300 yards in four games.


Barry Sanders set college football season records with 2,628 yards rushing, 3,248 total all-purpose yards, 234 points, 37 rushing touchdowns, and 39 total touchdowns,.

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Barry Sanders had five consecutive 200-yard games, scored at least two touchdowns in all eleven games, and eight times he scored at least three touchdowns.


Barry Sanders ran for 222 yards and scored five touchdowns in just three quarters of action in the 1988 Holiday Bowl, a game that is not included in the official NCAA season statistics.


Barry Sanders learned of his Heisman Trophy win while he was with the team in Tokyo, Japan preparing to face Texas Tech in the Coca-Cola Classic, accepting the award via satellite; he garnered 559 first-place votes for 1,878 points, becoming the eighth non-college senior to attain the trophy, and was selected as a unanimous All-American.


Barry Sanders initially announced that he was not going to enter the NFL Draft, but after receiving pressure from his father, he announced his entrance into the draft.


Barry Sanders set 34 NCAA Division I FBS records in his college career, and still holds the following records:.


Barry Sanders did not participate in the training camp of his rookie season due to a contract dispute.


When Okoye's game ended, Barry Sanders trailed Okoye by only ten yards.


Yet Barry Sanders declined to return to the game, letting Okoye keep the rushing title.


Barry Sanders finished the season totaling 1,470 rushing yards off of 280 attempts and 14 touchdowns.


Barry Sanders's rushing total was both a rookie franchise record, and a franchise record for any running back in Lions history.


Barry Sanders was awarded the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, and named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team.


Barry Sanders was selected to the Pro Bowl and was named a first-team All-Pro by the Associated Press.


On September 9,1990, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Barry Sanders had 79 yards from 14 rushing attempts and a goal-line touchdown.


Barry Sanders had 16 attempts for 90 yards and a touchdown, coupled with five receptions for 135 yards receiving and a 47-yard receiving touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs.


Barry Sanders had a productive year, finishing the year first in the NFL in rushing yards, with 1,304, becoming the first Lions running back to lead the league in rushing yards since Byron White in 1940.


Barry Sanders ranked third in rushing touchdowns, and sixth in both attempts, and yards per attempt.


Barry Sanders dedicated the win to teammate Mike Utley, who suffered a career-ending spinal cord injury the previous game.


Barry Sanders finished the regular season with 1,548 rushing yards from a workload of 342 attempts.


Barry Sanders led the league in rushing touchdowns, with a career-high 16.


The 1992 season was the most successful season in terms of wins with Barry Sanders starting at running back.

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Barry Sanders helped lead the Lions to their first postseason victory since the team won the 1957 NFL Championship Game.


Barry Sanders finished the postseason with 23 attempts for 113 yards and a touchdown.


On September 13,1992, Barry Sanders had 26 attempts for 66 yards against the Minnesota Vikings.


Barry Sanders's rushing total against the Bengals brought his career total to 5,202 rushing yards, passing Sims for a new franchise record.


Barry Sanders finished his final regular season game with 19 attempts for 104 yards against the San Francisco 49ers.


Barry Sanders was selected to the Pro Bowl and named an AP second-team All-Pro for the first time.


On November 25,1993, against the Chicago Bears, Barry Sanders was credited with 16 attempts for 63 yards before leaving the game with an injury.


Barry Sanders was fifth in the league in rushing yards, ninth in attempts, and second in rushing yards per game ; with a career-low three rushing touchdowns.


Barry Sanders was named to the Pro Bowl and an AP second-team All-Pro.


On September 25,1994, against the New England Patriots, Barry Sanders recorded 18 attempts for 131 yards and two touchdowns.


Barry Sanders finished first in the league in rushing yards, recording 331 attempts for 1,883 rushing yards and scoring seven touchdowns.


Barry Sanders's single-season rushing total was fourth in NFL history up to that point.


Barry Sanders totaled 2,166 yards from scrimmage, which, at the time, was the seventh-most ever in a season.


Barry Sanders was named the NFL Offensive Player of the Year for the 1994 season and finished second in NFL Most Valuable Player voting behind Steve Young.


The 1995 season began against the Pittsburgh Steelers; Barry Sanders recorded 21 rushing attempts for 108 yards.


Barry Sanders finished with 314 attempts for 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns.


Barry Sanders had ten attempts for 40 yards as the Lions' rushing game was stuffed by the Eagles' defense.


In 1996, during the first game of the season against the Minnesota Vikings, Barry Sanders recorded 24 rushing attempts for 163 rushing yards.


Barry Sanders scored 11 rushing touchdowns, and had 97.1 rushing yards per game, which was first in the league.


At this point in his career, Barry Sanders had 11,725 career rushing yards, seventh all-time, and ranked eighth all-time in career rushing touchdowns, with 84.

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Barry Sanders had a season that is considered among the greatest ever by a running back.


Barry Sanders recorded 2,053 rushing yards, which was first in the league that season, from 335 attempts, and 11 touchdowns, becoming just the third running back in history to reach 2,000 rushing yards in a season.


Barry Sanders was named to the Pro Bowl and AP first-team All-Pro, and awarded the Bert Bell Award.


Barry Sanders was awarded his second NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award, and the NFL Most Valuable Player.


On September 13,1998, against the Cincinnati Bengals, Barry Sanders recorded 185 rushing yards from 26 rushing attempts with three touchdowns.


Barry Sanders capped off his final season with 1,491 rushing yards, from a career-high 343 attempts, and four touchdowns.


Barry Sanders was nine yards short of completing five straight seasons with at least 1,500 rushing yards.


Barry Sanders was selected to his tenth Pro Bowl, and named an AP second-team All-Pro.


On July 27,1999, Barry Sanders announced his retirement from pro football, the day before Lions training camp was set to start.


Barry Sanders's retirement was made public by faxing a letter to The Wichita Eagle, his hometown newspaper.


Barry Sanders left football healthy, having gained 15,269 rushing yards.


Barry Sanders retired within 1,457 rushing yards of Walter Payton's career rushing mark of 16,726 yards.


Barry Sanders' retirement came somewhat unexpectedly and was a matter of controversy.


Two years earlier, Barry Sanders had renewed his contract with the Lions for $34.56 million over six years with an $11 million signing bonus.


Barry Sanders' agents refused, and the Lions filed a grievance with the NFL.


On February 15,2000, an arbitrator ruled that Barry Sanders had to immediately repay $1,833,000, with the remaining bonus to be repaid over each of the three years Barry Sanders had left on the contract provided he stayed retired.


Barry Sanders is widely regarded as one of the greatest running backs in the history of the NFL, being ranked No 1 by Bleacher Report and in the top ten by other media outlets.


When he retired, Barry Sanders was ranked second all-time in career rushing yards with 15,269 rushing yards, sixth all-time in career rushing touchdowns with 99 rushing touchdowns, and second all-time in career rushing attempts with 3,062 attempts.


Over his entire career, Barry Sanders averaged 1,527 rushing yards per season, and 99.8 rushing yards per game, the latter stat second to Jim Brown.


Barry Sanders never went below 1,000 yards in any of his ten seasons and has the second-most career 1,000-yard rushing seasons, with ten.

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Barry Sanders was a notable bright spot on a Lions franchise that had endured years of unsuccessful play, helping to lead the team to their first playoff victory in decades.


Barry Sanders was honored by the Lions when they inducted him into the Pride of the Lions, the franchise's ring of honor.


Barry Sanders was named first-team All-Pro six times; and named second-team All-Pro four times.


Barry Sanders was named NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 1994 and 1997, awarded two Bert Bell Awards, and was named to the 1990s NFL All-Decade team.


At the age of 36, Barry Sanders became the second-youngest player to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


In 2019, Barry Sanders was named to the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.


Barry Sanders led the NFL in rushing yards four times, and in rushing touchdowns once in 1994.


In commemoration of the 150th year of college football, Barry Sanders was honored during halftime at the College Football Playoff National Championship game on January 13,2020, as the No 9 player of all time.


In contrast to many of the star players of his era, Barry Sanders was noted for his on-field humility.


Barry Sanders was recognized for putting his team's success over his stats, as shown when he denied a request from head coach Wayne Fontes to return to play in a game so that he could gain enough rushing yards to become the rushing leader for that season.


Barry Sanders disliked speaking to the press, and rarely spoke about his accomplishments publicly.


Barry Sanders has reportedly donated to several charities, under the condition that they do not disclose his participation in any of them.


Barry Sanders introduced ESPN's Monday Night Football game between the Chicago Bears and the Lions on October 10,2011.