Archie Griffin
refer to caption
Griffin in 2022
No. 45
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born: (1954-08-21) August 21, 1954 (age 69)
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Height:5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight:189 lb (86 kg)
Career information
High school:Eastmoor
(Columbus, Ohio)
College:Ohio State (1972–1975)
NFL Draft:1976 / Round: 1 / Pick: 24
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards:2,808
Rushing average:4.1
Rushing touchdowns:7
Receiving yards:1,607
Receiving touchdowns:6
Player stats at · PFR

Archie Mason Griffin (born August 21, 1954) is an American former football running back who played for seven seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the Ohio State Buckeyes. The only two-time Heisman Trophy winner, he is considered one of the greatest college football players of all time.[1] Griffin won four Big Ten Conference titles with the Buckeyes and was the first player ever to start in four Rose Bowls. He also played professionally for the Jacksonville Bulls of the United States Football League (USFL).

High school career

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.[2]

In 1996, Griffin was inducted into the High School Hall of Fame. Eastmoor Academy renamed their playing field "Archie Griffin Field" in his honor.[3]

College career

Griffin played for the Ohio State University Buckeyes from 1972-75. When he won a starting position his freshman year, many sophomores were disappointed because Griffin took their spot. 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."[4]

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 was the only back to lead the Big Ten Conference in rushing for three straight years until Jonathan Taylor did so from 2017-2019. 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.[5] 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 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. 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

Season Team Rushing
Att Yds Avg TD
1972 Ohio State 159 867 5.5 3
1973 Ohio State 247 1,577 6.4 7
1974 Ohio State 256 1,695 6.6 12
1975 Ohio State 262 1,450 5.5 4
Career 924 5,589 6.0 26


Griffin finished fifth in the Heisman vote in his sophomore year and won the award as a junior and senior. He is the only NCAA football player to date to win the award twice.[6] In addition to his two Heisman Trophies, Griffin won many other college awards. He is one of four players to win the Chicago Tribune Silver Football, the Big 10's Most Valuable Player Award, twice (1973–1974).[7] 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).

The College Football Hall of Fame enshrined Griffin in 1986. Ohio State enshrined him in 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 No. 21 on ESPN's Top 25 Players In College Football History list. On January 1, 2014, 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.

In 2013, Griffin was inducted into the International Sports Hall of Fame.[8]

Professional football career

In the 1976 NFL Draft, Griffin was selected in the first round, 24th overall, by the Cincinnati Bengals. He played seven seasons in the NFL, all with the Bengals, from 1976 to 1982. He was joined in the backfield by his college fullback teammate Pete Johnson, drafted by the Bengals in 1977, and his brother and Ohio State defensive back Ray Griffin, drafted in 1978. Griffin rushed for 2808  career yards and 7 touchdowns, and caught 192 passes for 1607 yards and 6 touchdowns. He played in Super Bowl XVI with the Bengals in 1982. He finished the game with one carry for four yards, and muffed a kick return in the 26–21 loss.[citation needed]

Following the end of his Bengals career, Griffin played briefly with the Jacksonville Bulls of the United States Football League.[citation needed]

Career after football

Griffin in 2015

Griffin is the former president and CEO of the Ohio State University Alumni Association. He is also the current[when?] spokesman for the Wendy's High School Heisman award program. Formerly, he served as assistant athletic director for the university and speaks to the football team before every game.[citation needed]

Griffin also serves on the board of directors for Motorists Insurance, which has offices in downtown Columbus, Abercrombie and Fitch, and the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, based in Irving, Texas.[citation needed]

Along with former National Basketball Association basketball player Magic Johnson, Griffin was one of the investors in Mandalay Baseball Properties LLC, which owned the Dayton Dragons, a single-A Minor League affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, prior to the sale of the team in 2014 to Palisades Arcadia Baseball LLC.[9][10][11]


Griffin is a son of Margaret and James Griffin. He has six brothers and a sister. His brothers include Raymond, a former NFL cornerback and a teammate with the Bengals, and Keith who also played in the NFL.[citation needed]

In 2020, Griffin's son Andre became an assistant coach at Ohio Northern University and was previously the head coach at Lima Senior High School.[citation needed] Another son, Adam, played as a defensive back for Ohio State for three seasons until a shoulder injury ended his playing career.[12] Griffin also has three grandsons.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ "The 150 greatest players in college football's 150-year history". January 14, 2020.
  2. ^ "National High School Hall of Fame: Archie Griffin". Archived from the original on September 6, 2006.
  3. ^ "Legends of HS Football: Archie Griffin". Archived from the original on March 20, 2006.
  4. ^ Hackenberg, Dave (May 16, 2001). "Griffin singing praise for Buckeyes' Tressel". Toledo Blade. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  5. ^ "Archie Griffin: Associate Athletic Director". Archived from the original on August 14, 2006.
  6. ^ Maise, Ivan (December 10, 2014). "Archie Griffin still Heisman standard". Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  7. ^ "Past Silver Football winners". Chicago Tribune. December 8, 2016. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  8. ^ Dr. Robert Goldman (March 12, 2013). "2013 International Sports Hall of Fame Inductees". Retrieved July 14, 2023.
  9. ^ "Single-A team celebrates 815th sellout". ESPN. July 24, 2011.
  10. ^ "Report: Deal to sell Dayton Dragons reached".
  11. ^ "Palisades Arcadia to acquire Dayton Dragons".
  12. ^ " Buckeye Biography - #11 Adam Griffin". Archived from the original on April 20, 2014. Retrieved September 17, 2014.
Preceded byEd Marinaro NCAA Division I FBS career rushing yards record 1975–1976 Succeeded byTony Dorsett