Jeff Kinney
No. 35, 31, 36
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born: (1949-11-01) November 1, 1949 (age 74)
Oxford, Nebraska, U.S.
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:215 lb (98 kg)
Career information
High school:McCook (NE)
NFL draft:1972 / Round: 1 / Pick: 23
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards:1285
Player stats at · PFR

Jeffrey Bruce "Jeff" Kinney (born November 1, 1949) is a former American football player. He played professional as a running back for the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills for five seasons in the National Football League (NFL). At 6'2" and 215 lb., Kinney was selected by the Chiefs in the first round of the 1972 NFL Draft with the 23rd overall pick. He is an alumnus of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.[1][2]

Early years

Born in Oxford, Nebraska, and raised in McCook, Kinney graduated from McCook High School in 1968 and played quarterback.[3]

Nebraska Cornhuskers

He played college football at Nebraska under head coach Bob Devaney, with future head coach Tom Osborne as offensive coordinator.[4] A three-year starter (1969–71), Kinney was the tailback (I-back) on the national championship teams of 1970 and 1971, and the Huskers' leading rusher in 1969 and 1971. He wore #35, often in a tatters, as tear-away jerseys were common for collegiate offensive backs in the early 1970s.

In the "Game of the Century" against the unbeaten Oklahoma Sooners in Norman on Thanksgiving Day 1971, Kinney rushed for 171 yards, 151 in the second half, on 31 carries (5.5 avg.) and scored four touchdowns, the final one with less than two minutes remaining to put Nebraska ahead 35–31, the final score.[5][6][7][8]

The Huskers went 13–0 in 1971 and were consensus national champions; they defeated the next three teams in the final AP poll: Oklahoma, Colorado (31–7 in Lincoln), and Alabama (38–6 in the Orange Bowl). The 1971 Nebraska Cornhuskers are considered among the most dominant teams in college football history. Kinney finished the 1971 season with 1155 yards rushing on 242 carries (4.8 avg.) and 17 touchdowns.[9]


Kinney was the second of three Nebraska Cornhuskers selected in the first round of the 1972 NFL draft; QB Jerry Tagge was taken 11th by his hometown team, the Green Bay Packers, and DT Larry Jacobson was selected by the New York Giants with the 24th overall pick, immediately after.

At the start of his fifth season in the NFL in 1976, he was released by the Chiefs after the first game and picked up by the Buffalo Bills in mid-September.[10][11] Kinney was picked up to replace the injured Jim Braxton as the blocking back for O. J. Simpson. A few weeks after being waived, Kinney gained 114 yards against the Chiefs.[12]

Kinney was waived by the Bills in August 1977,[13] and retired. After football, he worked in financial services.[3]


  1. ^ Jeff Kinney at Pro Football Reference
  2. ^ Jeff Kinney Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine at Database Football
  3. ^ a b Teter, Herb (October 13, 1997). "Jeff Kinney inducted into Hall of Fame". McCook Daily Gazette. Nebraska. p. 9.
  4. ^ - Jeff Kinney interview - 2004-07-02 - accessed 2009-11-09
  5. ^ "Jeff Kinney was Nebraska spark". Wilmington Morning Star. North Carolina. UPI. November 26, 1971. p. 2D.
  6. ^ "Nebraska's Kinney tramples Sooners". Sarasota Journal. Florida. Associated Press. November 26, 1971. p. 1D.
  7. ^ "Huskers dump Sooners". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. November 26, 1971. p. 3B.
  8. ^ - NU @ OU 1971 - accessed 2009-11-06
  9. ^ - 1971 NU statistics - accessed 2009-11-06
  10. ^ "Kinney: it's a business". Lawrence Journal-World. Kansas. Associated Press. September 16, 1976. p. 17.
  11. ^ Chick, Bob (September 27, 1976). "Kinney: O.J.'s new bodyguard". St. Petersburg Independent. Florida. p. 3C.
  12. ^ "O.J. is back! Bills hammer Chiefs, 50-17". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. October 4, 1976. p. 4, part 2.
  13. ^ "Sports transactions". The Hour. Norwalk, Connecticut. September 1, 1977. p. 29.