Mark van Eeghen
refer to caption
Van Eeghen with the Oakland Raiders in 1979
No. 30, 34
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born: (1952-04-19) April 19, 1952 (age 71)
Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:223 lb (101 kg)
Career information
High school:Cranston West (RI)
College:Colgate (1971–1973)
NFL draft:1974 / Round: 3 / Pick: 75
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards:6,651
Rushing average:4.0
Rushing touchdowns:37
Receptions:174
Receiving yards:1,583
Receiving touchdowns:4
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Mark van Eeghen (born April 19, 1952)[1] is an American former professional football player who was a running back for ten years in the National Football League (NFL), during which he made two Super Bowl appearances. He played eight seasons for the Oakland Raiders (1974–1981) and then two seasons with the New England Patriots (1982–1983). Van Eeghen rushed for over 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons from 1976 to 1978.[2]

Early life and education

Van Eeghen was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on April 19, 1952. He played high school football at Cranston High School West in Cranston, Rhode Island, where he graduated in 1970 and earned all-state football honors as a senior.[3]

College career

He then played at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics in 1974.[3] While at Colgate, he set the school's single-season rushing record in 1973 with 1,089 yards.[3] In his three college seasons, van Eeghen rushed for 2,591 yards and 27 touchdowns, while also catching 31 passes for 361 yards and 2 scores.[4] Van Eeghen was inducted into Colgate's Hall of Honor in 1980.[5]

Professional career

Oakland Raiders

In 1974, Van Eeghen took over as fullback of the Oakland Raiders from Marv Hubbard, Colgate alumnus who van Eeghen cited as an influence in picking up blockers in blitz. He had 28 carries in his rookie season for 139 yards. He scored his first touchdown in the first game of the following season against the Miami Dolphins on September 22.[6] He got 136 carries for 597 yards for the whole season with three total scores. He had his first 1,000-yard season in 1976, which saw him carry the ball 233 times for 1,012 yards, with his first 100-yard game being on November 21 against Philadelphia.[7] In his first level of significant playoff action against the New England Patriots in the 1976 playoff run, he was the leading rusher for Oakland with 11 carries for 39 yards. With the Raiders down 21–10 in the fourth quarter, he scored on a touchdown run to narrow the deficit in a game the Raiders later won 24–21 in the Divisional Round.[8] In Super Bowl XI, he and Clarence Davis made up a running tandem that ran for over 200 combined yards on the Vikings, with van Eeghen running for 73 yards in the 32–14 victory that gave Oakland their first Super Bowl ring.[9] He received attention in his 1977 season with a career high in rushing yards, where he ran for 1,273 yards on 324 carries. He scored seven total touchdowns and received a Pro Bowl nomination and an All-Pro second team.[10]

In the 1980 season, Van Eeghen was part of the Raiders team that advanced to Super Bowl XV. Van Eeghen had three touchdowns in the 1980 playoff run of four games, and two of them came in the Divisional Round against the Cleveland Browns. He ran for 45 yards on 20 carries but was utilized for short yardage runs that saw him get into the endzone twice, which included the go-ahead score to make it 14–12 in a Divisional Round game later known as Red Right 88.[11] In the AFC Championship Game against the San Diego Chargers, van Eeghen scored a touchdown in the second quarter to give Oakland a 28–7 lead in a game that saw them win 34–27. He was the leading rusher of the game with 20 carries for 85 yards.[12] In Super Bowl XV, the Raiders defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 27–10. Van Eeghen was the game's leading rusher with 75 yards on 18 carries.[13] He left the Raiders in 1982 as the team's all-time leading rusher with 5,907 yards, passing Clem Daniels. He was later passed by Marcus Allen, who started playing for the team the year after van Eeghen left the team.[14]

New England Patriots

He was waived by the Raiders after the 1982 season. He then joined the New England Patriots, where he appeared in the infamous Snowplow Game. Patriots quarterback Steve Grogan attempted only five passes in the game due to the extensive snow and ice, leaving the ground attack as the only offensive option. Van Eeghen rushed the ball 22 times for 100 yards in the 3–0 Patriots win. He made his final playoff appearance in the 1983 game against the Miami Dolphins, where he ran for 40 yards on nine carries in the 28–13 Wild Card Round loss.[15] He was used sparingly in the subsequent season, where he carried the ball 95 times for 358 yards with two touchdowns.[16]

Van Eeghen finished his ten NFL seasons with 6,651 career rushing yards, 174 career receptions for 1,583 receiving yards, and 41 career touchdowns (37 rushing and four receiving).

NFL career statistics

Legend
Won the Super Bowl
Bold Career high

Regular season

Year Team Games Rushing Receiving
GP GS Att Yds Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Avg Lng TD
1974 OAK 14 0 28 139 5.0 17 0 4 33 8.3 12 0
1975 OAK 14 8 136 597 4.4 22 2 12 42 3.5 18 1
1976 OAK 14 14 233 1,012 4.3 21 3 17 173 10.2 21 0
1977 OAK 14 14 324 1,273 3.9 27 7 15 135 9.0 30 0
1978 OAK 16 16 270 1,080 4.0 34 9 27 291 10.8 33 0
1979 OAK 16 16 223 818 3.7 19 7 54 474 9.3 36 2
1980 OAK 16 16 222 838 3.8 34 5 29 259 8.9 37 0
1981 OAK 8 3 39 150 3.8 11 2 7 60 8.6 13 0
1982 NE 9 5 82 386 4.7 17 0 2 14 7.0 9 1
1983 NE 15 11 95 358 3.8 11 2 10 102 10.2 23 0
Career 136 103 1,652 6,651 4.0 34 37 174 1,583 9.1 37 4

Postseason

Year Team Games Rushing Receiving
GP GS Att Yds Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Avg Lng TD
1974 OAK 2 0
1975 OAK 2 0 1 3 3.0 3 0
1976 OAK 3 3 51 178 3.5 11 1 2 22 11.0 14 0
1977 OAK 2 2 39 147 3.8 16 0 4 47 11.8 23 0
1980 OAK 4 4 72 251 3.5 14 3 4 44 11.0 21 0
1982 NE 1 1 9 40 4.4 9 0 1 5 5.0 5 0
Career 14 10 172 619 3.6 16 0 11 118 10.7 23 0

Awards

In 2002, van Eeghen was inducted into the Rhode Island Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame in recognition of his career.[3] This reflected that he was voted fourth on a list of the top 50 Greatest Sports Figures by Sports Illustrated.[3]

Personal life

Van Eeghen's daughter Amber, a former New England Patriots cheerleader

Van Eeghen became a commercial real estate agent after retirement from football, having sold business insurance in the two offseasons prior to his retirement; he would work as an agent for 30 years.[17]

Van Eeghen has three daughters, including Amber (born 1980), who joined the cheerleading squad of his last team, the New England Patriots,[2] where she took part in two overseas tours with the Patriot cheerleaders to perform for U.S. troops in multiple foreign countries. She attended the University of Rhode Island, where she became captain of the "Ramettes" cheerleaders. She is currently married to Pro Bowl center Dan Koppen, a former center for the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos.[18]

Owing to his playing days, van Eeghen had knee replacement surgery in 2003. 10 years later, a revision surgery at a local hospital, saw contract MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) in his knee. Three attempts to treat the knee saw the MRSA come back each time, which necessitated going to New England Baptist Hospital for further treatment, which saw a new knee after a three-month antibiotic course. Months later, he went back to the hospital to aid him in chronic back pain caused by spinal stenosis.[19]

References

  1. ^ "34 Mark Van Eeghen FB". patriots.com. New England Patriots. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved June 2, 2006.
  2. ^ a b Goode, Jon (February 14, 2004). "A Patriots cheerleader: Catching up with Mark Van Eeghen". The Boston Globe (through boston.com). The New York Times Company. Retrieved June 2, 2006.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Scholar Athlete Hall of Fame". Institute for International Sport. Archived from the original on April 8, 2006. Retrieved June 2, 2006.
  4. ^ "Mark Van Eeghen College Stats, School, Draft, Gamelog, Splits". College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved December 30, 2023.
  5. ^ "Mark van Eeghen (1980) - HALL OF HONOR". Colgate University Athletics. Retrieved January 4, 2024.
  6. ^ "Mark van Eeghen 1975 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved January 4, 2024.
  7. ^ "Mark van Eeghen 1976 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved January 4, 2024.
  8. ^ "Divisional Round - New England Patriots at Oakland Raiders - December 18th, 1976". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved January 4, 2024.
  9. ^ "Super Bowl XI - Oakland Raiders vs. Minnesota Vikings - January 9th, 1977". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved January 4, 2024.
  10. ^ "Mark van Eeghen 1977 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved January 4, 2024.
  11. ^ "Divisional Round - Oakland Raiders at Cleveland Browns - January 4th, 1981". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved January 4, 2024.
  12. ^ "AFC Championship - Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers - January 11th, 1981". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved January 4, 2024.
  13. ^ "Super Bowl XV - Oakland Raiders vs. Philadelphia Eagles - January 25th, 1981". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved January 4, 2024.
  14. ^ "Las Vegas Raiders Career Rushing Leaders". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved January 4, 2024.
  15. ^ "Wild Card – New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins – January 8th, 1983". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved January 4, 2024.
  16. ^ "Mark van Eeghen 1983 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved January 4, 2024.
  17. ^ "Exclusive with former Raiders Fullback Mark van Eaghen". Steelers Takeaways. September 12, 2021. Retrieved January 4, 2024.
  18. ^ "Amber van Eeghen". patriots.com. New England Patriots. Archived from the original on May 24, 2006. Retrieved June 2, 2006.
  19. ^ "Mark van Eeghen". New England Baptist Hospital. Retrieved January 4, 2024.