The JMRA Hall of Fame – Inductee #4
Before there was Michael Vick and Daunte Culpepper, Randall Cunningham was an athlete well ahead of his time. Cunningham could do it all. He could throw it short, medium, or long and then of course, he could run.
Few quarterbacks in league history posed quite the threat that Cunningham did with his legs. During his career, the former UNLV Runnin’ Rebel averaged 6.4 yards per rush. Randall’s athletic prowess earned him the 1989 Sports Illustrated cover accompanied by the phrase “The Ultimate Weapon”.
In a cruel twist of fate, Cunningham’s head coach in Philadelphia from 1986 to 1990, Buddy Ryan, fell in love far too much with Randall’s athletic prowess. Content on letting Randall use his athleticism on offense, he hung him out to dry by focusing so much on defense when evaluating player personnel that it often led to weak offensive units surrounding Ryan’s prized asset.
During Ryan’s tenure from 1986-1990, no quarterback was sacked more times than Cunningham. In fact, he led the NFL in most sacks against four of Ryan’s five seasons. No running game and no offensive line led to meltdowns in the playoffs including the famous Fog Bowl in 1988. Despite throwing for 407 yards, the Eagles succumbed to the weather and the Bears, 20-12 in the NFC Divisional playoffs.
Subsequent playoff losses at home to the Rams and Redskins, left the fanbase unfulfilled after watching one of the most exciting three years runs in Eagles history.
Overall, Cunningham will not only be remembered for being one of the key figureheads on Ryan’s Eagles but also quarterbacking the most prolific offense in NFL history (until the ’07 Pats came along), the 1998 Minnesota Vikings.
Cunningham was one of the most exciting and breathtaking players in NFL history. He may never make to Canton but he is a worthy candidate for induction in the JMRA Hall of Fame.
Also, Randall was a pretty good punter too…