I’ve always had a tendency to rally behind a mediocre out of market team that I could root for from rock bottom all the way to the top. I believe it started with the Chargers in the early 90s. Then, they made the Super Bowl in 1994, and although I grew up a 49ers fan, I would’ve been just as happy had Natrone Means and the Bolts pulled it off. They didn’t, but they had reached the point of contention, so it was time to find a new terrible team. Enter the New York Jets. For every poor NFL team I rally behind, there’s usually a Running Back at the center of it. For this mid-90s Jets squad, it was Adrian Murrell.
Murrell was drafted by the Jets in the 5th round of the 1993 draft. He started primarily as a kick returner, before becoming the primary back. His best season came in 1996, when my inexplicable Jets fandom was at its peak. Murrell rushed for 1,249 yards on 301 carries with 6 TDs. Unfortunately, the Jets went 1-15 with a roster loaded with guys like rookie Keyshawn Johnson, Frank Reich, Neil O’Donnell, Wayne Chrebet, Webster Slaughter, and Jeff Graham. Murrell went on to have two more 1,000+ yard seasons – 1997 and 1998, the latter as a member of the Arizona Cardinals – before starting his descent. He was out of football following the 2000 season, but then made a brief comeback attempt with the Cowboys in 2003. Murrell finished his career with 5,199 rushing yards and 23 TDs in 122 career games.