For a second, Cam Newton surpassed Randall Cunningham for second place among quarterbacks for all-time rushing yards. Then Newton fell back into a tie with the former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback when he was stuffed for a loss on the final play of the New England Patriots’ loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Cunningham watched the game and now said he’ll have to make a comeback at 57 years old.
Randall Cunningham’s NFL career
Randall Cunningham played his college football at UNLV and was a second-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in the 185 NFL draft. The 6-foot-4, 212-pound quarterback made a living in the NFL with his strong arm and his running ability. He was a four-time Pro Bowler.
Cunningham started four of the six games he played in his rookie season. He went 1-3 in those four starts and struggled, throwing eight interceptions and one touchdown. Cunningham didn’t really get rolling in the NFL until his third season in the league when he became the full-time starter in 1987. That season, he threw for 2,786 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also rushed for 505 yards and three more touchdowns.
In 1988, Cunningham began a string of three straight Pro Bowls. He threw for a career-high 3,808 yards. He spent the first 11 years of his career with the Eagles before retiring. After sitting out the 1996 season, he came back in 1997 with the Minnesota Vikings. In 1998, he made his fourth Pro Bowl. He spent three seasons with the Vikings and then played a season each with the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens.
Cunningham did a lot of damage with his legs
Randall Cunningham boasted a strong arm and finished his career with 219 touchdown passes (playoffs included). It was his running ability, however, that set him apart. Cunningham was a scrambler and many times broke free, resulting in big plays on the ground. Cunningham rushed for 35 touchdowns in the regular season and added two more in the playoffs.
Carl Banks, one of the game’s premier linebackers for the New York Giants during Cunningham’s time in the NFL, said Cunningham was the toughest quarterback to prepare for. “When they would say he was ‘The Ultimate Weapon,’ he was truly the ultimate weapon,” said Banks to The Undefeated in 2017. “I don’t think there was ever a quarterback who was harder to prepare for, or gave defensive players individually more problems or more concerns before the game even started.
“He was the guy you wanted to play against, but you also hated to play against because you knew he was just an incredible football player. I’ve played against Doug (Williams), I played against Warren (Moon), I played against Joe (Montana). I don’t think any one of those guys brought to a game the fear that Randall Cunningham put in a defense.”
Cunningham jokes about comeback after Cam Newton ties rushing mark
Randall Cunningham finished his NFL career with 4,928 rushing yards, good enough for second place behind Michael Vick’s 6,109. On Sunday night, New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton passed him by a yard to move into second place. Newton had collected 48 yards against Seattle. On the final play of the game, however, Newton lost a yard and now both he and Cunningham are tied for second place.
Cunningham said he may have to consider a comeback and try to get 5,000 yards. “I’m going to have to make my comeback at 57 years old to get that 5,000,” he said, according to ESPN. “That last play, at the end, I wish they called the play where (Newton) fakes like he’s going to run and then throws it.”
Cunningham watched the game and he said he’s a big fan of Newton. “I like the way Cam plays. He plays with a righteous anger,” Cunningham said. “When he goes out, and you get in the way, he’s going to let you feel that 250 (pounds) or whatever he’s playing at now. That’s the only way to go out there.”