Spec Sanders

Spec Sanders
No. 81
Position: Defensive back/Running back/Quarterback/Punter
Personal information
Date of birth: (1919-01-26)January 26, 1919
Place of birth: Temple, Oklahoma
Date of death: July 6, 2003(2003-07-06) (aged 84)
Place of death: Lawton, Oklahoma
Career information
College: Texas
NFL Draft: 1942 / Round: 1 / Pick: 6
(By the Washington Redskins)
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards: 2,900
Interceptions: 19
Touchdowns: 7
Player stats at NFL.com

Orban Eugene "Spec" Sanders (January 26, 1919 – July 6, 2003) was a former American football running back, quarterback, and punter in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and a defensive back in the National Football League (NFL) for the New York Yanks. He was a one-time Pro Bowler in 1950, his final season, when he led the NFL in interceptions.


Sanders led the AAFC in rushing yards and was named All-AAFC in 1946 and 1947. In 1947 Spec led the AAFC with 231 carries, 114 points, and 18 rushing touchdowns, a new pro record that stood until Jim Taylor broke it in 1962. Spec’s 1,432 rushing yards established a mark until 1958, when Jim Brown ran for 1,527 yards. Spec completed 93 passes for 1,442 yards, adding 14 more touchdowns to the team’s total. He also returned a kickoff for a score. Although he was used sparingly on defense, Spec intercepted three passes. He also averaged 42.1 yards on 46 punts. The Professional Football Researchers Association named Sanders to the PRFA Hall of Very Good Class of 2008 [1]

Greatest game

Spec’s greatest game that year came on a Friday night in October against the Chicago Rockets. He carried the ball 24 times and gained 250 yards to set a pro record that was not touched for more than 25 years. He was removed from the game after only three quarters.


Sanders suffered from knee woes and retired after the 1948 season. Despite this, he finished as the AAFC's second leading all-time rusher and all-time leader in rushing touchdowns. He was lured out of retirement to play in the NFL in 1950. Because of the knee problems, he opted to play only defense that year. He responded by being named to the Pro Bowl and tying the NFL's all-time single season interception record. At that point, Spec Sanders decided to retire for good.


Sanders died in 2003 at the age of 84.


Year Team League Games ATT YDS AVG TD
1946 New York Yankees (AAFC) 13 140* 709* 5.1 6*
1947 New York Yankees (AAFC) 14 231* 1,432* 6.2 18*
1948 New York Yankees (AAFC) 13 169* 759 4.5 9

* Indicates led league


  1. "Hall of Very Good Class of 2008". Retrieved November 23, 2016.
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