On the date of his birthday, Bo Jackson came off the bench to replace an injured teammate and threw three consecutive touchdown passes. The next day he was traded by a team who had no idea they were losing their superstar until after their big win over rival Cleveland Browns.
Bo Jackson is a 2-sport legend who once ruined a rival’s career on his birthday. He was also the first athlete to have a Nike shoe named after him.
On November 30, 1962, Vincent Edward “Bo” Jackson was born. He had a difficult life in rural Alabama, played baseball and football at Auburn University, won the Heisman Trophy, and was selected four times: twice by MLB clubs and twice by NFL teams between that day and his 25th birthday.
On Nov. 30, 1987, as a member of the Los Angeles Raiders, Jackson did one of his most remarkable exploits, overpowering the Seattle Seahawks and wrecking the career of another highly touted prospect.
Two of the most promising NFL prospects in the 1980s were Bo Jackson and Brian Bosworth.
Bo Jackson went to Auburn, where he played baseball and football, after turning down a $250k offer from the New York Yankees out of high school, according to ESPN. Despite winning the 1985 Heisman Trophy, Jackson turned down an offer from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (the club that had selected him first overall in the 1986 draft).
Jackson entered the NFL draft again a year later, and the LA Raiders selected him in the seventh round. After concluding his baseball obligations for the year, owner Al Davis permitted Jackson to report to the club, and the 6-foot-1, 227-pound RB suited up for the 1987 season.
Another college football standout was on the defensive side of the ball at the University of Oklahoma in the late 1980s. Brian “The Boz” Bosworth was a two-time All-American linebacker who was noted for his colorful style and agility.
During the 1986 season, Bosworth tested positive for drugs, and he was fired by coach Barry Switzer. The Supplemental NFL Draft was proclaimed by “The Boz” in 1987. The Seattle Seahawks selected him first overall.
The Seahawks and Raiders — both in the AFC West at the time — played in Week 11 of Jackson and Bosworth’s debut season. This set up one of the most eagerly anticipated first-year player meetings in league history.
On his 25th birthday, Jackson debuted in the NFL, dominating Bosworth and the Seahawks.
The 34th anniversary of one of the most famous Monday Night Football games of all time comes this week. @PSchrags Bo versus Boz I can’t believe Bo Jackson only appeared in 38 NFL games throughout his career. pic.twitter.com/Bonh6k6ZM5
— December 1, 2021, Good Morning Football (@gmfb)
The game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Los Angeles Raiders was played on Bo Jackson’s 25th birthday, Nov. 30, 1987. According to PeoplePill.com, the outspoken linebacker boasted to the media before to the highly anticipated Monday Night Football matchup that he would “contain” Jackson.
Brian Bosworth avoided that fatal Monday night at all costs.
Jackson averaged 63.6 yards per game in his first four games after making his NFL debut in Week 7. Bosworth played his finest game of his career against the Seahawks, when he had something to prove to them.
Jackson rushed for 221 yards and three touchdowns on 18 touches. Two of those touchdowns are famous in league history, and they went a long way toward dispelling “The Boz’s” mythology.
On a 3rd-and-6 from his own nine-yard line in the second quarter, Jackson ripped off a 91-yard run, leaving Bosworth in the dust. After scoring, Jackson continues racing up the tunnel as his teammates pursue him in to celebrate, resulting in a now-famous NFL highlight.
“He may not stop ’til Tacoma,” color commentator Dan Dierdorf said of Jackson as he vanished. Tacoma is a Washington city 30 miles south of Seattle.
In the third quarter, a really classic event occurred. Jackson caught a throw from QB Marc Wilson and sprinted to the left on another third down, this time from the two-yard line.
At the line of scrimmage, Bosworth ran into Jackson.
Jackson, one of the most physical runners in the NFL’s history, blew by the defense. He carried Bosworth into the end zone for the touchdown, and as the running back stood up, he admonished the linebacker, “next time, make sure you have a bus ticket,” according to folklore.
The Raiders won by a score of 37-14.
Bo and ‘The Boz’ both had brief NFL careers.
Bo Jackson and Brian Bosworth (L-R) | Mike Powell/Allsport/Getty Images; Owen C. Shaw/Getty Images
There was no doubt who the diamond of the 1987 selection class was after that Monday Night Football contest. After that encounter, the remainder of Bo Jackson’s and Brian Bosworth’s careers went just how you’d anticipate.
Jackson rose to fame, and Bosworth is now regarded as one of the most famous flops of all time.
Despite their divergent paths, they have one thing in common: both of their careers were cut short due to injuries.
Bosworth retired due to a shoulder injury two games during his third season, following just 24 total games.
Jackson played four seasons, but only 38 games due to baseball obligations and injuries. Due to a hip injury, he retired from football in 1991. He did, however, return to the major leagues for two more seasons.
After the legendary (or notorious, depending on how you look at it) game on Jackson’s 25th birthday, Bo and “The Boz” were irrevocably intertwined.
They’re two of the most intriguing individuals to ever walk onto a football field, as well as two of the most physically outstanding. In other circumstances, both players may have become Hall of Famers in the NFL, but injuries prevented them from doing so.
And they’ll both be remembered for that game, which took place 34 years ago this week.
Pro Football Reference provided all stats.
Bo Jackson’s Most Surprising Sports Achievement Didn’t Happen in Baseball or Football
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Bo Jackson is a 2-sport legend who has done it all. He was born on this day in 1962, and his birthday is always celebrated with great fanfare. On this day in 1990, he ruined the career of an opponent by breaking his leg during a game. Reference: bo jackson family life.
Frequently Asked Questions
What ruined Bo Jacksons career?
A: The death of his son.
What did Bo Jackson say to Brian Bosworth?
A: Bo Jackson said Im going to kill you.
Why is Bo Jackson not in the Hall of Fame?
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