Thursday, January 05, 2006

No, I'm not Joe Cribbs.

This is Joe Cribbs:

Joe Cribbs was a powerful-yet-agile running back who, alongside other Auburn greats James Brooks and William Andrews, made the Tiger wishbone in the late 70s a force to be reckoned with and returned a moribund Auburn football program to national prominence. In 1978 Cribbs led the Tigers with 1,205 yards and set a school record for consecutive 100-yard games with seven--a record that still stands.

All three of the above running backs went on to distinguished pro careers, with Cribbs making arguably the biggest impact. After being drafted by the Bufalo Bills in 1980, Cribbs took the NFL by storm that fall (much as a similar Auburn running back also associated with cars has just done with Tamp Bay.) Cribbs rushed for 1,185 yards his rookie year and was named to the AFC Pro Bowl team, an honor he would receive twice more in his Bills career.

In 1984 the Sulligent, Ala. native returned to his home state to play for the Birmingham Stallions of the upstart United States Football League. Cribbs was one of the USFL's brightest stars and most effective runners, but after the league's collapse Cribbs found less success in his return to the NFL and after stints with the Bills, 49ers, Colts, and Dolphins retired after the 1988 season.

I wish I could say I remember seeing Cribbs run. But I was born in 1978 and he was long gone from Auburn by the time I was old enough to recall my trips to Jordan-Hare. And by the time I was paying attention to any NFL teams beside the Falcons, he'd left that league, too.

But it's impossible to grow up in the '80s, surrounded by and raised by Auburn fans, and not have a very clear sense of who Joe Cribbs is and what he accomplished on the Plains. Before there was a Cadillac, before there was a Rudi Johnson or a Stephen Davis, even before there was a Bo, there was Joe Cribbs.

So I'm not Joe Cribbs. But I am a guy who sure as hell likes having his name across the top of my blog.


Sly Fox said...

James Brooks was the man to this young Bengals fan. Of course JB wound up running into trouble after football. That's not uncommon.

Terrific blog, Jerry. I run the Liberty message board ( we don't hear much about BSC. Its cool to have someone keep us in the loop.

Jerry Hinnen said...

I vaguely recall being disappointed that the Bengals blew up only after Brooks had been replaced by Ickey.

Thanks for reading!

swangdb said...

FWIW, Auburn didn't run the wishbone when Cribbs was there, they ran the I and the veer.

I met Joe once the week before a big game. Nice guy, very intense.

Jerry Hinnen said...

Thanks for the info. I'll readily admit that I'm not as sharp on Auburn history pre-Me as I should be.

Thanks for reading.

Jerry's Old Friend said...

Hey J
Great Blog and War Eagle!
Yes AU had run the I untill they came out in all orange (which I like orange but not orange jerseys) and in the Veer against Georgia. Shoot me an e-mail! I have some questions for you.

Anonymous said...

I watched Vandy at Auburn in 1979(?). Cribbs and Brooks ran from the veer and put up something like 350 yards between them. Vandy's starting QB and backup QB went down early. Third string QB Whit Taylor energized Vandy's offense and they went up and down the field matching the Tigers. Final was something like 51-38. Tigers broke Dores serve twice on a goal line stand and Vandy's Preston Brown fumbling a reverse while strolling into the end zone. Not sure anyone punted.

Jay Timmerman said...

I worked as a student trainer for Auburn during the '78 and '79 season. Imagine a current backfield containing the likes of Cribbs, Brooks and Andrews. Cribbs was a very pleasant fellow but Willam Andrews was the best, IMO.

WDE (anyway)

Anonymous said...

Joe Cribbs was a great back.
Bills fan

Andy Smith said...

Also a Bills fan who remembers Joe Cribbs. I was just goofin' around on MJD/Yahoo! Sports when I saw the Joe Cribbs Carwash blog. It brought back memories. I was a big fan back then. What is Joe Cribbs doing these days? Any idea?

Thanks for helping me to relive some fine JC memories!

Anonymous said...

Cribbs, Brooks, and Andrews ran from the "Veer" at Auburn under Doug Barfield. It wasn't until Dye that Auburn ran out of the "Wishbone". That said, those three put up some unbelievable numbers. Sure was fun to watch, only wish Underwood could have provided a little defensive support!


George A

Anonymous said...

Where Are They Now: Joe Cribbs
Cribbs won AFC Rookie-of-the-Year honors for the Bills
Jan 1, 2003
By Jim Gehman

... Today, Cribbs is living in Alabama with his wife, Vernessa; their daughter,
Ajai, a junior at the University of Alabama-Huntsville; and two sons, Omar,
15; and Nigel, 9. For the past six years, he has run Joe Cribbs Associates,
an advisory company. "I do a lot of work with some current NFL players,
helping them with investments and different things. Just basically helping
them understand the game and get prepared for life after the game. Some I
may assist with disability insurance or help get an annuity. Just various
degrees of work. So it just depends on the guy."