Ollie Matson
Ollie Matson
  • Pos:
  • HT:
  • WT:
  • College(s)
    San Francisco
  • Yrs w/Teams
    1952, 1954-1958 Chicago Cardinals
    1959-1962 Los Angeles Rams
    1963 Detroit Lions
    1964-1966 Philadelphia Eagles


2/19/11 - NFL.com:  Former Cardinals, Rams star Ollie Matson dies in Los Angeles

When Ollie Matson first signed to play with the Chicago Cardinals in 1952, he was hailed as the fleet-footed ball carrier that would hopefully lead the Cardinals out of pro football’s basement.

Seven years later, when traded by the Cardinals to the Los Angeles Rams for an unprecedented nine players, he was tabbed as the star that could give the Rams a long awaited championship. Through no fault of his own, Ollie did neither. Yet little of the luster was lost from one of the most brilliant pro football careers ever.

Obviously, the greatness Matson achieved on National Football League gridirons must be considered an individual accomplishment. He never enjoyed the winning team momentum to carry him along and only two of the 14 teams on which he played finished over the .500 mark. Enemy defenses almost always concentrated on him alone. Yet his career record is exceptional.

Altogether, he gained 12,844 yards on rushing, receptions, and returns. He rushed for 5,173 yards and caught 222 passes for another 3,285 yards. He scored 40 touchdowns running, 23 on receptions, 9 on kick returns, and one on a fumble recovery.

Matson, an All-America college star at the University of San Francisco, was the Cardinals first-round draft choice in 1952. He delayed his pro signing so that he could compete as a member of the American track team in the 1952 Olympics. He won a bronze medal in the 400-meter race and a silver medal from the 1,600-meter relay. When he finally joined the Cardinals he experienced a sensational rookie season.

Then military service interrupted his career for a year but, once back in a football uniform, he was an All-NFL performer, year in and year out. During his 14 pro seasons Ollie earned first- or second-team All-NFL honors six times and was selected to play in six Pro Bowls.

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