Marcus Allen was born on March 26, 1960, to Harold and Gwen Allen in San Diego, CA. As a child, he was interested in many different activities such as singing in the church choir, but his real passion was sports. Allen attended Lincoln High School and played football, where he was a standout on the defensive side of the ball. He made a commitment to playing offense only during his senior year when he became the team’s quarterback. In 1977 he led Lincoln to the county championship. Allen received national attention after scoring five touchdowns in the game. When it came time for Allen to select a college, he had scholarship offers as a defensive player, but very few universities showed interest in him as an offensive player.
All of his other offers fell by the wayside when the University of Southern California (USC) offered him a scholarship. He wanted to be a USC Trojan even if that meant he would never play offense. Allen began his career at USC as a defensive back, but when injuries thinned out the tailback position, Coach John Robinson asked the awestruck freshman to move to the offensive side of the ball. Allen agreed and a Hall of Fame football player was born.
From Blocking Back To The Heisman
Allen played sparingly behind Charles White, who was having an All-American season. During Allen’s sophomore year, he moved to fullback, taking on linemen and linebackers who weighed 100 pounds or more than the 19-year-old converted defensive back. Though he endured horrendous punishment, it was better than sitting on the bench, and he helped Charles White win the Heisman Trophy. Allen rushed for his first-ever 100-yard game against Texas Tech when White was injured but spent the rest of the season blocking. In his junior year, Allen has named the starting tailback but was criticized for not performing as spectacularly as White.
He gained 1,563 yards to finish second in the nation in rushing, but many USC fans and alumni were not satisfied with the team or its tailback. Despite what many considered to be a down year at tailback, Allen entered the 1981 season proclaiming that he would gain 2,000 yards—more than any other college running back in the history of the game. Allen began his senior season ripping off 210 yards against Tennessee, 274 against Indiana, and 208 against second-ranked Oklahoma. Allen rolled to 2,342 yards in his final season, capping his last game as a Trojan with a 219-yard effort in the Rose Bowl. Allen won the Heisman Trophy with 1,797 points and 441 first-place votes. In 1982, he was drafted by the Oakland Raiders and was named Rookie of the Year. In 1984 Marcus won the Super Bowl XVIII MVP award. He joined the Chiefs as a free agent in 1993.
As a professional, Allen ran for 12,243 yards and caught 587 passes for 5,412 yards during his career for both the Los Angeles Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs from 1982 to 1997. He scored 145 touchdowns, including a then-league-record 123 rushing touchdowns, and was elected to six Pro Bowls over the course of his career. Allen was the first NFL player to gain more than 10,000 rushing yards and 5,000 receiving yards during his career.
Allen, third all-time in career touchdowns with 145, is also second on the NFL’s all-time rushing touchdown list with 123. He is the NFL’s all-time running-back leader in games played (222) and third in pass receptions (587), as well as seventh on the all-time list with 12,243 career rushing yards. A six-time Pro Bowler, Allen was the MVP of Super Bowl XVIII when the Raiders upended the Washington Redskins, 38-9. He held the NFL record for most consecutive games with 100 or more rushing yards with 11 (10/28/85-9/14/86), but his record was eclipsed by Barry Sanders’ 14 games in 1997. Allen also possesses the third-highest NFL single-season mark for most rushing and receiving yards combined (2,314 in 1985). Allen was inducted Allen was also inducted into the San Diego Hall of Champions Breitbard Hall of Fame in 1999, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003.
Allen joined CBS Sports in 1998 as a studio analyst on the CBS Television Network’s NFL broadcast team. Allen, a 16-year NFL veteran who played for the Chiefs and Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, is teamed with Jim Nantz, Craig James, Randy Cross, Jerry Glanville, and Mike Ditka on THE NFL TODAY. He was a feature reporter for the network until 2004.
In 2008, Allen joined as a spokesman for the sports website OPENSports.com, the brainchild of Mike Levy, founder, and former CEO of CBS Sportsline.com. Allen wrote a blog and occasionally answered member questions for the company during this time.