The Tangled Life of O.J. Simpson

18. Struggles in the NFL

The Buffalo Bills took drafted Simpson with the first overall pick in the 1969 NFL Draft. Simpson wasn’t happy that he had to play in a small market like Buffalo. He demanded the largest contract in professional sports history. To make sure he got it, he threatened to leave football entirely.

Simpson’s first few years in the NFL were an utter disaster. Simpson felt that the team’s coach was holding him back. The Bills’ head coach, John Rauch, eventually resigned – many say he was forced out – and was replaced by Harvey Johnson and, soon thereafter, Lou Saban. That’s when things got interesting.

17. O.J.’s Hall of Fame Years

Saban decided to build the entire Buffalo offense around O.J. Simpson. Simpson rewarded him with a 1,25`-yard season. That next year, Simpson became the first NFL Player to rush for over 2,000 yards. He even did it in just 14 games.

Though Simpson only led the team to one playoff appearance – a loss – his incredible individual performances drew a lot of attention to Buffalo and made Simpson a true star. That was part of the problem.

16. O.J.: The Movie “Star”


O.J. received more endorsement offers and chances for media appearances than many football players of his era did. He was quick to accept many of those offers and spent quite a bit of his free time in California.

While many of O.J.’s films and commercials weren’t especially great, his appearances in the Naked Gun movies and his run of Hertz commercials kept him in the spotlight that he so desperately craved. They also made him incredibly rich and a member of high society. This was the start of a rather interesting problem for O.J…

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