Randall McDaniel is my favorite NFL player of all time. Aside from being a Vikings fan and witnessing his domination (including a record 12 Pro Bowl appearances), there was the awkward stance, the quiet nature of doing his job, and lining up occasionally as a fullback. It also didn’t hurt that, as I found out a few years ago first hand when I won the opportunity to play a round of golf with him, that he’s a hell of a nice guy–heard some great stories that day, and at the end of the day HE thanked ME for bidding in the auction and getting him out of the house (and avoiding his honey do list) for the day.
Given that I’m a big fan, it always amazes me when I end up back on his Wikipedia page that I never remember one of small things that happened in his career that is actually record setting. Possibly because it happened after he left the Vikings (which in itself is one of the awesome stories I heard on the golf course–although I won’t repeat it here, unfortunately).
During his time with the Vikings, McDaniel would often move to the offensive backfield in short yardage situations, to play fullback. His combination of speed (he actually went to Arizona State originally as a Tight End, and often ran/raced with the receivers in practice) and size made him the ideal player to lead the way on short dives, and added a sixth lineman onto the field. A few times they actually tried to use him as more than a blocker, but in 1994 (one target, zero receptions) and (two carries, one yard), he wasn’t able to achieve much.
In 2000, his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, McDaniel was used similarly out of the backfield–but the Bucs finally threw him a pass. At 36 years, 282 days, McDaniel became the oldest player in NFL history to score his first career touchdown. It was the lone reception in his career.
One fact I did just learn about McDaniel today, though, from a page on the Pro Football Hall of Fame site–McDaniel is actually believed to be the first NFL player to don a tinted visor.