Forgotten Player of the Moment – DOUG KOTAR
(by PHIL RIPPA)
Let me make this perfectly clear – I refuse to write one about Jarrod Bunch. Grr… Maybe if we do “Players We Hate of the Moment”.
Okay, Doug Kotar is probably someone none of you have ever heard of because in your isolated young little world, no sports existed before 1996. Y’all Get The Hell Off My Lawn!!!! Anyhoo – Kotar was the New York Giants running back of the late 70s. Well actually – he was one of the 439318 running backs that the G-men had from the moment I was born (1975) to when I actually started rooting for them (1981). (Some of the other luminaries included: Leon McQuay, Micky Zofko, Dan Doornink and Ike Forte.)
1981 was Kotar’s last year which was just as well since Ray Perkins loved giving Rob Carpenter a hundred thousand touches. And that is what is sad, is that Kotar is actually in the Giants Top 10 in total rushing attempts. Even weirder is that his sad little 3,378 yards is SEVENTH all-time for the Giants. And you wonder why I hate talking about their failed running back draft picks.
Kotar’s best season was 1976 were he racked up over 1000 all-purpose yards. It would have been more had he not have been splitting touches with Larry Csonka. This is why it amuses me that Kotar was the guy that Herm Edwards blew by at the start of the Miracle at the Meadowlands.
Doug Kotar lived up to his name. He was about as pasty and ugly as you would expect out of a running back in the 70s from the University of Kentucky. He wore #44 and he had that beard that said “If I wasn’t strapping on the pads, I would be peeing on a building in Times Square.” This made him a perfect member of the Giants. Well, he was slightly flawed as he didn’t go to Penn State, Syracuse or Michigan. Still, he has the beloved aura around him from Giants fans of the 70s who WAY overvalue his actual talent. Actually, the more I think about it, the more I realize that he was probably one of the original innovators of SCRAP~!
I saved this part for the end just so I could seem like slightly less of a cold hearted bastard. Kotar died in 1983. He died of brain cancer after only being diagnosed with it a year earlier. Kotar is one of like four or five Giants who developed cancer during the 80s (Karl Nelson being the prominent one). Yes, I am officially blaming the Meadowlands.
(Side Note – Keith Olbermann did a whole piece on Doug Kotar in 2013)