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Prime Time, Bo, and the Boz: 1980s NIL Superstars

Oct 12, 1985; Auburn, AL, USA; FILE PHOTO; Auburn Tigers running back Bo Jackson (34) carries the ball against the Florida State Seminoles at Jordan Hare Stadium.
© Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports

The 1980s were one of the great decades of college football and produced some of the greatest football players to roam the iconic venues on Saturdays. And, what if NIL and the by-the-day transfer portal (because they go hand in hand) were allowed during the 1980s?

The players listed below would have been the targets of every big-time program in the country and they would have taken full advantage of the rule put forth by the NCAA that says a college athlete can earn money from their name, image, and likeness.

Their real names are Deion, Vincent, and Brian. Their names in college football lore were Prime Time, Bo, and the Boz.

Author’s note: This is not an all-inclusive list and is in no particular order.

NIL Superstars of the 80s

“Prime Time” Deion Sanders, DB, Florida State Seminoles

·       Deion Sanders was a 3-time All-American in football under legendary Head Coach Bobby Bowden; he played baseball and ran track at Florida State.

·       14 INTs in four seasons with the Seminoles.

  May 16, 1987: Sanders played in two baseball games, including the championship game, and ran one leg of the 4X100 relay event for the track team, all on the same day.

·       Sanders was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the 1985 MLB Draft, but he chose not to sign a contract.

·       Jim Thorpe Award winner in 1988.

·       Sanders went on to excel in two professional sports, Pro Football and Major League Baseball.

·       Ran 4.27 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the 1989 NFL Combine; selected 5th overall by the Falcons.

·       Played in the World Series with the Atlanta Braves and two Super Bowls with San Francisco and Dallas.

·       2nd all-time in NFL history with nine INTs returned for touchdowns.

Bo Jackson, RB, Auburn Tigers

·       Bo Jackson was a 3-time All-SEC selection and 2-time All-American under Head Coach Pat Dye.

·       Bo Jackson is the only 4,000-yard rusher in school history.

·       It was reported that Jackson ran sub-4.2 seconds in the 40-yard dash at his Pro Day.

·       Excelled in three sports at Auburn: football, baseball, and track.

·       1985 Heisman Trophy winner

·       A career .335 hitter for Auburn; as a junior he hit .401.

·       Drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the MLB Draft in 1986.

·       Drafted by the Raiders in 1987.

·       Jackson Played in both the Pro Bowl and the MLB All-Star Game.

·       1989: 32 HR, 105 RBIs, 26 stolen bases with the Kansas City Royals. Jackson was selected as the Most

Valuable Player of the All-Star Game that season.

·       Note: If Deion Sanders had signed with the Royals in 1985, then he and Jackson would have played on the same team together. Can you imagine?

"The Boz" Brian Bosworth, LB, Oklahoma Sooners

·       Brian Bosworth was a 3-time All-American under Head Coach Barry Switzer.

·       2-time Consensus All-American

·       3-time All-Big Eight Conference selection.

·       2-time Butkus Award winner, the only player to win the award twice.

·       Ranked #30 on the Top 100 College Football Players of All-Time by College Football News.

·       Named to the Sports Illustrated All-Century Team.

·       College Football Hall of Fame inductee in 2015.

·       Bosworth was outspoken and critical of the NCAA and their control over the athletes that prohibited them from making money while playing college football.

·       Monday Night Football, November 30, 1987: Bosworth was run over by Bo Jackson as he tried to tackle him, and Jackson ran 91 yards for a score and led the Los Angeles Raiders to victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

How much do you think today’s NIL Collectives would have had to pay to entice these college football greats to play for their programs in the decade of decadence? It would be a number with a lot of zeros behind it, for sure.

Which players would be on your list of NIL superstars of the 1980s? Leave a comment below.  









1 Comment

Barry Sanders, Hershel Walker, Vinny Testaverde.. the list goes on!

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