Otis Armstrong
Otis Armstrong was born on November 15, 1950 in Chicago, Illinois. He was a running back in the NFL and played for the Denver Broncos for his entire career from 1973-1980. Before his NFL career, he played for Purdue University and left as the school’s all-time leading rusher.

Otis Armstrong #24

Player Info

Height 5' 10"
Weight 196 lbs
DOB: 11/15/1950
Running Back



NFL Draft

1973/Round 1/Pick 9

Career Highlights

Pro Bowl 1974, 1976
Awards NFL Awards
NFL Rushing Title 1974

Team(s) As A Player

Denver Broncos 1973-1980

Otis Armstrong Sets Broncos Rushing Records

In 1974, just his second NFL season, Armstrong led the league in rushing yards 1,407 (a Broncos record at the time) and yards per carry 5.3. During his record-setting season, Armstrong had six games of 130 yards or more including at least 140 yards rushing in his last four outings. During that span he carried the ball 102 times for 615 yards and four touchdowns. That is more than six yards per carry. Here are some of his standout performances during his record year.

September 22, 1974 against the powerhouse Pittsburgh Steelers, Otis Armstrong set a personal record for yards from scrimmage. He started and finished the scoring for the Denver Broncos on this day. On the first play from scrimmage Johnson threw a perfect pass to Armstrong for a 45-yard touchdown pass. Armstrong then helped set up another score with a 33-yard kickoff return giving the Broncos the ball at the 42-yard line. Late in the fourth quarter, Denver trailed 35-28. This time Armstrong caught the ball in the flat, faked out a potential tackler and strolled into the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown to tie the game. On that day Armstrong ran 19 times for 131 yards, caught five balls for another 86 yards and scored two touchdowns. The Broncos and Steelers finished in a 35-35 tie. After the game, Coach Ralston said, “Otis is just now coming of age. He'll be a super back in the National Football League.” (1)

After torching the Raiders for 146 rushing yards, the Denver Broncos traveled to Detroit to play the Lions on Thanksgiving Day. Otis Armstrong ran wild on the Detroit Lions defense, carrying the football 24 times for 144 yards and a touchdown. He also set up two more one-yard touchdowns for Jon Keyworth after completing runs of 32 and 31 yards. He also added four catches for 32 yards as the Broncos kept their slim playoff hopes alive winning 31-27. (2) 

On December 8, 1974 the Denver Broncos hosted the Houston Oilers. The Denver faithful were in for a record-setting treat. Otis Armstrong amazed teammates and foes as he ran roughshod over the Oilers, 31 carries for 183 yards and three touchdowns. He broke Floyd Little’s single game and season rushing marks on the day. "He is so powerful and the kid never quits. You can make any back in the league, except him, have a bad day by beating the heck out of them," said Bingham, the Oilers' middle linebacker. (3)  

“It's a great feeling,” Armstrong said. “It's like a dream. It seemed so easy to do all those things. I don't know what it was. Part of it was me, and part of it was great blocking, too."  

"Otis was just super," Ralston said. “He's, well, he's Otis. He just runs by people.” (4)


Looking Back on Otis Armstrong


In the 1977 season, he assisted the Broncos to a championship appearance in Super Bowl XII, which they lost to the Dallas Cowboys 27-10. Armstrong finished his 8 NFL seasons with 4,453 rushing yards, 123 receptions for 1,302 receiving yards, and 879 yards from kickoff returns. He also scored 32 touchdowns (25 rushing and 7 receiving).

By A. Goodin, 20Yardline.com
November 7, 2007

Otis Armstrong Biography Sources

(1)  Broncos, Steelers battle to thrilling 35-35 tie (1974, September 23) The Greely Tribune, pg. 34
Armstrong's Running Key, Onside Kick Spurs Rally As Broncs Nudge Lions (1974, November 29) The Post Herald, pg. 2
Armstrong too strong for Oilers (1974, December 9) The News, pg. 8
(4)  Otis gains 183 yards as Broncos rip Oilers (1974, December 9) Appleton Post Cresent, pg. 37