Jamaal Charles Tackles The Nigerian Nightmare

By Troy Alan
Don cPeak – USA Today Sports

I’m not at all a gamer. The last game machine I owned was an Atari 2600 when I was in grade school. So the release of Madden 25 a few months back was nothing exciting to me. I did hear a name during the Kansas City Chiefs broadcast on Sunday that perked my interest and reminded me of a game I used to play at a friend’s, though.

During the Chiefs’ 26-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, Jamaal Charles surpassed Christian Okoye in career rushing yards. Charles is now third on Kansas City’s all time rushing leaders list behind Larry Johnson and record holder Priest Holmes.

I just smiled upon hearing Okoye’s name and ventured back in my mind.  The “Nigerian Nightmare” I said out loud, shaking my head. “Wow, it’s been awhile.” Christian carried that nickname when he played for the Chiefs from 1987 to 1992. Those years essentially span my Jr. and Sr. High School football playing days. As a running back myself (and a Kansas City fan) I had looked up to him.

Okoye was born in Enugu, Nigeria and was a nightmare to try and tackle, hence the nickname. He was 6-foot-1 and weighed 260 pounds, but he was no Bam Morris. Morris is another large running back in Chiefs history, but he was a bit chubby. Okoye was cut. He was nothing short of a chiseled piece of stone that could run.

In 1989 he led the NFL in both rushing attempts (370) and yards with 1,480. When he retired he was Kansas City’s all-time leading rusher and held the Chiefs career touchdown record. Marcus Allen and Holmes have since surpassed those records.

Charles is 5-foot-11 and under 200 pounds, making his feat this weekend even more astounding. Kansas City was able to pick him up in the third round of the 2008 draft, in part due to his size (or lack thereof). Jamaal needs 1,137 more rushing yards to pass Holmes and become the Chiefs all-time leader, and he’s only 26 years old.

I’d be interested to know how hard Charles is to tackle on the new Madden Football game.  Anyone who’s played Tecmo Super Bowl on an original Nintendo system knows there was no bringing Okoye down. On the field, little No. 25 has done just that.

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