Jeff Pearlman

  • Twitter Icon
  • Twitter Icon
  • Twitter Icon

The 25 best players in USFL history: No. 23—Maurice Carthon

Screen Shot 2018-08-18 at 2.53.47 PM

I am counting down the top 25 players in USFL history, concluding with the announcement of the No. 1 guy on Sept. 10—the eve of the release date for Football for a Buck.

The list comes after years of writing and researching my book, as well as a lifetime of loving the long, lost spring football league.

There have been books throughout my career that were written because the moment was right. There have been books throughout my career that felt like pure labor (sorry, Roger Clemens). But Football for a Buck is pure passion. Everything about the USFL spoke to me. The colors. The uniforms. The nicknames. The stars. The scrubs. It felt real and gritty and authentic.

Hence, the book.

Hence, the list.

Also, a quick point: This has 0 to do with what the players later became. NFL accomplishments are insignificant here. It’s all about the USFL.

So, with no further ado …

No. 23: Maurice Carthon

Fullback

New Jersey Generals (1983-85)

So this is one of the USFL’s great success stories. Carthon is from tiny Osceola, Arkansas, and attended Arkansas State. He was off the Canadian football League radar, off the National Football League radar. But he joined the Generals in 1983 and won the job as Herschel Walker’s blocking back. Just watch New Jersey highlights over the three seasons, and most of Walker’s best runs begin with a crushing block from Carthon.

He also could run. In 1984 Walker and Carthon became the third pro backfield to have two runners clear 1,000 yards (Csonka/Morris – 1972 and Harris/Blier – 1976).

Amazingly, Carthon was probably an even better NFL player. When the USFL folded he joined the New York Giants and paved the way for Joe Morris and O.J. Anderson. He won two Super Bowls.

From Football for a Buck:

Screen Shot 2018-08-18 at 4.31.46 PM

Player No. 25: Tim Spencer

Player No. 24: Chuck Clanton

Player No. 23: Maurice Carthon

Showtime Book
Love Me, Hate Me Barry Bonds Book
Sweetness Walter Peyton Book
The Bad Guys Won Book
The Rocket that Fell to Earth Book
Boys Will Be Boys Book

Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life