In the 1990s, the musical group Spin Doctors released a number of hit songs that put the alt rockers on the map.
Decades before, Chuck Foreman, a.k.a the Spin Doctor, put himself on the football map due to his play on the gridiron.
After a productive college career at the University of Miami, Foreman was a first-round pick by the Minnesota Vikings in the 1973 draft.
— NFL Classic! (@79_nfl) July 22, 2023
Although listed as a running back, Foreman was also a prolific receiver out of the backfield and even led the NFL in receptions in 1975.
During his seven years with the franchise, Foreman was honored by the league and his peers several times as he helped lead the Vikings to three Super Bowl appearances.
To the dismay of Minnesota fans, the team lost all three title games and hasn’t returned to the Super Bowl since.
However, Foreman’s legacy as the organization’s primary running back during the glory years remains cemented.
This is the story of “The Spin Doctor,” Chuck Foreman.
Walter Eugene “Chuck” Foreman was born on October 26, 1950 in Frederick, Maryland.
Growing up in Maryland, Foreman lived near a number of sports teams that played in the NFL, MLB, and NBA.
Each franchise had its stars and Foreman cheered for members of the Washington Redskins, Baltimore Colts, and Baltimore Bullets.
After watching his heroes excel on the field or court, Foreman would go outside and replicate the moves the players made during games.
He soon began using his moves against real competition as a student-athlete at Frederick High School.
Congrats to Frederick High alum Chuck Foreman for earning a place on the Super Bowl 50 High School Honor Roll pic.twitter.com/xO9QNN5TNH
— Dwayne Freeman (@DwayneFreeman81) February 3, 2016
As a member of the Cadets football team, Foreman played tight end and developed into a sure-handed and elusive playmaker.
His elusiveness was inspired, in part, by former Bullets star Earl “The Pearl” Monroe.
On the hardwood, Monroe would bob and weave through traffic and deploy a scintillating spin move to dislodge from defenders.
The hoops legend used the move so well that Foreman began using it himself during his football games.
“Carrying the ball, I would see a place where I wanted to be on the field, and the only way to get there was to spin,” Foreman said. “It worked.”
In a game against rival Bel Air High School, Foreman activated his spin move enough times that he scored four touchdowns.
Foreman also played for the Cadets’ basketball team and tried his best to become a younger version of The Pearl.
He was so successful on the court that his scholarship offers from college basketball coaches outnumbered the offers from college football coaches.
Foreman Becomes a Hurricane
Among the schools recruiting Foreman for football were Penn State, Maryland, Syracuse, and the University of Miami.
Since he wanted to compete in football, Foreman strongly considered staying near home and playing for the Terrapins.
That idea fell apart when coaches from Miami came to Frederick one day during his senior year to scout one of Foreman’s teammates.
It just so happened that he had an outstanding game and ended up stealing the spotlight.
After the game, the Miami coaches approached Foreman about playing for them.
He liked what he heard from head coach Charlie Tate and was even more hooked on the Hurricane program after he visited the school.
“I listened to what they had to say and decided to visit the school,” Foreman said. “They treated me well during the visit and I decided almost right then and there that Miami is where I wanted to be.”
Several conversations with Tate cemented the deal and Foreman headed south.
“(Tate) was a southern gentleman who smoked cigars and was an impressive man,” Foreman said. “Plus, Miami was an international school with a diversity of students which made attending there a pretty easy decision … it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
He arrived in Miami in 1969 and had to watch games from the sideline since the NCAA didn’t allow Freshmen to suit up for varsity games at the time.
Then, before his sophomore year in 1970, Tate switched Foreman to defensive back to get him more playing time and address several injuries to the ‘Canes secondary.
Chuck Foreman-Miami Hurricanes pic.twitter.com/cZow079IWF
— The Return (@TheReturn84) March 29, 2022
Surprisingly, after the second game of the year, Tate stepped down and was replaced by interim coach Walt Kichefski.
While Miami fell to 3-8 overall, Foreman got some snaps on offense as a running back and ran 47 times for 196 yards.
He also caught 12 passes for 103 yards.
“The Gold Dust Twins”
When the rubble cleared on the Hurricanes disastrous 1970 season, the school hired former University of Tampa head coach Fran Curci to take over in 1971.
One of the coach’s first moves was to keep Foreman in the backfield and pair him with Tom Sullivan.
Miami only won four games that year, but Sullivan and Foreman, nicknamed “The Gold Dust Twins,” did their best to try and salvage games.
Foreman rushed for 951 yards (a program record at the time) on 191 carries for a 5.0 yards per carry average and scored 10 touchdowns.
32 days until Canes Football.
A true OGs of the modern Hurricane program, Chuck Foreman was one of Miami’s first truly great players. Foreman earned 1st team All American honors as in 1971 as a RB before leading Miami in both rushing and receiving in ‘72. #CanesCountdown pic.twitter.com/QCVkI1qSkr
— Canes Legacy (@CanesLegacy) July 31, 2023
Sullivan touched the ball 150 times for 761 yards and two scores.
Each time Foreman ran the pigskin, he would juke and jive, making defenders miss over and over and leading Coach Curci to marvel at his running back.
“Chuck Forman has that extra move you don’t teach, you have to be born with it,” said Curci.
After the season, The Sporting News named Foreman a first-team All-American.
In 1972, the ‘Canes won five times while Foreman split time as a running back and receiver.
Happy 70th birthday to former University of Miami All American and NFL defensive back Burgess Owens. Owens (far right) is pictured below with UM teammates Chuck Foreman and Tony Cristiani in 1972. A native of Tallahassee, FL, Owens, along with Chuck Foreman, pic.twitter.com/GuR02b5LYN
— Paul Howard (@PaulHoward_IMIT) August 3, 2021
The dual threat machine had 107 carries for 484 yards and three touchdowns and caught 37 passes for 557 yards and three more scores.
During his time in Coral Gables, Foreman had 1,631 rushing yards and 13 rushing scores, 56 receptions for 732 yards and three touchdowns, and also returned 42 kicks for 882 yards and another score.
Weeb Ewbank Gives Foreman a Timely Lesson
Due to his play at Miami, Foreman was invited to participate in the 1973 Senior Bowl.
@CFB150 Happy Birthday Chuck Foreman Miami Florida pic.twitter.com/QL5NSp2LhL
— Timothy C. Kulla (@TCKooo) October 26, 2019
Shortly into his first practice, New York Jets coach Weeb Ewbank, who was coaching the South team, pulled Foreman aside.
Ewbank had a quick conversation with the running back to address a serious problem, fumbling.
While playing for Miami, Foreman’s whirling dervish running style, mixed with the insecure way he carried the ball, resulted in a number of costly fumbles.
The coach wanted Foreman to be successful at the professional level and gave him pointers on how to properly secure the ball when running.
“I’m going to show you how to hold onto this ball, and I’m going to showcase your talent,” said Ewbank.
Thankfully, Foreman proved to be a quick study.
Once the contest started, he was difficult to stop as he rumbled for 167 yards and had three receptions for 59 yards.
Foreman was voted the game’s MVP for the South’s 33-30 win and won a new car for his efforts.
He was then invited to play in two other all-star contests and did so well that he won two more vehicles.
Minnesota Selects Foreman
Foreman wasn’t even a pro athlete yet, but he already had a stable full of cars.
All he needed was a contract that proved he was worthy of his new toys.
Before the 1973 NFL Draft, Foreman wasn’t sure when or where he would be selected.
With the 12th pick in the 1973 NFL Draft the Minnesota Vikings select…Chuck Foreman
— Chuck Foreman (@ChuckForeman) December 10, 2020
Since he had played three different positions in college and his stats varied from year to year, Foreman believed some NFL teams would look past him.
“I could play any position you put me in,” said Foreman. “I may have had 400 yards here and 500 yards there, but if I had played one position, I might have tripled those yards. But it was never like that. That’s what people don’t understand, that I was moving around to all these positions.”
The pre-draft process back then wasn’t like it is today.
Basically, Foreman had his three all-star games to prove his worth as well as one Pro Day held at Miami.
“I don’t remember it being anything that was extravagant,” Foreman said. “As far as an athlete, I don’t think there was any better, some as good maybe,” he said. “But I do know that none of them had the work ethic I had, because I was a workaholic.”
On the day of the draft, Foreman was in his Miami apartment and got a phone call from his agent to check in on him.
After hanging up, Foreman got another call.
“The next phone call I got was from a gentleman by the name of Jim Finks,” Foreman said. “Welcome aboard,” Finks told Foreman. “There will be a plane ticket waiting for you.”
Jim Finks was the Minnesota Vikings’ general manager and he had just taken Foreman with the 12th overall selection of the 1973 NFL Draft.
— Mike Battaglia (@CoachBags13) July 19, 2022
Minnesota’s head coach, Bud Grant, then explained to the media why the team took the Miami all-purpose threat.
“A running back who is a good receiver is an important part of pro football as it is played today,” Grant was quoted as saying in the Minneapolis Star. “The fact that he was a wide receiver last fall proves that he can handle the pass.”
Rookie of the Year
When he met the Vikings’ coaches for the first time, Foreman was a little shocked by their initial question.
“They took me to the office, and I met all the coaches, and then they asked me what position I wanted to play,” Foreman said.
Grant and offensive coordinator Jerry Burns decided he should play fullback as a rookie and Foreman proved himself more than worthy.
“(Burns) moved me to fullback in an effort to best incorporate my talents,” said Foreman in 2012. “He was so far ahead of his time in his offensive approach. What he developed was really the precursor to what has become known as the West Coast offense. He was the architect of that.”
As Minnesota cruised to a 12-2 record, Foreman started 10 games and rushed for 801 yards and four touchdowns and caught 37 passes for 362 yards and two scores.
— Sports Days Past (@SportsDaysPast) July 12, 2019
He was voted to his first Pro Bowl and was named the NFL’s Rookie of the Year.
Furthermore, after spinning out of a number of would-be tacklers during the season, something Foreman had done since high school, his teammates began calling him “The Spin Doctor” and the moniker stuck.
The Vikings, who had gone 7-7 in 1971, took care of Washington and Dallas in the playoffs before meeting the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VIII.
It was the organization’s first trip to the NFL’s ultimate game since Super Bowl IV.
“I’m going to be straight with you: Of all the teams we played [in the Super Bowl], that was the best team we played, the Miami Dolphins,” Foreman said in 2016. “They were solid all the way. They were smart, they were talented, they were physical, and they were better than us in the overall picture.”
During the contest, Foreman was used primarily as a decoy.
— VikeFans (@VikeFans) January 30, 2019
That proved to be a bad decision as the Dolphins won easily, 24-7.
Foreman was limited to just 18 rushing yards and 27 receiving yards for the day.
Minnesota Returns to the Super Bowl
In 1974, Foreman continued dominating as a runner and receiver as he racked up 777 rushing yards and nine touchdowns along with 53 receptions for 586 yards and six more scores.
Found this photo of Chuck Foreman in a Vikings uniform without any sleeve stripes. Looks strange to me. pic.twitter.com/VaBPZHBUO9
— FB_Helmet_Guy (@FB_Helmet_Guy) November 11, 2019
His 15 combined touchdowns led the NFL, which in turn, led to his second straight Pro Bowl selection and a second-team All-Pro nod.
Meanwhile, the Vikings went 10-4 and advanced through the playoffs by eliminating the St. Louis Cardinals and LA Rams.
The Pittsburgh Steelers then met Minnesota in Super Bowl IX and the pre-game hype centered on the defenses.
Pittsburgh’s “Steel Curtain” defense helped the franchise reach its first ever Super Bowl while the Vikings own “Purple People Eaters” enabled Minnesota to reach its third.
Despite the fact that the Steelers were favored by three points, Foreman and his teammates believed the outcome would favor them.
“We were better than them, no question,” Foreman said.
As advertised, both defenses were stingy, and by halftime, the score was only 2-0 in favor of the Steelers.
With just over four minutes remaining in the game, the Vikings scored on a blocked punt to get within 9-6 (the PAT was no good).
Pittsburgh quarterback Terry Bradshaw then led the Steelers’ offense on an 11-play drive that culminated in a game-icing touchdown.
Viking Super Bowl Memories – SB IX: #3 – Chuck Foreman led all Vikings with 5 catches for 50 yards. Here is one of his catches. In all, the Viking offensive line was too small to block the Steelers, had no run game, and only 119 yards for the game. #vikings pic.twitter.com/wBmEYFhkDk
— VikeFans (@VikeFans) January 30, 2020
Minnesota lost its third title game, 16-6.
“We were right there, man,” said Foreman. “Mistakes being made … it was almost like a bad omen. It was almost like, man, I don’t even wanna come back here if we’re going to lose.”
Foreman totaled 50 receiving yards and 18 rushing yards during the contest.
NFL Receptions Leader
The pain of two straight Super Bowl losses was sufficiently subdued in 1975 while Foreman (now labeled a “running back”) went on a tear.
— Old Time Football 🏈 (@Ol_TimeFootball) August 11, 2023
In addition to rushing for 1,070 yards (a new record for a Minnesota running back) and 13 touchdowns, he also led the NFL with 73 receptions for 691 yards and nine touchdowns.
His reception total set a record for NFL running backs and he was named a first-team All-Pro for his efforts.
However, one minor issue that season was Foreman’s fumble problems.
Coach Ewbank’s tutorial a few years before obviously didn’t have a lasting effect.
Foreman coughed up the ball six times in each of his first two years and then an NFL leading 12 times in 1975.
It would be an issue that would plague Foreman for the rest of his career.
Near the end of the ‘75 season, Minnesota was on its way to a third consecutive postseason when the team arrived in Buffalo for a Week 14 game against the Bills.
Foreman began the contest as the favorite to win the NFC’s elusive “triple crown” as the conference’s rushing yards, receptions, and touchdowns leader.
Chuck Foreman (#44) was a major reason the Vikings dominated the NFC Central in the 1970s. In 1975 he lead the NFL in receiving (73 catches), the NFC in scoring (132 points) and was second in the conference in rushing (1070 yards). pic.twitter.com/Quj4h0FQzI
— NFL Past Players (@nflpastplayers) August 22, 2023
The Vikings and Foreman had little trouble with Buffalo and were easily ahead after the back scored his third touchdown.
Just after reaching pay dirt, a snowball thrown by a Buffalo fan hit Foreman in the eye.
That caused him to miss part of the second half.
Although Foreman returned to the game to score his 22nd touchdown of the year, he was kept on the bench for the remainder of the 35-13 blowout win.
Simpson ended up overtaking Sayers’ record on a 64-yard touchdown catch that put “The Juice’s” season touchdown total at 23.
Then, adding (eye) injury to insult, St. Louis Cardinals running back Jim Otis ended the year with 1,076 yards, beating out Foreman for the rushing title by six yards.
Eight days later, the Dallas Cowboys came to town for a divisional round matchup and Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach launched a Hail Mary pass in the game’s closing seconds to win 17-14.
1976 and Another Super Bowl Loss
Foreman’s eye was fully recovered by the time the 1976 season began.
He started all 14 games for the first time in his career and it showed in his final stat line.
By the end of the year, the running back had rushed for a career-best 1,155 yards and 13 touchdowns while snagging 55 passes for 567 yards and another touchdown.
Those totals were good enough for the United Press International to vote Foreman as the NFC Offensive Player of the Year.
Foreman also had a 200-yard rushing day during the year which stood as a Vikings single-game record until 2007.
Minnesota took an 11-2-1 record into the postseason and took care of the Redskins and Rams on the way to a Super Bowl XI meeting with the mighty Oakland Raiders.
Just before the game, Coach Grant decided to get creative and deploy a strategy to disguise the team’s best offensive plays.
Chuck Foreman shows the tough sledding the Vikings had run Super Bowl XI vs the Raiders. Chuck had a few nice catches & spectacular runs, but it was not enough. Anyone old enough to remember the game, will never forget Foreman's teary glare as he realized the #vikings would lose pic.twitter.com/KuoR68hSOx
— VikeFans (@VikeFans) August 23, 2018
Instead of working in the Vikings’ favor, the tweak ended up confusing the offense and benefitting the Raiders.
“The things we were doing were totally out of sync,” said Foreman. “It was just like we were in ‘The Twilight Zone’ or something. It wasn’t the same.”
Foreman gained decent yardage, including 44 rushing yards and 62 receiving yards, but Oakland was just too powerful.
Favored by four points, the Raiders won 32-14.
Minnesota has not returned to the Super Bowl since.
Foreman is Traded
Many of the core Vikings players who had led the franchise to four Super Bowls were showing their age in 1977.
The organization let quarterback Fran Tarkenton know his days were numbered when they drafted Rice signal-caller Tommy Kramer in the first round.
They all had another good push in them and the team won nine games before advancing to the NFC Championship game and losing to Dallas.
— VikeFans (@VikeFans) December 23, 2021
Foreman was still spinning and gashing his way through defenders with 1,112 rushing yards and six touchdowns and adding 38 catches for 308 yards and three scores.
He was then voted to his fifth Pro Bowl and named a second-team All-Pro for the third time.
In 1978, Foreman (listed as “fullback” again) played in all 14 games for the third year in a row, but nagging knee issues limited him to 749 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
He did better as a receiver, snagging 61 passes for 396 yards and two touchdowns.
Minnesota won the NFC Central Division for the sixth straight year, but lost in the divisional round to the Rams.
By 1979, Foreman found himself used less in the Vikings offense and he appeared in 12 games with seven starts.
“Pretty much what was happening was, they were phasing me out of the offense,” Foreman said in 2021. “I’d be coming out on routes and be wide open, and they’d dump the ball off to someone else. And I’d say, ‘I can see what’s happening here.’”
He ended his seventh pro season with 370 combined yards and two touchdowns.
In the spring of 1980, Foreman was traded to the New England Patriots.
As a member of the Patriots in 1980, Foreman was buried on the depth chart and barely saw the field.
— Keith Stone (@kstone3944) December 30, 2017
The most memorable moment in the midst of his 162 combined yards, one touchdown year was a Monday Night Football contest against Miami on December 8.
Just after taking a handoff and getting stopped by the Dolphins defense, television commentator Howard Cosell announced to the viewing audience that former Beatles frontman John Lennon had been shot and killed in New York City.
Foreman then ran another play after the shocking news.
When the year ended, he retired.
During his career, Foreman had 1,556 rushing attempts for 5,950 yards and 53 scores along with 350 receptions for 3,156 yards and 23 touchdowns.
He also had 52 career fumbles.
Foreman was an NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, NFC Offensive Player of the Year, a four-time All-Pro, five-time Pro Bowler, and the league’s receptions leader once.
Since retiring, he has been placed in the Vikings’ Ring of Honor, named one of the 50 Greatest Vikings, and selected for Minnesota’s 25th and 40th Anniversary Teams.
Foreman still has a few NFL records including most games with a rushing and receiving touchdown in a season with five.
Additionally, Foreman holds several Minnesota records including total touchdowns in a season (22), most career playoff rushing attempts (229), career playoff rushing yards (880), and career playoff rushing scores (7).
Life Since Retiring
After leaving professional football, Foreman has primarily been involved with the lives of young people.
The program offers positive reinforcement and life advice for students.
Foreman has also hosted a radio talk show called Spin it! With Chuck Foreman.
Jay Foreman, Chuck’s son, carried on the family name by playing linebacker for four NFL teams between 1999 and 2006.
Chuck Foreman of the Minnesota Vikings & his son Jay photographed by Charles Chamblis at Lake Calhoun (circa 1975) | The “Spin Doctor” won Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1973, and started in 3 Super Bowls. Jay followed his dad’s foot steps and played in the NFL from 1999 to 2006 pic.twitter.com/oljklKnmhX
— archivealive (@archivealive) June 21, 2020
In 2000, Foreman was in the news for the wrong reason when he was charged with defrauding mortgage companies.
He was sentenced to three years probation while also owning up to his role in the scheme.
“What I did was a mistake. I should have used better judgment,” said Foreman. “It was embarrassing to read about myself like that.”
Although there has been debate about Chuck Foreman’s inclusion into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he has little interest in worrying about notoriety.
“I don’t believe in any talk about a GOAT,” Foreman said in 2021. “The fact is that everything changes and anyone who wants to get into that type of talk are just blow-hards.”