Monday, February 22, 2021

Doug Betters—A Worthy Career

 By John Turney 

Not everyone who plays a decent amount of time in the NFL is worthy of the Hall of Fame and not even of the Hall of Very Good but they can still have a worthy career—one worthy of mentioning and praise. 

Doug Betters is one of those kinds of careers.

He had a big year in 1983, one in which he outpolled a wide field for the AP Defensive Player of the Year, though it was not consensus. Jack Lambert won the NEA Defensive Player of the Year Award. 

But the AP Award voting was interesting no less than 22 players garnered votes with Betters getting 19 to take the award.

Doug Betters, DE, Miami (19)
Randy White, DT, Dallas (15)
Dave Butz, DT, Washington (7)
Lawrence Taylor, OLB, N.Y. Giants (6)
Jack Lambert, ILB, Pittsburgh (5)
Chip Banks, OLB, Cleveland (5)
Mark Gastineau, DE, N.Y. Jets (4)
Mark Murphy, FS, Washington (3)
Fred Dean, DE, San Francisco (3)
A.J. Duhe, ILB, Miami (3)
Lance Mehl, OLB, N.Y. Jets (2)
Rod Martin, OLB, L.A. Raiders (2)
Randy Gradishar, ILB, Denver (1)
Howie Long, DE, L.A. Raiders (1)
Doug English, DT, Detroit (1)
Lee Roy Selmon, DE, Tampa Bay (1)
Dexter Manley, DE, Washington (1)
Ted Hendricks, OLB, L.A. Raiders (1)
Ronnie Lott, CB, San Francisco (1)
Raymond Clayborn, CB, New England (1)
Johnnie Poe, CB, New Orleans (1)
Matt Millen, ILB, L.A. Raiders (1)

Here are the stats for Betters in 1983—

And his career stats—

In addition to being the AP Defensive Player of the Year, Betters was a consensus All-Pro in a year where Mark Gastineau and Howie Long were playing great football and even though he had another excellent season in 1984 Betters got zero support for All-Pro. In fact, he got nothing in terms of honors in any other season.

However, he was not a one-year wonder, he was a good run defender in his early years, even moving right defensive AJ Duhe out of his right defensive end position in 1979. 

But his legacy will be that of a member of the Dolphins Killer B’s Defense and his 1983 DPOY hardware and his 1982 Super Bowl appearance but ultimate defeat to Washington. 

In 1998, Betters suffered a spinal cord injury while skiing in  Montana and now is involved with charities helping those with similar injuries. 

So, again, not everyone is going to be All-Everything, but many have interesting careers as solid football players and did their job. Betters did that. 

Well done. 


  1. that is why i love this site because it highlights good underrated players while most other sites just look at qb, rbs, receivers.

  2. I should know this, has anyone else ever been DPOY without making even a Pro Bowl in any other season of their career.

    1. I think he's it--even Paup got honors in other years..

    2. Paul came to mind but he was PB in GB.

  3. another guy who was good and got little honor for it was mike hartenstine.

  4. Nice write-up John. As an '80s Dolphins fan, it felt like the SB against Riggins and company pushed them over a cliff from a top defense to.... A lot of the fans noticed a defense that was very suseptible to the other team's run game having great success for the rest of the decade. I don't know if the statistics bear it out, but watching them, it felt like they couldn't stop the run.

    1. What hurt the Dolphins was Arnsparger leaving after the 1983 season. That year, his defense beat Montana and the 49ers. Not so much the next year ...

  5. I think Arnsparger leaving and the emergence of Dan Marino and that fast scoring offense keep Miami's defense on the field too much, plus everyone was watching that offense and the defense was getting overlooked. Betters was a great player to watch, always seemed to be around the gootball