Re: will AD beat ED's record? is he the best you have ever seen?
posted at 12/28/2012 1:34 AM EST
In response to portfolio1's comment:
In response to ccnsd's comment:
In response to portfolio1's comment:
Best Ever is soooooo hard. Jim Brown dominated his era more than any RB ever has. He was averaging about 100 yards per game for his career and had a perfect blend of power and speed.
Sayers was amazing and had more power than the casual fan even at that time might have realized. And his combination of moves, quickness and speed were showcased not only as a RB but as a punt and KO returner.
I am not sure I ever saw a more powerful back whose top speed was as fast as a DB as Earl Campbell. In his prime he might be THE greatest back ever. As much power as Czonka (Bettis, etc.) and as much top speed as anyone would need to run 80 yards without being caught.
Bo Jackson will always be the ghost hanging over any discussion. With football as a "hobby" after baseball season he was like Campbell and Brown in that he had a great combination of speed and power but in his case his speed was off the charts. More like Chris Johnson speed! Truly amazing back. HE is the IF... If he had had even half of a career my money would be on Bo as THE BEST EVER. But we will never know for sure.
Walter Peyton was perhaps the least gifted of all the greatest of the great backs. But he had enormous determination. More than that, he had a great blend of instincts and quickness and power. Together these three elements either made a defensive player miss or not get enough of a direct hit to stop him. And sometimes direct hits were not enough to overcome his stregnth and toughness. He was also a great blocker and dependable and dangerous receiver.
Marshall Faulk was perhaps the best at combining running skills and receiving skills (sort of like an even better version of Lenny Moore who played for the Colts in the late 50s through much of the 60s). Great receiver. Good power. Great, great quickness. Good speed. Tremendous instincts. Many here are familiar with Kevin Faulk, his cousin. Marshall was like everything Kevin was but at a higher level. Especially in top speed. As an all purppose back you could make the case for Marshall Faulk as the best all purpose back ever (though Sayers makes a case if you look for punt and kick off returning more than receiving).
Eric Dickerson was a bit like Peterson in that he prefered to run north and south but had good open field moves, had a high top speed and ran very hard with great power and didnt shrink from using his power. With Dickerson you are talking about a Bo Jackson type in that there is enough speed to overshadow the power that is truly there.
Peterson is impressive in so many ways. But watch when contact is made. He seems to be slowed down due to contact less than almost anyone I have seen before. Somehow he just seems to keep moving. Not just moving his feet. I mean moving over the ground as if no one has touched him yet. So it seems like he never has to excellerate as much after contact because he never slowed down. When he does excellerate it is almost directly to top speed. And his instincts past the line of scrimage are impeccable.
Barry Sanders - I guess he is the most amazing RB to watch. Nowhere near the power of this group of RBs. But every run was almost like watching Devin Hester return punts and kick offs. No matter where the play was designed to go, if the line didnt create the hole Sanders might end up anywhere on the field running circles around the entire D. If you never saw any of these RBs run Sanders is THE one to watch. How did he do that???
There are some others who could be mentioned. OJ Simpson. John Riggins. Marion Motley. Emmit Smith, etc. I may have overlooked someone in speaking off the cuff but the above group is the group to talk about. It is hard to say who is THE best ever. And what talents do you include? How important is power when you are Barry Sanders. But why not have both power and speed as with Bo, or Jim Brown, or Peterson or Dickerson or Campbell... How important is their receiving ability? In todays league the passing game is sooo critically important. So a guy like Marshall Faulk could be devastating in both the passing and running game and so be that much more valuable. Imagine Faulk playing with Brady (as his cousin did) or with Peyton Manning! Or a guy like Sayers who could give you Hester like production as a returner too!
If you want an all purpose back I would say Marshall Faulk.
If you want pure talent where speed and power and just plain greatness carrying the ball at the peak of their abilities and are not worried about their numbers lifetime (at all) then Bo Jackson or, if his time is just too limited for you to feel OK about it, then Earl Campbell.
If you want how much they dominated above and beyond their peers then Jim Brown.
If you want the most dangerous then Barry Sanders.
If you want power, speed and lifetime statistics then perhaps Dickerson.
We will see about Peterson but he is certainly a viable choice - you can make a case for him now.
Great post! I disagree on the Bo Jackson stuff though. He was a very talented back who's commercials seem to make his career better than it actually was. He was never considered the best back in the NFL while he was playing. He had those amazing 90 yard runs but he was generally a back up behind Marcus Allen. He may have been one of the greats if he hadn't of gotten hurt but i always have felt he was an overrated NFL player. A great talent who had explosive speed but Thurman Thomas was a much better player at that time especially at catching the football.
Actually, ALlen started the season but after baseball season when Jackson showed up he got on the field. He averaged 73 yards a game and 5.4 yards per carry. He did it with no preseason and after playing 162 game baseball season. Actually, when he played, in that very very short time, pretty much everyone around the league thought he was clearly the best RB in the game and were all but ready to compare him to the best running backs ever. Most (not just fans) were amazed at what he could do and did do after a long baseball season, no getting into "football" shape, no preseason, and just stepping onto the field.
Compare his 73.2 yards per game and 5.4 yards per carry to Thomas' 66.3 yards per game and 4.2 yards per carry. It is hard to know what Jackson's numbers would have been had he only played football and so played full seasons with a preseason, preparation etc. Would he have not been able to take the load? Would his numbers have fallen off? I really really doubt his numbers would have not been exceptional but there is no way to prove it. All I can say is how well he ran on plays that were not those big runs you mentioned... He clearly had great power. He used it on a lot of runs. He clearly was one of the fastest players in the league at any position. And it translated into what he did running the ball....
I do agree that Thurman THomas was a talented all purpose back and certainly had the on field proof of his running and receiving skills. But just as a runner Thomas didn't ahve anywhere near that kind fo power and Jackson was the fastest back in the league. Just on running skills/talent Jackson is up there. Thomas was good but not an all time great for just his running skills. Perhaps you could make a case for him as an all purpose back but I think he just falls too short on not having either truly great explosiveness or power. Better than Kevin Faulk because he was goodenough to be your feature back - not as good as Marshall because he was not nearly as explosive. But still one of the best of his era.
I guess we will disagree about Jackson.
Are you sure about Jackson starting over Allen (I know the cliche that it's not about who starts but who finishes). Pro football referance has Allen starting 15 games for the Raiders in 1990 and Bo Jackson starting zero. It could be a typo because i have seen mistakes there in the past though. I agree that Faulk is better than Thomas but in the late 1980's I feel Thomas was the best all around back before Emmit Smith broke through. I have always felt that Hershel Walker was just as talented as Bo Jackson but his commercials weren't as funny and therefore he is forgotten.