NFL Senior Analyst stiffs a handful of Running Backs with his greatest of all time list.
NFL Senior Analyst ranks Cowboys Running Back Ezekiel Elliot as the 26th best back of all time.
When it comes to sports, there may not be a discussion that is more frustrating then who the greatest of all time may be. While it is an opinionated topic, there still needs to be facts involved to make arguments valid. Player statistics and accomplishments are obviously key, but how much does experience matter?
According to NFL’s Senior Analyst Gil Brandt, you do not need much on your NFL resume to be in the conversation. After just one season in the NFL, Ezekiel Elliot was ranked at number 26 on a greatest of all time list. Unless you are a Cowboys fan, you will most likely be outraged by hearing this. Is Elliot a good Running Back? Absolutely! Does he have potential to headline this list? Sure. Should he be in the conversation already for one of the greatest? NO!
Clearly there is bias in Brandt’s article. Normally I would let this go but I cant help but be frustrated. How does a guy coming out of his rookie season surpass Hall of Famers on a greatest of all time list? There are probably a handful of Running Backs who are still playing who deserve a spot on this list more then Zeke. Several players who have at least over 8 thousand yards in their career and still going have been excluded from the list. In fact, one of them is a top ten rushing leader of all time. To lose out on a mention to someone with 1,631 yards, 15 TD’s, zero playoff wins, and one season under their belt is a smack in the face to respected veterans. Shall we acknowledge these deserving veterans?
Frank Gore is heading into his 13th season in the NFL. Gore is a 34-year old veteran who is coming off of a 1,025 yard season. His 2016 numbers may not have looked as impressive as young Zeke’s, but Gore has been banging out 1,000 yard seasons since 2006. In fact, Gore’s sophomore season in San Francisco was no slump.
He rushed for 1,695 yards and eight touchdowns in all 16 games in 2007. Since then, he has worked his way up on the all time leader list. He is currently ranked eighth on the all time rushing list with 13,065 yards. Yet, he was absent from this list…
LeSean McCoy is another running back who should have had at least an honorable mention on this list. He was drafted in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft to the Philadelphia Eagles. McCoy left his mark on the Eagles all-time list before getting traded to the Buffalo Bills in 2015. He is Philadelphia’s franchise rushing leader with 6,792 yards, but his production didn't stop in Buffalo.
McCoy racked up an additional 2,162 yards on the Bills over the last two seasons, bringing his career total to 8,954 yards. With no signs of slowing down, McCoy is on pace to have another big season in Buffalo. If LeSean gets his hands on Brandt’s list, you can expect him to play with even more of a chip on his shoulder. He doesn't like being excluded from conversations of who is the best running back, just ask PFF.
Matt Forte has had his fair share of injuries over his nine-year career, but he has still gained enough respect to earn a mention in this conversation. From 2008 to 2015, Forte played on a mediocre Chicago Bears team. With only one playoff win in his career, Forte’s personal stats needed to stick out in order to be in this conversation.
As he heads into his 10th season, Forte is on track to surpass 10,000 career rushing yards. It may not come easy as he is on a struggling New York Jets team and clearly declining, but he is just 585 yards short of the 10k mark. If a rookie has spot on this list, then Forte’s stellar career should earn him the opportunity to be mentioned as well.
We could go back and review many faces in Canton have been stiffed from this list as well, but it wouldn't be worth it. This is clearly a case of the ‘America’s Team’ bias. Lets face it, after the Cowboys big season in 2016, there have been a lot of bizarre statements about the young guys in Dallas. Ezekiel Elliot being crowned as one of that greatest already by a senior analyst may take the cake this time though.