State Your Case: Larry Brown

Larry Brown photo courtesy of Washington Redskins
(Larry Brown photos courtesy of the Washington Redskins)

By Rick Gosselin

Talk of Fame Network

Terrell Davis had a four-year window of greatness with the Denver Broncos. He won a rushing title, an NFL MVP award and two Super Bowls from 1995-98 before a knee injury destroyed his career.

Is that short of a career, as brilliant as it was, enough to merit a bust in Canton for Davis?

If so, we should go back and re-examine the career of Larry Brown.

Like Davis, Brown had a four-year window of greatness as a running back. Like Davis, Brown was the best running back in the NFL during his four-year stretch from 1969-72. He won a rushing title, an NFL MVP award and his legs powered the Washington Redskins to a Super Bowl.

Unlike Davis, though, Brown has been forgotten with the passage of time. He has never been a Hall-of-Fame finalist — and there has never been an outcry of injustice over his omission from Canton as there has been for Davis.

Larry Brown deserves better.

Brown arrived in Washington as an eighth-round draft pick out of Kansas State in 1969. He was the only impact player Vince Lombardi found in his first and only draft as general manager of the Redskins. But what an impact Brown had.

He would rush for 888 yards as a rookie to finish fourth in the NFL and deliver the Redskins their first winning season in 14 years (7-5-2). He followed that with a 1,125-yard effort in 1970, becoming the first Redskin to win an NFL rushing crown in 32 years. He gained 948 more yards in 1971 to propel the Redskins into their first post-season in 26 years.

But the best was yet to come. Brown rushed for a career-best 1,216 yards to win an NFC rushing crowd in 1972 and also caught 32 passes, scoring 12 touchdowns. He was named the NFL MVP as the Redskins advanced to the first Super Bowl in franchise history.

Brown rushed for 4,177 yards over those four seasons, tops in the NFL, and went to four consecutive Pro Bowls. The only other back to attend four Pro Bowls during that same window was Floyd Little, who is in the Hall of Fame. Brown also caught 119 passes during the first four years of his career and finished in the league’s top four in total offensive touches all four seasons.

But Brown was not a big back, only 5-11, 195 pounds, and the heavy workload took a toll on his body. He continued to start the next two seasons, and Washington returned to the playoffs each year. But his greatest contribution came in the passing game. His rushing yards fell off to 860 in 1973 and 430 in 1974. But he posted the two best receiving seasons of his career, catching 40 passes for 482 yards and seven touchdowns in 1973 and 37 passes for 388 yards and four more scores in 1974.

Brown wound up playing only eight seasons and was finished by the age of 29. He’s been eligible for the Hall for 35 years, but his name has never come up in the discussion.

“My understanding has always been that the Hall of Fame is based on your contribution to the game,” Brown said. “The fact that my number (43) has never been back on the field would indicate how much the Washington Redskins appreciated my performance on the field.”

In addition to his jersey number being placed in mothballs, Brown was named one of the 70 Greatest Redskins during the franchise’s 70th anniversary and one of the 80 Greatest Redskins during the 80th anniversary.

Larry Brown was a great player whether the Hall of Fame wants to recognize that or not.

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  1. bachslunch
    May 3, 2016

    Larry Brown was a terrifically good RB for a few years before injuries shortened his career. He and Chuck Foreman have similar careers and are arguably the best Senior RBs not in. But at this point, I’m not sold on either of them given how over-represented the position is in the HoF. No doubt there will be several following posts from one or more ‘Skins fans emphatically saying otherwise.

    • Rasputin
      May 7, 2016

      LOL! This article gets posted almost right after your post on the other thread and everything you said there came true. I wonder if Gosselin was inspired by your comments or if this was just a coincidence. Yeah, I wouldn’t vote for Brown’s induction (or T. Davis’, though we may disagree on that, I don’t recall for sure). Regarding senior RBs, Don Perkins deserves a mention as the best 60s RB not already in, with 6 Pro Bowls (in 8 seasons!), 1 first team All Pro, and him retiring after an 8 year career with the 5th highest career rushing yards total in NFL history.

      • May 7, 2016

        Rasputin … we’re inspired by many comments but in this case … coincidence.

  2. Sam Goldenberg
    May 3, 2016

    The problem I have with both Larry Brown and Terrell Davis is that when you try evaluate RBs whose careers were curtailed by injury you have to compare them to a RB whose career was cut short by injury that is in the Hall of Fame. Thus, the comparison is Gale Sayers. Then, in my opinion, you have to do the eye test. Anyone that saw Sayers play (or even viewed highlights) could see he was a special player. Brown and Davis were very good players, but not of the same caliber as Sayers. I just don’t see either as Hall of Famers.

  3. bachslunch
    May 3, 2016

    One significant thing that separates Gale Sayers from Terrell Davis, Larry Brown, and Chuck Foreman is that Sayers was a world-class kick returner and the others weren’t.

  4. Sam Goldenberg
    May 3, 2016

    I know this isn’t about Gale Sayers, but bachslunch you are right Sayers was an all world KO and punt returner, in addition to his running and receiving skills. Thus, although Davis, Brown, and Foreman were excellent players they are no where near Sayers, and if you are going to be a Hall of Famer based on a injury riddled career you have to be in Sayers class.

  5. Kris Nicholoff
    May 3, 2016

    Let’s not forget that Larry Brown overcame a disability. Another point I’d like to make is that George Halas carried Gayle Sayers name forward. If Vince Lombardi and George Allen were able to do the same for Larry Brown, I’m sure they would make a very strong case for his induction into the NFL’s Hall of Fame. Larry Brown’s contribution had a major measurable impact on the Washintgton Redskins. He should be in the HOF.

  6. Kris Nicholoff
    May 3, 2016

    Let’s not forget that Larry Brown overcame a disability. Another point I’d like make is that George Halas carried Gayle Sayers name forward. If Vince Lombardi and George Allen were able to do the same for Larry Brown, I’m sure they would make a very strong case for his induction into the NFL’s Hall of Fame. Larry Brown’s contribution had a major measurable impact on the Washington Redskins. He should be in the HOF.

  7. Mary Karanikas Ivins
    May 3, 2016

    My name is Mary and I remember meeting Larry Brown when I was 15 years old. I remember being so impressed by his presence. To this day, I still try to keep in contact with him via email.

    He is and will always be one of the best, top running backs in the NFL. I would say he would be on a top five list.

    Larry should definitely be in the Hall Of Fame. If you look at what a true Hall Of Famer should be, Larry exceeds the criteria for being there. I read his book, “I’ll Always Get Up.” Larry not only physically grew he also grew intellectually. He learned how to work through prejudice in the deep south of Kansas where he first attended a junior college – Dodge City Junior College. There were times he thought it was so hard, he wanted to return home. Larry was persistent to get an education and set the right example to others by staying to finish. He learned tolerance and patience by choosing to remain in Kansas and receive his degree.

    A Hall Of Fame candidate should have more than just numbers on the board and Larry has more than just numbers. He is and upstanding, model citizen in his community and during his career he and a couple of his other teammates used to visit a boys shelter in Washington DC to build the boys up and let them know they could be anything they wanted to be. In his book, “I’ll Always Get Up” there is a story that tells of one of the young boys who says to Larry, “I wish you could be my dad.” In my opinion that is the stuff that not only Hall Of Famers are made of but leaders as well and Larry does lead and he leads to perfection.

    When Larry first joined the Washington Redskins (I don’t know how many fans know this) Larry was under the tutelage of the famed, championship coach Vince Lombardi. The book, “I’ll Always Get Up” shows photos of Vince Lombardi working with Larry. Larry stated that he would be working out by himself doing sit ups and then he would look over to one side and see Vince Lombardi doing sit ups next to him.

    Larry also had to overcome a hearing problem he had in his right ear. When Vince Lombardi first arrived in Washington he noticed Larry coming slow off the line, just a second or two late. Vince suspected there was an issue but he couldn’t pinpoint it. He brought in some doctor’s (Larry had no idea what was going on when he saw these men in white coats coming at him) and that’s when Larry’s secret came out. Vince Lombardi improved Larry’s timing when he suggested a microphone/speaker in his helmet so he could hear the plays and snap count coming from the sidelines. When the device was tested, Vince asked Larry if he could hear him and Larry replied, loud and clear coach.

    The senior committee needs to seriously elect him as a candidate. They have to come to realize that he has worked just as hard, even harder than some of the senior candidates that have been inducted into the Hall. It’s time Larry receive his Gold Jacket and his the bronze bust.

    I started a Larry Brown for Hall Of Fame Facebook page. It seems now everyday I keep getting more fans to like the page and sign up with the page. I know I have to put more up on the page but since having moved, I haven’t seen Larry in about a year. I encourage his fans to take a look at the page. I have some incredible photos that display his athleticism and his dedication to not only the NFL but also to the organization he played with for 7 years, the Redskins – Hail To The Redskin – Larry Brown. A Hall Of Fame candidate should also be a positive role model and when I look at some of the role models young people have today it’s disappointing. Larry definitely has not been disappointing in that role and he will continue to uphold the standards a role model should be.

    Inducting Larry into the Hall would be another achievement he can hold with pride and will only add to his desire to continue building his role model image to the fans he inspired to achieve and to future generations of people in need of a true leader, role model and hero.

  8. Elle Bee
    May 4, 2016

    Without question one of the best and most underrated NFL running backs of all time! No way the Redskins could have made it to Super Bowl XII without the power, heart, and toughness of Larry Brown! In addition to being named the 1972 MVP of the league and a 4x Pro Bowl Player…I don’t know any other football player in the NFL to achieve such success with a hearing disability! That is an accomplishment in itself! Larry’s induction into the HOF is way overdue!

  9. Ron Levin
    May 4, 2016

    Larry Brown was the heart and soul of the Redskins. He would get you that all important first down by rushing or receiving time and time again. And he could smell the goal line He brought the Redskins a toughness and determination that was sorely lacking in the Redskins. I started following in the late 1950’s. He took the pressure off of Jurgensen and Kilmer so we finally had a balanced attack. The Redskins finally held on to the ball and teams had to play hard to beat us. This is because of Larry. There is a famous story about the owner’s meetings which Redskins owner Edward Bennett Williams attended. All the other owners would mock him and tease him greeting him with a melodramatic greeting of “Edddddiieee”. That changed after Larry Brown arrived. He had the attitude and desire to make the Redskins WINNERS.
    Of course Vince Lombardi and George Allen had something to do with that, but Larry willed them to victory. And this guy could block and did not fumble. It was because of Larry that other teams feared the Redskins. His numbers alone are reason enough for him to be in The Hall Of Fame. He also deserves to be because of his toughness and clutch professionalism After each great play by Larry, my brothers and I would turn to each other, nodding, and simply say, “Larry Brown”.

  10. Jeff
    May 5, 2016

    Redskins fan here. Love Larry Brown. Would have been a Hall of Famer had injuries not done him in. That said, NOT a Hall of Famer in my opinion (I think I’d take Chuck Foreman ahead of him as a senior, and he’s borderline).

  11. Mary Karanikas Ivins
    May 5, 2016

    To bachslunch and Jeff, it’s now how many years Larry played (although) Larry played enough years to qualify for the HOF. The two of you are not focusing on the fact that he was the first over 1,000 yard rusher for the Skins or he was able to be coached by Vince Lombardi or that the Skins unofficially have retired his jersey number. Also you have to understand that professionals in the same profession have a lot of respect for each other and no one player brags about themselves. The fans are the people who generate the hostility and the comparisons.

    I have had conversations with a Hall Of Gamer and told him that he was the best to ever play his position. He told me it wasn’t fair to say that considering all of the others who played the position just as great as he did.

    If you told Chuck Foreman he deserves to be in and Larry doesn’t, he just might surprise you by telling you, that’s not a fair comparison and he may not like your opinion knowing the two of you are actually on the outside looking in. Believe it or not these athletes have respect for each other despite what you may think.

    You are more focused on Larry’s knees. Every running back at one time or another had been plagued with varying injuries.

  12. bachslunch
    May 7, 2016

    Mary: am having a hard time understanding your point. Played for Vince Lombardi? Lots of players did so who aren’t HoFers. Retired number? The ‘Skins have only one official retired number, Sammy Baugh’s, and Brown’s is one that’s considered unofficially retired along with non-HoFers Joe Theismann, Monte Coleman, and Dave Butz — plus many other teams have retired numbers for folks who have no HoF case such as Dwight Clark, Charlie Krueger, Stan Mauldin,, J.V. Cain, Chuck Hughes, Steve Bartkowski, Brian Piccolo. Jerome Brown, Mack Lee Hill, and Stone Johnson. First 1000 yard rusher for the ‘Skins? Johnny Morris’s 93 pass receptions in 1964 would stand as the all-time NFL record (though not NFL and AFL combined) for 20 years, yet he’s not in the HoF, nor should he be. And I don’t at all get the relevance about player bragging and opinions about each other and supposed non-player hostility. What I’m focused on is Brown’s career and potential HoF argument, which I addressed above.

  13. Kevin Kennedy
    May 7, 2016

    It has amazed me for many decades that Larry has not already been inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. I guess it is partly because Larry is not a loud personal self promoter unlike many others that have not had the career and life that Larry has had and still made it into the Hall of Fame. I was a teenager when Larry first stepped onto the field. I watch how he dramatically and almost single handedly transformed my hometown team from the lowest level right up to the top. He was so much fun to watch. He darted through the big lineman time and time again and propelled the Redskins to victory. Everyone watching knew the play call, Larry Brown eight, Larry Brown left or Larry Brown up the middle. He was an amazing person to watch. We all know that Larry took a toll on his body for what he did. The toll on his knees and his body may have taken him out of football but it did not take him out of our hearts or the community. I can tell you as a person that met Larry 18 years ago that he is just as selfless in the community as he was in the field. I have been fortunate to be a friend of Larry’s, we have worked side by side for years raising large sums of money for Special Olympics, Lions Clubs and those in need. Larry quietly shows up at every event and works hard to make sure those in need get the support that they need. He is one of a kind. The NFL is more than the games played on the field as they say, they are about the community. Larry’s contributions on the field are great enough to get him into the Hall of Fame. His contributions off the field, show that he continues to be one of the greatest NFL Ambassador’s and player that we have had in football. If the fans were the ones voting, Larry would have been in the Hall of Fame decades ago. He is a great athlete and a great guy, what more does he have to do to entitle him to this honor that he deserves?

  14. Kris Nicholoff
    May 7, 2016

    This continued dialogue sure is a nice opportunity to share thoughts about these great football players. Somethings that come to my mind are the 14 game season and fewer indoor stadiums during those years. Often times games were played on dirt baseball infields. There was an immeasurable toughness that I can still vividly picture in Larry Brown. What I enjoyed most about him was that he was truly a Lombardi type of running back. Great rusher, great pass catcher, and just as important, a great blocker. Blocking is so vital, and when it’s done well by a running back who already possesses great running and catching ability, it’s a win win win. Yes, Larry Brown should be in the National Football League’s Hall of Fame.

  15. chuck Graham
    May 8, 2016

    I watched Larry Brown his whole career and has never been a running back with more heart on the football field he was always ready to play and never gave up that’s what we look for in a hall of famer! Someone who is the best of the best whenever he is on the field somehow not having the football writer’s giving his do is a shame for the real football fan and Larry Brown he should be inducted in the hall of fame ASAP and be recognized as one of the great running backs of all time

  16. Gary
    May 10, 2016

    Larry had a dominant 4 years but was also productive in other ways after the incredible 4 year run. As mentioned in the article Larry contributed as a receiver and if you watch the highlight reels from Mike Thomas’ rookie of the year season you will notice who was doing the blocking. Larry can be seen wiping people out in those clips. I can’t think of another star running back that was a great blocking back after injuries hurt their production. I believe the Hall is for “football players” and not statistics. Statistics don’t measure heart and heart is what makes great players. I know it is hard today for younger folks to understand because they are not used to the two back set but backs in the past had to do much more that they do today. Larry helped Charlie Harraway have a pretty good year the year Larry won the MVP. Also when comparing numbers let’s remember Larry had the numbers he had in a 14 game season when he sat the last 2 games of the year to be ready for the playoffs. Those are 12 game numbers.

  17. Chenny
    May 10, 2016

    I blocked for Larry in high school. He was fearless fast and knew football. Larry is a runner who was fear like Jim Taylor, Jim Brown and Earl Campbell. No one wanted to tackle Larry. Washington rode him to the Super Bowl. HOF player

  18. JCrowther
    May 16, 2016

    I, honestly, am stunned that Larry is not in the Hall of Fame. During the span of his career, he was the best player on the Redskins and, arguably, the best player in the league. Sad fact is that its typically he who barks loudest that gets the recognition. I am 100% behind a grassroots push to help him attain his rightful place in Canton.

  19. Mike
    May 17, 2016

    I believe Larry brown should be in. You have to remember it was a different era back then as it was for TD. A thousand yard rusher was a big deal then. Larry was one of the main reasons the redskins got to the super bowl and in my opinion should have won it if Sunny J was their QB.
    So when you look at larrys career I think he’s over due. If you ask his teammates I know they would agree. He belongs in Canton.

  20. Kay Woodruff
    May 17, 2016

    I’ve known Larry since he was drafted by the Redskins, I’ve been very fortunate to count Larry, his brothers and his mom as close and dear friends. His time has come to be inducted into the Canton Hall of Fame. After looking at the Facebook page created by Mary Ivins which detailed Larry’s numerous awards and recognitions, I noted that the list did not include at least two honors from 2015. Larry was an honorary co-captain (with Clarence Scott) for the Kansas State Annual Purple & White game. Larry and Clarence were drafted by the NFL after graduation from K State, Larry by the Redskins, Clarence by the Cleveland Browns. Also in 2015, Larry was inducted into the Pittsburgh City League All Sports Hall of Fame. Larry Brown never missed an opportunity to be a role model to youngsters in the Pittsburgh and Montgomery County Maryland areas. In all the years Larry played football, in all the years since, never was he associated with anything or anyone that brought unwarranted notoriety or anything negative to him, his family, or his teammates. His character, morals, integrity and honesty have been stellar on and off the field, all his life. He richly deserves to be nominated and inducted into the Football Hall of Fame.

  21. Al Gardiner
    July 7, 2016

    Your contest in May to nationally determine which running back is not in the Hall of Fame, but should be, was a real eye opener. I know my comments are late, but I have never responded to any media whatsoever whether it be online, print, or talk show, and after 66 years it took me awhile to get the courage. So when I read the results of your poll, it was very gratifying to know that not just die hard Redskin fans think Larry Brown belongs in the Hall of Fame, but the rest of the country does too. Your poll was not close, as Larry beat his closest competitor, Chuck Foreman, by more than 2 to 1. Here is why I believe it is finally time to get Larry Brown into the Hall of Fame:

    As a native of Washington DC, I vividly remember my father remaining a loyal fan throughout the 50’s and 60’s without any winning tradition, much less back to back winning seasons. The Redskins were awful and many tell me that George Marshall, the owner, was to blame. Regardless, that losing culture was about to change with the arrival of Vince Lombardi and Larry Brown. The combination of George Allen and Larry Brown finished what Larry and Vince started. Sure Sonny, Billy, and the Over the Hill Gang contributed, but remove Larry Brown from that team and the winning tradition never happens…he was that important. The fact that a single athlete could erase decades of losing and not only change a team, but a fan base as well, should merit Hall of Fame consideration. Most fans do not understand that losing was a way of life for a football crazed town that had experienced decades of frustration. Larry Brown changed that, and not only taught the team how to win, but through his skill and work ethic (remember how frequently George Allen ran him…and how long his pounded body took to just get up after being tackled?), also taught a town what it felt like to win. Larry electrified the home town and gave Redskin fans the joy of understanding the “thrill of victory”. That tradition remains today. Obviously, from the results of your poll, other fans have similar thoughts concerning what Larry Brown meant to the Redskins.

    I do not see the need to talk much about Larry’s stats. We all know he is on the Hall of Fame bubble….mainly because of a short career, but I do not believe that you make a selection based just on his running career. So, what are the intangibles, if any, that could propel an athlete into Hall Of Fame status? As mentioned, Larry’s contribution to his team, town, and fans should merit consideration, but the real game changer is the fact that Larry actually played any sport at all. What many fans do not realize is that Larry Brown is partially deaf. He carried that burden in secret for fear that no coach, at any level, would even give him a chance. He waited for his lineman to move. He could not hear the count. Can you imagine how difficult that was? There has been only one other athlete in a major sport that achieved measurable success while playing with a disability equal to Larry’s. That athlete, Jim Abbott, pitched in major league baseball despite a withered (basically no arm) arm. Although a good pitcher, Jim never achieved stardom in baseball similar to what Larry achieved in football. For the record, there has been no athlete in history, other than Larry Brown, to achieve greatness while suffering from such a major disability. Larry’s disability is so debilitating that he was selected by former president George H.W. Bush to advocate and represent all disabled individuals who aspire to play sports for the National Council on Disability.

    In summation, Larry’s statistics alone are Hall of Fame worthy, but factor in that he achieved greatness while playing with a severe disability puts him in a class by himself. Mr Gosselin, as a member of the senior Hall of Fame nominating committee, you have the format to start Larry’s nominating process. Thank you for your consideration.

    • Mary Karanikas Ivins
      July 8, 2016

      Thank you so much for stating your case. I have a Larry Brown for Hall Of Fame webpage on facebook you should look at. I have been behind Larry for the Hall for a while now. He is a sensational person, has a wonderful disposition, is great with kids (Check out his book, “I’ll Always Get Up,” it can probably be found on as a used copy. He tells everything about his upbringing in Pittsburgh to the day Vince Lombardi looked into why he was coming off the line a second or two too slow. It’s a fantastic read. I think Larry’s fans need to stand behind him and make this happen.

  22. Tim C.
    July 25, 2016

    I think to compare Brown to Sayers(running wise) can be misleading. They were 2 different style of
    of runners. Sayers had an elusive style of running while Brown would run through you, if need be (he seemed to embrace the contact). Neither style is wrong as long they get the job done.

    You wouldn’t begrudge Earl Campbell,John Riggins,Larry Csonka,Franco Harris,Jerome Bettis,and the likes for not making defenders miss like Barry Sanders would. Neither does it make them any less HOFers. But when you consider Brown’s physical size (5’11”,195 lbs) with his style of play. That’s just as spectacular as Sayers elusiveness and Hall of Fame worthy. To me it was like watching Earl Campbell in a smaller body(in a era when there was no such things as unnecessary roughness or cheap shots).

    It should also be noted that in 1972, Brown came in 2nd to O.J. Simpson by 35 yds for the NFL Rushing Title while sitting out the last 2 games of the regular season (Redskins had already secured The Division ) which coincidentally the last game of the regular season was against O.J.’s Bills. He could’ve easily won his 2nd rushing title that year, no doubt (he could’ve gained 36 yds over 2 games blind folded ).

    Looking at Brown’s stats for 1973 you could easily conclude that his production fell off due to having ” no more left in the tank “. Until you do a little research and find that the offensive line suffered key injuries that year while both QB’s were playing extremely hampered. Still Brown in game 14 of the regular season against The Eagles ran for 150 yds on 26 carries (5.8 yds per carry) 3 rec for 105 yds (35 yds per catch)and scored 4 touchdowns. The next week he torched the Minnesota Vikings (in Minnesota) for 115 yds on 29 carries and 1 touchdown. Brown also led the NFL in Touchdowns in ’73 with 14 (8 rushing, 6 receiving). 1973 wasn’t a unproductive or lack luster year for Larry Brown. It should’ve been considered the year he cemented his place in Canton (Hall of Fame).

    “Going into week 9, after 2 consecutive setbacks, many of The Faithful in RFK Stadium fear that injuries in the offensive line had slowed or sidelined too many key players; and without a running game The Redskins were no longer real Super Bowl contenders …”
    – John Facenda
    Redskins ’73 (NFL Films)

    “…He became the only active player (in 1973) to combine for over 1,000 yds in 5 straight years and in carrying for 860 yds he became one of only 3 men to rush for more than 5,000 yds in 5 seasons. Which ALONE is enough to secure Larry Brown’s place in The Hall Of Fame. His Courage and His Character Have ALREADY HONORED him that well.”
    – John Facenda
    Redskins ’73 (NFL Films)

  23. Tim C.
    July 31, 2016

    I think the excuses/reasons given for Larry Brown not being in The Hall of Fame are really “smoke screen cliques” to hide the fact most aren’t impressed with his rushing totals because they don’t appear to be as impressive as today’s (80’s,90’s,2000’s) running back numbers. Which today’s numbers are very deceiving due to 16 game seasons,325-400 carries per season,rule changes,playing on turf,often playing indoors,and very little bad weather. Therefore,if you played more than a decade you could put up some humongous numbers compared to RB’s who’s careers were over before 1978; while having some pretty mediocre seasons.
    A prime example of this would be HOFer Marcus Allen, who played 16 seasons and rushed for 12,243 yds. That’s a average of 761.5 yds a seasons; but his numbers put him only 69 yds behind Jim Brown in career rushing; even though Brown averaged 1368 yds a season and 1007 yds ahead of O.J. Simpson; Simpson averaged 1021.5 yds a season. What happens is, some guys you may not have co sidered HOFers before, when you look at their career rushing yds and The Legends they’re close to or ahead of; you say ” They must be HOFers.” Which has, in my opinion, put some good RB’s in The Hall before some Great RB’s (Larry Brown being one of them. Who I believe should’ve gone in before or at least in the same time period as Larry Csonka, who was inducted in 1987).

    Here are some of the arguments against Brown being inducted:
    1) His career was too short – Brown doesn’t need any special exemptions to merit being inducted into The Hall. His numbers stand on their own. They just need to be looked at. He played 8 seasons,the same as Earl Campbell (who I believe was a 1st ballot HOFer), 1 more than Sayers (7) and 2 more than Doak Walker (6).

    2) Not as dynamic a runner as Sayers and Sayers was a World Class Kick Returner:
    I dealt w/ this argument in my 1st post. Larry Brown was not Gale Sayers (Finesse) and Sayers definitely wasn’t Larry Brown (Grit). But Brown was just as dynamic in his style of play as Sayers was in his. As for the Sayers being a World Class Returner argument and he was. I find that point interesting and also a non-factor for consideration because they’ve never put anyone in The Hall for that (not yet).

    3) The Position being overly represented in The Hall already:
    That’s just silly. It’s THE HALL OF FAME not STUDIO 54 or THE ROXY during The Disco Era. Where you look at those in line and choose; not on merit but on fashion and whether you already have too many in The Club with that look already.

    * As for the Don Perkins into Canton before Larry Brown comment: He (Perkins) played 8 seasons, rushed for more than 840 yds 1 time (945 yds in ’62) and had 1,000 yds combined rushing & receiving 3 times. REALLY! He was a reliable Back but nowhere close to Larry Brown.

    • Rasputin
      August 1, 2016

      If you’re referring to me, I think I just said Don Perkins is the best RB from the 60s not yet in. That said, Perkins is way more deserving of Canton than Brown, as touching as this organized campaign by his friends, family, and hardcore Redskins fans is.
      Perkins and Brown both played 8 years. Perkins has 6 Pro Bowls to Brown’s 4. Perkins has more rushing yards, 6,217 to 5,875. Perkins averaged more yards/carry and yards/game. Brown only averaged 3.8 yards/carry.
      In fact BROWN ONLY HAD 3 SEASONS WITH OVER 4 YARDS/CARRY. By contrast Perkins only had 2 where he averaged less than 4 yards/carry, and both those seasons were 3.9 y/c, higher than Brown’s career average. Granted Brown was used more, as both a runner and receiver, especially since the Cowboys employed more of a committee running attack and had a better passing game than Washington, but he wasn’t as good a RB as Perkins, nor as deserving of Canton. Frankly that yards/carry stat for someone who played as late as the 1970s should probably be disqualifying in this case. The only HoFer you mention in your post with the numbered list who averaged less than 4 yards/carry for his career was Floyd Little, and he averaged 3.9 y/c (more than Brown) and had 4 years with over 4 yards/carry, averaging 5 yards/carry in one of them. He also had 5 Pro Bowls. Brown was a good player but it’s silly to pretend he was as good, much less better, than all these superior players.

  24. Tim C.
    August 1, 2016

    Quite a few of the HOF RBs from or before Larry Brown’s era had 4 or 5 good seasons; that I believe made them HOFers. Which Larry Brown had those also. Here are some Stats of HOF RBs that compare to Larry Brown’s Stats: RUSHING –

    1) Earl Campbell (’78-’85) 8 seasons, 5 seasons over 1,000 yds, the other 3 (538,468,643)

    2) Gale Sayers (’65-’71) 7 seasons, – 5 seasons over 850 yds (2 of those over 1,000 yds) other 2 seasons (52 yds,38 yds)

    3) O.J. Simpson (’69-’79) 11 seasons – 5 great seasons over 1,100 yds, 6 seasons under 750 yds (697,488,742 – first 3 seasons) and (557,593,460 – last 3 seasons,2 of these ’78,’79 were 16 games)

    4) Floyd Little (’67-’75) 9 seasons – 4 seasons over 800 yds, one of those over 1,000 yds,the other 5 seasons under 750 yds (381,584,729,312,445)
    In his 4 best seasons (’70-’73) he rushed for 3,872 yds. Brown rushed for 4,149 yds over that time period (’70-’73). If you compare Little’s best 5 yrs rushing (’69-’73), Little rushed for 4,601 yds to Brown’s (’69-’73) 5,037 yds.
    Their Career Reception yds are close: Little (215 rec, 2,418 yds, 11.2 yd avg, 9 TDs) to Brown’s (238 rec, 2485 yds, 10.4 yd avg, 20 TDs) but Brown is still better.

    5) Larry Csonka (’68-’79) 11 seasons – 4 seasons over 850 yds, 3 of those over 1,000 yds (didn’t play in ’75) 7 seasons of 540,566,749,569,464,311,and in ’79 – 837 yds in 16 games (52.3 yds a game) which is why I don’t list it with other over 850 yds (14 game) seasons
    In Csonka’s 4 best rushing seasons ’70 -’73, he rushed for 4045 yds to Brown’s 4149 yds over same period (also sat out last 2 games in ’72). Also Brown totalled more receiving yds in 2 seasons (’72-’73 for 955 yds) than Csonka totalled for his whole career (820 yds), and Csonka’s been in The Hall for almost 30 years. I suppose Csonka gets in hugely in part for being a major part of The Perfect Season ’72 Dolphins and deservingly so. Rushing for a career best 1,117 yds (4th in NFL) but Brown rushed for 1,216 yds (2nd in NFL) while (to beat a dead horse) sitting out last 2 games, and winning NFL MVP Honors. Despite playing 11 seasons (3 more than Brown) Csonka only has 541 yds more total offense than Brown.

    6) Jim Taylor (’58-’67) 10 seasons – 5 seasons over 1000 yds, 3 seasons under 750 yds (didn’t count first 2 seasons under 750 yds because they were 12 game seasons)

    7) Marcus Allen (’82-’97) 16 seasons – 3 seasons over 1,000 yds, the other 13 seasons he reached 850 yds rushing once.

    * Larry Brown is the only RB to win the NFL MVP,from 1957-1979,to not be inducted to The HOF. The only other players to win The MVP in that 23 year period and not be inducted were 4 QBs (Earl Morrall,Roman Gabriel,John Brodie,and Bert Jones). A overwhelming number of MVPs have been inducted to The HOF.

    * Of all the HOF RBs to have played at least 5 seasons by 1978 (when league went to 16 games) only 5 of them had a 1,000 yds combined offense (rushing & receiving) for 5 straight seasons: Jim Taylor (seasons 3-7), Jim Brown (2-9), Lenny Moore (2-6), O.J. Simpson (4-8). Franco Harris has 6 straight seasons (seasons 3-8) but last 2 (’78 + ’79) were 16 game seasons; so he doesn’t qualify. Larry Brown makes number 5 (seasons 1-5). Of this Very Elite List (Harris included) none of them accomplished this feat in their first 5 seasons of their careers. Larry Brown (The only one listed not in The Hall of Fame) is the only one to accomplish it the first 5 seasons of his career. Some may say ” You didn’t include Kick Returns “. You’re right, but why should I? That’s not RB function and besides, as I stated before, The Hall has never shown any reverence for it. So why should it count against those who didn’t do it.
    With all that said, I must say, it’s a sad commentary that this man has not been inducted after all these years. It really smacks at the legitimacy of the institution. He is one of the greatest Running Backs (eye test & stat wise) to “Suit Up” for The NFL. Not only should they induct him immediately but they should apologize for neglecting his contributions all these decades. He should have NEVER made it to Senior Committee status. I hope and pray that they will do the right thing and induct LARRY BROWN INTO THE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME.

  25. Tim C.
    August 23, 2016

    When I look at HOF RB Paul Hornung (9 seasons, 1957 – 1966 w/ Green Bay) who was inducted in 1986, he was definitely a multi-purpose football player. He had 3711 yds rushing,1480 yds receiving,383 yds passing & 248 yds in kick returns, totalling 5822 yds. Which is still 53 yds short of Larry Brown’s rushing yds alone (5875 yds). Also HOF RB John Henry Johnson (13 seasons,1954 – 1966), inducted in 1987, had 928 yds more than Brown in career rushing (6,803 yds to Brown’s 5,875 yds) but when you compare overall yardage (Johnson -6,803 yds rushing,1,478 yds receiving & 65 yds punt & kick returns = 8,346 yds), Brown edges him out by 14 yds (Brown – 5,875 yds rushing & 2,485 yds receiving = 8,360 yds).

  26. William Thorpe
    May 9, 2017

    I wrote this when Floyd Little got inducted…

    (I thought I may have posted this before but didn’t see it)

    Larry Brown
    7 seasons
    4 pro-bowls
    2 first team all pro
    1 NFL MVP

    against his contemporaries…

    1 rushing title (1970)
    2 times led NFL in yards per game (1970,1972)
    1 time led NFL in TDs rush/rec (1973)
    1 time led yds from scrimmage (1972)


    top 5 in rushing attempts 5 straight years (69-73)
    top 5 in rush yds per game 4 straight years (69-72)
    top 10 yds from scrimmage 5 straight (69-73, top 2 three of those years)


    Floyd Little (senior committee selection 2010)

    9 seasons
    5 pro-bowls
    1 first team all pro
    0 NFL MVP

    1 rushing title (1971)
    2 times led NFL in yards per game (1969,1971)
    1 time led NFL in rushing TDs (1973)
    1 time led yds from scrimmage (1971)

    top 5 in rushing attempts twice (70,71)
    top 5 in rush yds per game 3 straight years (69-71)
    top 10 yds from scrimmage 4 years (69-71,73)

    Beyond statistics…

    I watched Larry Brown play and he was DYNAMIC.

    If not Larry Brown, why Floyd Little?
    Their careers mirror each other uncannily, with a slight statistical edge plus an NFL MVP award going to Brown.

    The senior committee is for the players that slipped through the cracks, and as the eras change, fall out of sight. Little got his well deserved induction. Brown deserves it as well.

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