Who’s the best RB not in the Hall of Fame?


Roger Craig photo courtesy of S.F. 49ers

Courtesy of Indianapolis Colts

(Terrell Davis photo courtesy of Erik Bakke/Denver Broncos)
(Roger Craig photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers)
(Alan Ameche photo courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts)

Talk of Fame Network

LaDainian Tomlinson becomes a first-time eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the Class of 2017 and figures to have a clear path to enshrinement. There would seem to be little resistance for a player who ranks fifth on the all-time rushing list – the only back in the Top 10 not currently enshrined. He was a two-time NFL rushing champion and a member of the 2000s’ all-decade team.

But the path has not been as smooth for Terrell Davis. Or Roger Craig. Or Chuck Foreman. All were elite backs during their eras who haven’t been able to drum up enough support yet for a bust in Canton. And that will be our poll question this week — who’s the best running back not enshrined in the Hall of Fame?

Here are your six options:

Alan Ameche. The Horse played only six NFL seasons with the Baltimore Colts but was voted to four Pro Bowls, won two NFL championships and was named to the 1950s’ all-decade team. He also won an NFL rushing title in 1955 and scored the winning touchdown on a short plunge in overtime in the 1958 NFL title game against the New York Giants. He rushed for 4,045 career yards and 40 touchdowns.

Larry Brown. An unheralded eighth-round draft pick out of Kansas State, Brown wound up playing eight seasons and was named one of the 70 greatest Redskins of all-time. He won an NFL rushing title in 1970, an NFC rushing crown in 1972 and was voted to four Pro Bowls. He also played in a Super Bowl. Brown rushed for 5,875 career yards and 40 touchdowns.

Redskins Cowboys Football
(Photo courtesy of the Washington Redskins)

Roger Craig. The rare player who excelled at both halfback and fullback in his career. He began his career as a blocker and receiver in the first half of the 1980s, then moved to halfback and a featured role in the second half of the decade. In 1985, Craig became the first back in NFL history to collect 1,000 yards both rushing and receiving. He won three Super Bowls, went to four Pro Bowls and was named to the 1980s’ all-decade team. He rushed for 8,189 career yards and 71 TDs.

Terrell Davis. For a three-year window, Davis was as outstanding as any back who has ever played the game. He rushed for 1,538 yards and 13 touchdowns in 1996, 1,750 yards and 15 scores in 1997 and 2,008 yards and 21 TDs in 1998. He won AFC rushing titles in 1997-98 and the NFL crown in 1998. He went to the Pro Bowl all three years, and his Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl in 1997-98. Davis was named the NFL MVP in 1998, but four games into the 1999 season, he tore up his knee and was never the same back. He played two more seasons, appearing in just 13 games.

Chuck Foreman. One of several Vikings whose Hall-of-Fame chances were hurt by Minnesota’s failure to win a Super Bowl in the 1970s. Foreman was a member of teams that lost three Super Bowls. But what a terrific and complete back. He was the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1973, led the NFL in touchdowns in both 1974 and 1976 and led the league in receiving with 73 catches in 1975. He rushed for 5,950 career yards and 53 TDs and caught 350 career passes for 3,156 yards and 23 more scores.

ForemanRun
(Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings)

Edgerrin James. The Colts made a controversial choice of James in 1999, selecting him with the fourth overall pick ahead of Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams. But James cashed immediate dividends, leading the NFL in rushing in each of his first two seasons. A knee injury in October of the 2001 season denied him that chance at a three-peat, but he returned from the injury to have five more 1,000-yard seasons. He went to four Pro Bowls and was named to the 2000s’ all-decade team. His 12,246 career rushing yards place him 11th all-time.

edgerrinjamesone

(Photo courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts)

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22 Comments

  1. Rob
    March 16, 2016
    Reply

    Why isnt Ricky Watters in the polling?

  2. bachslunch
    March 16, 2016
    Reply

    Assuming LaDanian Tomlinson goes in first ballot, the best RB not in would probably be Edgerrin James. He gained over 12K lifetime yards (everyone over that threshold is in) which demonstrates sufficient productive longevity, plus he had a solid peak early on. Terrell Davis also has a reasonable argument if you value his huge peak value and don’t mind the short career — he’s not far off from folks like Gale Sayers and Earl Campbell, and I’m okay with him getting in, which will likely happen soon. Roger Craig and Rickey Watters were very good do-everything types; I won’t complain if they get in but wouldn’t consider it a crime if neither gets elected. Larry Centers was an excellent receiver out of the backfield, but doesn’t really have much of a case. Given that RB is probably the most over-represented position in the HoF, it’s hard to see a case for any Seniors at the position. Larry Brown and Chuck Foreman are solid short career players who really aren’t quite HoFers. Alan Ameche inexplicably made the all 50s team and has no case; his career is good but very short and not distinguished enough — he’s best remembered for scoring the winning TD in the 1958 NFL Championship game. There are other fringe guys like Don Perkins, Ken Willard, and Rick Casares who also fall short.

  3. John Deibel
    March 16, 2016
    Reply

    If any of those guys are Hall of Famers then Ralph Neely should have gone in a decade ago.

    • Rick Gosselin
      March 16, 2016
      Reply

      Lots of talented players have fallen through the cracks for whatever reason. Neely was one of three all-decade OTs from the 1960s but the only one not enshrined in Canton (Bob Brown, Forrest Gregg). And Neely has never even been a finalist.

  4. bachslunch
    March 17, 2016
    Reply

    OT Ralph Neely’s postseason honors are kind of thin at 3/2/60s. I’d sooner see Jim Tyrer (10/9/allAFL) or Winston Hill (1/8/allAFL, grades out excellently at Crippen’s website at 7.9) voted in first.

  5. David L. Caffee
    March 17, 2016
    Reply

    Larry Brown one of the Best RB to ever Play this Game. He should have been put into the Hall of fame. There’s something wrong with the system, and it need to be fix

  6. March 17, 2016
    Reply

    1,530 attempts. 5,875 yards. 35 rushing touchdowns.

    238 receptions. 2,485 yards. 20 receiving touchdowns.

    Four-time Pro Bowler. Two time First-Team All-Pro.

    One NFL Most Valuable Player award.

    That’s the résumé of Redskins great running back Larry Brown.

    Yet, for whatever reason, Brown — unlike the great playmakers before him and since — is yet to receive a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

    Many feel Brown’s all-around contributions to the game — at a time when having a versatile running back who could run and catch the ball just wasn’t the norm — are the greatest among those listed.

    Brown, who wore No. 43 for the burgundy and gold, was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player for the 1972-73 season, and appeared in four consecutive Pro Bows from 1969-1972.

    He was also one of the centerpieces of the Redskins’ 1972 squad that won the NFC championship and advanced to the Super Bowl under future Hall of Fame head coach George Allen.

  7. Anthony
    March 17, 2016
    Reply

    1,530 attempts. 5,875 yards. 35 rushing touchdowns.
    238 receptions. 2,485 yards. 20 receiving touchdowns.
    Four-time Pro Bowler. Two time First-Team All-Pro.
    One NFL Most Valuable Player award.
    Carried his team to it’s first Super Bowl without a Pro Bowl/HOF quarterback!
    With out a doubt!

    Larry Brown!

  8. Sam Goldenberg
    March 17, 2016
    Reply

    I agree that Terrell Davis can be compared to Gale Sayers and Earl Campbell as RBs whose careers were cut by injury. However, here I think you have to rely on the eye test, and although I like Davis he was not nearly in the same class as Sayers or Campbell.

  9. Anonymous
    March 17, 2016
    Reply

    Larry BROWN without a doubt deserves to be in the Hall–he was the hardest hitting running back I ever saw and I saw most of them over a 40 year period!

    • Billy
      October 23, 2017
      Reply

      I agree he was one of the best running backs ever

  10. Doc SINROD
    March 17, 2016
    Reply

    Larry BROWN without a doubt deserves to be in the Hall–he was the hardest hitting running back I ever saw and I saw most of them over a 40 year period!

  11. nobodi
    March 17, 2016
    Reply

    I have been reading the above posted comments and remembered that people will all submit their regional favorites. They fail to under stand that they(all) have a snowballs chance of ever being submitted. The money people decide, it would be a perfect world if it wasn’t the deciding factor in any of the listed. If it was possible then I would vote for the hardest hitting fullback who Vince Lombardi switched to halfback, who would stick his nose in the blitz persons face. He is more deserving than the rest just by his Head Coaches alone. As his book title states “I always get up”. End of story.

  12. Sam Goldenberg
    March 17, 2016
    Reply

    Seen all these RBs and all were very good backs, but Hall of Famers I think not. Twist my arm and would have to agree Larry Brown is the closest. However, as tough and hard a runner as he was I just think he falls a little short when Hall of Fame is considered.

  13. WT44
    March 18, 2016
    Reply

    Floyd Little is in. Not Larry Brown?

    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)

    consistency…

    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)

    Comparison…

    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.

    Their careers mirror each other uncannily, with a slight statistical edge plus an NFL MVP award going to Brown.

  14. bachslunch
    March 20, 2016
    Reply

    Floyd Little is arguably the worst RB in the HoF (it’s either him or Paul Hornung) and to my thinking an outlier and a mistake. Comparing one’s favorite snub such as Larry Brown to someone who doesn’t belong is not a good argument.

  15. Larry Mayman
    March 20, 2016
    Reply

    Larry Brown is the most deserving RB

  16. bachslunch
    March 20, 2016
    Reply

    At least if you’re willing to take the word of one or two spammers with myriad multiple accounts, I guess…..

  17. Mary Karanikas Ivins
    March 30, 2016
    Reply

    Larry Brown all the way. I started a Larry Brown for Hall Of Fame Facebook page and posted the how to get him into the Hall. The page is getting attention now. He’s a wonderful guy with all the best all around qualifications in every category that a player should meet. I thought Chuck Foreman was a boxer, I guess not. Alan Ameche, is He Son’s son? Larry Brown is more well known. Come on people, I know it’s his turn. Let’s do it!!!!

  18. Mary
    March 30, 2016
    Reply

    Larry Brown by far. He exceeds the requirements in every category for being enshrined into the Hall. He has integrity, intellugence, wisdom and is a walking book of knowledge when it comes to the running back spot.

    Now, is the Ameche guy related to Don and the Foreman guy, I thought he was an i xer, maybe I’m thinking of George.

    I’m my opinion, Larry is more of a household name than the others and I personally know he has been waiting a long, long time, too long in fact.

  19. Mary
    March 30, 2016
    Reply

    I meant is the Foreman guy a boxer maybe I’m thinking of George. I meant to say in my opinion, Larry is more of a household name and he’s played in an NFC Championship game and a Super Bowl, also his first year he played for none other than the late, great Vince Lombardi!

  20. Tim Smith
    May 7, 2017
    Reply

    I’m from Pittsburgh…..need I say more……….But……..Mr.Brown Was My Hero Growing Up.He And Jack Lambert Gave Me Goosebumps When I Watched Them Play……

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