Running Backs Made Me Love The Game of Football

Right before waking up from a good sleep I dreamed about reminiscing with my cousins about a time in my life when I thought that if you were considered a good football player, then you must have been a running back. I got a good laugh out of that dream because I was sincere about that sentiment. Being the fact that I’m a Texas boy it’s no surprise that my favorite 2 players were Earl Campbell and Tony Dorsett when I was a boy. As a matter of fact, those were the only two players that I knew. When I saw pictures of Oilers great Elvin Bethea I only knew him as the giant with a gap tooth smile that I called Earl Campbell’s brother. That was his name, Earl Campbell’s brother. My love for the running back ran so deep that the only reason that I started hating the Cowboys is because they got rid of Dorsett and hitched their wagons to Hershel Walker. That disdain still remains to this very moment. I became a Bills fan in the 90s based strictly on the fact that I wanted them to beat the hell out of the Cowboys in Superbowls 27 & 28. As history tells it, I ain’t get my way. Anyway, I would like to discuss some of my favorite rock toaters briefly. 1.Jim Brown… Jim Brown is the MFN MAN!!! He’s still the baddest man on the planet. All great RBs are measured up against this standard bearer. Jim rode with Ali and against Kobe when it came to social issues and didn’t back down from it either. Mr Brown is the Muddy Waters of Running Backs. 2. Gayle Sayers… I remember reading Bill Cosby writing about how Sayers started to run one way and broke his body in two pieces to elude defenders. One side of his body was on one side of the field and the other half was on the opposite side. Can you imagine how my elementary school imagination processed this info? LOL. I took it literally like when I heard that MC Hammer could levitate and make his body flap in the wind like a bed sheet in a summer breeze. Sayers was amazing, but too bad that injuries cut his career short. He would return though in the form of Marcus Allen in my view. The Universe always corrects itself. 3. The Juice… OJ is the Rick James and Bobby Brown of Football(Without the Cocaine I presume). He’s remembered more so for his post career antics rather than his greatness at his craft. Nobody could F with the Juice or El Jugo as he’s known in So Cal(not really). He went for 2000 before the 16 game schedule was thought of. He even played in a movie that I loved as child called Goldie and the Boxer( His acting was ok but he was a master pill packer. 4.Earl The Bull Killer Campbell. I already spoke of my man crush on 34. He is Houston Pro Football. Too bad all of his records rest in Nashville now. I love The Earl like I love the Dream and Andre Johnson is in Close Proximity. Glad these dudes repped my city aka the TINE! 5. Sweetness… Didnt see much of Sweetness growing up because I came along at his tail end but film don’t lie. Walter Payton was a polished black Lamborghini on the field against beat up pintos and yugos. He was an offensive fighter as an offensive player. Beautifully violent! RIP 6.Eric Dickerson… Speed, Speed, Speed, and Speed. Grace and ease are two other words that come to mind. He outran everybody effortlessly. I would have loved to see him and Prime Time in a rundown situation. 7. Jamal Anderson… I was amazed at how nimble this big man was. He reminded me of former Oiler RB Lorenzo White but better and more decisive. He didn’t dance as much as White but his feet were amazingly light for a man his size. Another casualty of career ending injuries. 8 & 9 Emmit Smith and Terell Davis. I couldn’t appreciate how good these two were until they were done playing. Neither was flashy or explosively fast but they were fast when it counted. They were complete backs that could block, catch, and had the vision to make the right cut. Both are victims of being on great teams when it comes to the credit they deserve as all-time greats. I put Thurman Thomas, LT, Fred Taylor, and Curtis Martin in this category too when it comes to complete backs that get slept on for whatever reason. 10. Barry Sanders… Enough Said. He’s the Dominique Wilkins of the NFL. Human Highlight Film. Gone too early, but on his own terms and I respect the hell out of that. Like Jim Brown. 11 & 12… Bo Jackson & All Day Peterson… Like I said before, the Universe makes up for jipping us like when we only got a sniff of what Bo was gonna do to the record books before getting shelved by a low to no impact hit. Does anyone remember the guys name that Bo drug before tearing up his hip socket? NO!!! But God gave us Peterson to make up for the rip off. I was amazed at how deep he lined up in the OU backfield and even more amazed at how quickly he reached top speed. This man is unreal and when I heard that he considered playing at Texas I foamed at the mouth because I imagined him and VY in the same backfield!!!! Multiple National Titles. That would have been unfair. He has not disappointed in the pros either with the exception of early career fumble-itis. I know I left some top flight guys off of this list but these are just some my favorite guys to watch sense the days of work horse backs are fading due to the evolution of the NFL game. Guys like Edge James, Marshall Faulk, Otis Anderson, Priest Holmes, Ricky Williams pre weed sabbatical, Curt Warner, Eddie George, The Bus, Beast Mode and soooo many others deserve major major props in keeping my love for the running back position alive. Shouts to Mojo Drew, 23 Foster, Neo Soul(DeAngelo) Williams, Brick Wall Ben Tate, Speed of Light Jamal Charles, Shady Shake Ya McCoy and all the chain movers. 12 Salutes U Jim Brown

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