PART OF A DYING BREED: THE PAIN OF PLAYING RUNNING BACK

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Updated: September 29, 2012
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The ground troops have been replaced with strategic drone attacks. Yes, the NFL like the USA military has developed a deadly aerial attack.

As a result, the running back position is losing some of its value in the league, which has produced legends like: Jim Brown, Walter Payton, Emmitt Smith, Eric Dickerson, Earl Campbell and Barry Sanders, who could carry the football 25 times or more per game.

Now, it seem, as if, running backs like Aaron Peterson, Matt Forte, Aaron Foster, Maurice Jones Drew, and Ray Rice are part of a dying breed of runners, who can gain 1,200 yards or more.

With most NFL teams running some form of spread offense, the running back position has become more specialized. Which means, most teams have developed a three back system. This may include a back, which can run in between tackles. A back, whose main goal is to provide protection or blocking for the quarterback. And a back, who poses as a wide receiver on passing plays.

The role of the running back in the NFL, in fact, has also been reduced in order to limit the number of brutal blows a back has to endure throughout the long grueling 16 game schedule as well.

This can be proven by looking at the five top rushers in the league currently, all which have or are dealing with some type of  injury. Most notably, Maurice Jones Drew (Jaguars), who suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee in 2010, Adrian Foster (Texans), who has reoccurring knee injuries and the league’s current leading rusher Jamaal Charles of Kansas City, who has been dealing with a tore ACL in his left knee, which he hurt after playing in only two games last season.

To add more pain to injuries, the two other leading ground-getters will be sidelined this week, Buffalo’s C.J.Spiller, who injured his shoulder against the Cleveland Browns and Miami’s Reggie Bush, who injured his knee against the NY Jets.

Let’s not forget the average life expectancy of a NFL RB is only three years as the game itself becomes more violent with every tackle. Plus, a running back, who is 30 years old or older, is considered pass his prime in this cut-throat league.

With that said, consider the fact that, (Falcons) Mike Turner is 30; (Rams) Steven Jackson is 30, (49ers) Frank Gore is 29; and Broncos Willis McGahee is 30 also.

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