This season’s NFL talent pool has been surprisingly rich in young quarterback talent (Matt Ryan and Matt Cassel for example) but I have derived much pleasure from the notable running back talent this season. It seems that NFL teams have rediscovered the benefit of a great running game. The NFL’s good teams are pounding the rock; in some cases using two backs with different styles, daring defenses to stop their two-headed monsters.
I enjoy watching a good running back break through for big yardage or power running their way into the end zone. It pleases me to watch a guy like Brandon Jacobs run over defensive players and leave them laying in his wake. Yeah, run, baby, run! Running plays may not be as flashy as big pass plays, but it is this football fan’s simple and guilty pleasure.
This season we have been rewarded with some truly exciting running plays and explosive running backs doing their thing on the field.
My favorite running backs this season are:
- Adrian Peterson, Vikings (Second Year)
- Matt Forte, Bears (Rookie)
- Derrick Ward, Giants (Four years)
- Brandon Jacobs, Giants (Four years)
- Chris Johnson, Titans (Rookie)
- LenDale White, Titans (Three years)
- Clinton Portis, Redskins (Seven years)
- Thomas Jones, Jets (Nine years)
- Frank Gore, Niners (Four years)
- Ryan Grant, Packers (Two years)
- Marshawn Lynch, Bills (Two years)
- Ronnie Brown, Miami (Four years)
Every team mentioned here is either in playoff contention or at minimum playing better than expected, (Bills and Niners), due in large measure to a ground game that can pound the ball. Some of these backs are veterans, who seem to have been rejuvenated under a new coach or a new system, i.e., Clinton Portis.
The Super Bowl picks at this point in the season, the Giants and the Titans, both have excellent running attacks. It seems as if the old adage about defenses winning championships also applies to teams with great running games. Given that both the Titans and the Giants are sporting all of these necessary ingredients, they seem assured of at least a shot at the Big Dance in February.
Run, baby, run.
By Ivette Ricco