Good Evening, Broncos fans! By now, all of us who were around for the heyday of Terrell Davis's Denver career have either delivered or been presented with the case for his HOF worthiness.
We like to stress his status as the greatest postseason runner in NFL history, but the most common ammunition is that TD was absolutely dominant, and for a period, the best player in the NFL. He's got the hardware to back that up: the SB MVP, the league MVP, and the 2,000-yard season. Only TD comes to mind as the best (eligible) player on multiple SB-winning teams to not be in the HOF.
Generally, the argument against his inclusion boils down to the supposed brevity of his career, or the success of subsequent Denver running backs in the Shanahan/Gibbs zone-blocking system.
What do the stats say?
We again turn to Chase Stuart and his excellent Football Perspective blog for edification.
In order to cull the statistical noise of extended careers and decreased roles (which serve to favor longevity over greatness, or quantity over quality), Stuart eschews gross career totals for individual games with over 50, 75, and 100 yards.
Simply put, he's measuring for dominance.
At the 50-yard threshold, Terrell Davis is tops among running backs since 1960, at a staggering 87%, just ahead of Jim Brown.
Up at the 75-yard minimum, TD is tied with Brown and Adrian Peterson, at 66%.
And above the century mark, the Broncos great is tied with fellow 2000-yard club member Barry Sanders at 48%; together, they trail Arian Foster's 50% figure.
Since 1960, only 15 backs have had more 100-yard games that TD did, despite his shorter career. Of the HOF-eligible players among those 15, only Jerome Bettis hasn't yet been inducted.
Sure, we're preaching to the choir. But next time you find yourself in a debate over Terrell Davis's HOF worthiness, you'll have some more arrows in your quiver.
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