While I generally agree with Erik’s take, I feel my role here is to note that one of his arguments is all kinds of wrong:
Terrell Davis remains not even close to election. Yes, he got hurt young. He also had one of the greatest 4-year stretches in the history of running backs, playing a key role in 2 Super Bowl titles. Given the reality of NFL running backs, I don’t see that a devastating knee injury should disqualify him. It certainly didn’t disqualify Gale Sayers.
I’m sorry, Terrell Davis is nowhere near a Hall of Fame player. His candidacy is, if anything, being taken far too seriously:
- Four very good but hardly historic years at a low-impact position — that’s not a Hall of Famer. As for the Gale Sayers comparison, of Sayers’s 5 non-token years, two were exceptional and he performed at a historic level for 9 games in 1968, at a time in which running backs had a much greater impact on the game. Davis had more than 5 yards a carry exactly once. Is Larry Johnson a Hall of Famer? Chris Johnson? Priest Holmes, who had the same yards per carry as Davis in more attempts? How about Tiki Barber, who was better than Davis in a significantly longer career? The Hall of Fame is going to have to move to a skyscraper to hold the plaques if we’re going to induct modern every running back who had a flash of glory, and then try to induct the countless players who were better in much longer careers at more important positions.
- Yeah, he got hurt. So what? The Hall of Fame also isn’t big enough to hold every player who might possibly had a Hall of Fame career had he remained healthy. (Herb Score for Cooperstown!)
- While Davis is clearly not a Hall of Famer on the face of it, his case becomes even worse in context. Not only did he only exceed 5 yards a carry only once in a very short career, there’s the even greater problem that basically everybody who runs in Shanhan’s blocking scheme — including such immortals as Mike Anderson, Clinton Portis, and Steve Slaton — can be about as effective as Davis was. We can now add 6th round pick Alfred Morris, who had a season indistinguishable from a Davis season, to the list. Is he a Hall of Famer if he has a couple more years like that too?
Davis wasn’t even close to a Hall of Fame player; we shouldn’t even be discussing him while legitimately dominant players like Strahan and Haley aren’t in.