Sunday, June 17, 2012
Fox Sports Alex Marvez: LaDainian Tomlinson To Retire: One Step Closer to the Hall of Fame
When I think of LT, I think of the great New York Giants Linebacker Lawrence Taylor, arguably the best Outside Linebacker and Linebacker of all time. Definitely the best Pass Rushing Linebacker of all time, who was probably strong enough to be a full time Defensive End. But of the last ten years, there's only been one LT and to the point when people now think of LT, they have to think of LaDainian Tomlinson, unless they live in New York or North Jersey. Lawrence Taylor is the LT of the 20th Century, his impact and importance to the NFL is more important then LaDainian Tomlinson. I'm not going to dispute that but the LT of the last ten years, has been LaDainia Tomlinson, who by his rookie season in 2001. Was already one of the best Running Backs in the NFL, being a Redskins fan I got to see LT's first game, in 2001 when the Redskins played the San Diego Chargers in San Diego. The Redskins had a good defense that year and LT didn't chew up the Redskins, he didn't dominate them but he played well enough for them to win, QB Doug Flutie, playing for like his 12th different team by that point. Also had a good game as the Chargers handed the Redskins their first of five consecutive losses to start off 2001.
A good way to compare LaDainian Tomlinson, would be with RB Roger Craig, another RB who should be in the Hall of Fame. Who played for of course the San Francisco 49ers in the 1980s, LT is not as tall as Craig but has similar strength and power, both about 220-225. Craig might be faster as well but they both have very similar skills, Roger Craig in 1985 ran and received for over 1000 yards each, LT did the same thing in San Diego a few years ago, both had over 100 receptions and I believe 300 caries in the same season. These players represent why the term workhorse was created, both complete all around RB's, that ran with power, speed and quickness and could also block. And when you play in the pass offenses that both Craig and LT played in, where you pass to set up the run or give the QB's arm some rest. Running Backs have to be able to block or the QB is going to get killed by the blitz consistently.
LT has the numbers to be in the Hall of Fame, you are talking about one of the best runners and receivers, the RB position has ever produced. That alone gets him into the Hall of Fame, the stats are there with something like 13,000 yards rushing, 100 touchdowns, great receiver out of the backfield and an excellent blocker as well. And you are also talking about the best RB of the last decade and will be a first ballot Hall of Famer.