PFHOF Profile: Terrell Davis

maxresdefaultTerrell Davis presents one of the most interesting debates in Pro Football Hall of Fame history as he was one of the best running backs ever but only lasted a few seasons.

When looking into a Hall of Fame career voters want to see certain numbers and one of those numbers is usually the amount of time that the player played at the top of his game.

First Ballot Hall of Famers tend to be the guys that were dominant for a long time and left no doubt about where they stand among the greatest of all time.

Players like Brett Favre was great for 15 years in Green Bay and experienced some resurgence in Minnesota in his 17th and 18th seasons in the league.

Someone like Tom Brady is entering his 17th season and has been one of the greatest QBs ever as he continues his march towards 20 seasons which will leave no doubt about his eligibility for the Hall of Fame.

The history of the league is full of stories about players that were absolutely dominant in their time in the league but who were only dominant for a few seasons.

These players don’t even sniff the Hall of Fame because a few really good seasons does not make you one of the best players in the history of the league.

They enter those lists of great seasons or great bursts rather than the greatest players of all time.

Some of those players can make an impression though and Davis was one of those players as he really only had four dominant seasons.


That left a lot of voters debating whether or not his four dominant seasons were enough to earn him a bust in Canton.

They look at other running backs who lasted a lot longer in the league and put up bigger numbers and they wonder if Davis belongs alongside them.

The Hall of Fame is not about what could have been but rather what they put on their stat sheet when they were playing.

Davis is a back that could have potentially been the greatest running back in the history of the league if his career lasted longer than the six seasons he played.

He could have been even better if his numbers in his first four seasons carried on into his final two seasons.

It didn’t happen though and so the voters had seven seasons to judge him by and in those six seasons he did not climb up the stat charts that usually get backs into the Hall of Fame.

Judging just on that would mean that Davis is not a Hall of Fame calibre running back and so he was never going to earn a bust in Canton.

Here is where things get interesting though as his four seasons before injuries started to slow him down, he played a total of 17 games in his final three seasons, were among the best first four seasons by a running back ever.

He sits alongside backs like Eric Dickerson and Earl Campbell for the greatest first four seasons in the history of the game.

terrell-davis_pg_600He sits alone at the top of the touchdown list in the first four seasons of a career with nobody could touch his 56 touchdowns in that same span of time.

He wasn’t just dominant in his short career he was legitimately the best back bar-none in those first seasons.

That is what has given the voters so much trouble as they see that his numbers in four seasons were so much better than anyone else.

They also see that he still isn’t among the list of the best backs when talking about career rushing yards or career touchdowns.

That debate forced Davis to wait for his call to the Hall of Fame as the votes continued to come in with split opinions.

The wait is over now though as Davis is a member of the Hall of Fame as a part of the Class of 2017.

His career stats are simply not good enough to make Canton but looking at his time in the league there is an easy case to be made.

He was the feature back on a team that took back-to-back Super Bowls and no back could do all of the things he could do on the field.

He was a touchdown machine and helped a John Elway offence provide some balance that made them a championship team.

He has all of the aspects of a Hall of Famer when looking at his seven years in the league as he has two Super Bowl rings, and NFL MVP, Super Bowl MVP, three Pro Bowl appearances and two NFL Offensive player of the year awards.

That is a good resume for anyone playing 10 or more seasons in the league and so Davis is ready to join the best in the history of the league.


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