Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE
Judging by yardage alone, the Texans are numero uno. Their scoring is nearly identical to the second-place yardage combo of the Falcons.
The Steelers' amazing 52 touchdowns cannot escape notice though. Compare the five combos and no one else averages less than 100 yards per TD. It's an odd measurement and one that is difficult to put into perspective.
Being the best should be decided by something more than just numbers. Maybe we should apply Howie Long’s elevator analogy.
In a radio interview I heard once, Howie Long described the trajectory of his career by comparing two elevators. One is going up, the other down.
The ascending elevator is your experience; the descending one your physical ability. At some point, they are at the same level. And your optimum effectiveness as a player is reached.
If applied to the combos under consideration and given their scoring production, I would hand it to the Steelers. Wallace is going into his fourth year, Mendenhall his fifth.
But, Mendenhall is coming off a torn ACL, an injury that can take upwards of two years for recovery. Wallace is in a protracted contract disagreement with Steelers management and is sitting out training camp. The possibility exists that neither will contribute much to Pittsburgh’s fortunes this year.
Look at the elevators Foster and Johnson are riding and notice how out of phase they are. But, the analogy is as much a predictor as it is a measuring tool. Foster is clearly on the rise with a ways to go. Johnson may be on the wrong side of 30, but if used judiciously, could still be a major contributor.
Is any other combo clearly better than that of the Texans? Right now, the only contender is a pair of players whose status is as uncertain as Chad Johnson’s future in football (as tweeted by the Dolphins). Until the games count for real, Houston holds the prize.