Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
Knowledgeable NFL fans understand the importance of running backs has faded over the last decade or so. This trend was confirmed in the latest draft when nary a one was selected in the first round. Since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, this has never happened.
The explanations surrounding this decline start with the emergence of the pass as the primary means for moving the ball. The discussion often turns to the short shelf life of the average running back.
When Arian Foster hit the turf with a non-contact injury on May 29, the issue of his workload in 2012 immediately jumped to the fore. By Week 11, he was on pace for exactly 400 carries by Week 17.
If Foster had hit this number, it would have been the sixth-highest total in league history. Due to down and distance considerations from that point on, his numbers fell until the playoffs.
By the close of the regular season, his count was 351 carries. Is that all it takes in the age of the depreciating halfback to incur the wrath of the curse?
This Curse of 370 has a well-documented history at Football Outsiders. The premise is that, in most cases, as soon as a player exceeds this number of carries in a single season, his career is headed downhill.
The data cited in the referenced article includes postseason work. Throw in the 54 carries for Foster from the Wild Card Game and divisional round game, and his total of 405 takes him well past the mark of the damned.
A calf strain is a minor injury when expertly treated and given sufficient rest. As a result, Foster will miss the remainder of OTAs and the mandatory minicamp. Will it be enough to reverse the curse?