Matt Rourke/Associated Press
LeSean McCoy is the reigning NFL rushing champion. He was named first-team All-Pro at running back for the second time in three seasons. But is he the best ball-carrier in the league?
Better than Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson?
If you ask Shady, the answer—not surprisingly—is an unabashed “yes.” In an interview on ESPN’s First Take, McCoy stated his case as to why he is better than Peterson, the 2012 league MVP.
"My brother always rips me all the time, trying to make me play harder. I say, 'I'm the best,' and he'll say, 'Did Adrian Peterson retire?' I look at the last three years and everything. I think AP has been the best back for so long, and he's been doing it for so long, that's why he automatically gets the best running back [title]," McCoy said.
"But the last three years? I've been All-Pro, first-team, twice. I never leave the field. I block. I catch. I never leave the field. I don't have anybody do my job; I do it myself. Tons of credit goes out to Adrian Peterson. I'm a big fan of his, for sure. But I feel I'm the best."
Peterson took the comments in stride in an interview with Jay Mohr on Fox Sports Radio, but claimed McCoy was only kidding.
“He didn’t really mean it. If you watched his response (he didn’t mean it). I’ve got to give the young guy credit because there is nothing wrong having confidence in yourself. But, you’ve got to speak with more truth. He’s a heck of a running back and I like his style, so I won’t get on him too much.”
McCoy actually might have a point. There hasn’t been a more complete back in the league over the past three seasons. He led the league in rushing and yards from scrimmage in 2013. In 2011, Shady finished No. 1 in rushing touchdowns. He blocks. He catches the ball out of the backfield. He does it all.
Yet, is there a better pure runner than Peterson? It was only one short year ago he ran for over 2,000 yards in a season and averaged an astounding 6.0 yards per carry—coming of a torn ACL no less. It was one of the great individual efforts in NFL history.
My take on this manufactured controversy: It’s hard to compare backs like McCoy and Peterson. Whichever order you want to put them in, though, they’re probably 1a and 1b.