Short Running Backs? Well in lieu of 5-9, 198 pound, Ahmad Bradshaw's thus far sterling season, (1013 on 219 carries, 7 touchdowns), we decided to take a quick look around for some of the other most effective, most exciting under 5-10 running backs, not so much in NFL History, but at least those that we can remember in a pretty lengthy span of viewing NFL or AFL games and highlights.
That having been said, it all has to start with the diminutive Buddy Young, (no I don't remember him, it's a just convenient segue.) 5-4, 175 pounds, Young was one of the NFL's early stars, (1947-1955), running, catching, (5400 combined yards from scrimmage), returning kicks, (a 104 yarder in 1953, when he averaged 34.4 per kickoff return), and punts, (79 yarder in 1951 when he averaged 19.3 per return.)
He was one of the games most exciting players, and while not exactly starting a trend, he did open the door for other height challenged running backs down the road.
Barry Sanders: 5-8, 200 pounds. Our choice for the top short back, (though he's really 1/1A with Emmit Smith), and very possibly the best pure runner of all time. Hardly a game went by when he failed to thoroughly electrified us, doing things on a football field that had never been been contemplated much less accomplished by an upright man of any size.
He ran for more than 1500 yards five times, never less than 1,115 and that in an injury shortened 1993 season. He prematurely wrapped up his career with the ever futile Lions in 1998 totaling 15,269 yards rushing, 5.0 yards per carry, and 109 touchdowns.
Emmitt Smith: 5-9, 216 pounds. 8 time Pro Bowler, 4 time all NFL selectee, 3 super Bowl Rings, 18,355 yards rushing, 11 consecutive 1,000 yard seasons.
What's left to say about the great Emmitt Smith that hasn't been said before? Nothing we can think of right now though as Giant fans he left us with a lot of sleepless nights.
Maurice-Jones Drew: 5-7, 209 pounds. One of the most exciting players in today's NFL, Jones- Drew carries a workhorse load for the often offensively challenged Jaguars of Jacksonville. 1,391 rush yards last year, on pace for about 1500 this year. 2058 career receiving yards and an almost amazing 62 touchdowns in 75 career games.
Darren Sproles: 5-6, 190 pounds. He's an energizer, a seemingly irreplaceable cog in the San Diego Charger assault and has torn it up in his short career as an all purpose runner, receiver, returner with extraordinary flair.
9,331 total yards, 21 touchdowns in 74 games. Sproles is a true giant among little men.
Mike Garrett: One of a series of great backs to eventually come out of USC, Garrett chose the AFL over the NFL in 1966 and immediately made his mark as one of the best in the game. Had a combined, career 7,491 yards from scrimmage, scored 47 regular season TD's, and with the elusive McVea enabled Hank Stram and the Chiefs the kind of balanced run/pass attack that upended the Fran Tarkenton led Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV.
Warren McVea: The Human Waterbug. 5-8, 170 pounds. With McVea it's not about the lack of stats or that his post playing career unraveled and left him spending long periods of time behind bars.
He was one of the great college players of his day for the University of Houston, and for most Kansas City Chief fans it will be the memory or footage of this crazy cutting, speedster making remarkable headway in their magical '69/'70 Super Bowl winning season that lingers most distinctly.
Warren McVea left the game a little prematurely, but his highlight reel will live forever.
Joe Morris: 'Little Joe', 5-7, 195 pounds. 3 time 1,000 yard rusher and key figure on the 1986 Championship team with 1,516 yards rushing and another 233 receiving. Played behind a lunch pail line on a team with a run first mentality. Down the stretch in '86 he might carry the ball 25-30 times a game dispelling any notion that lack of size equates to lack of durability or even the ability to dominate the opposition.
Dave Megget: 5-7, 190 pounds. His career after football has become a sickening story, but during his successful playing days with the Giants it was the opposition that became sick over the sight of the elusive Megget.
An all purpose back, runner, receiver, returner, Megget totaled 4,722 yards from scrimmage in nine seasons, with another 9274 return yards. He's one of the few players in NFL history to pass, run, catch, punt & kick return for touchdowns.
Dalton Hilliard: 5-8, 204 pounds. A power back even at 5-8, Hilliard fought off a plethora of injuries to accumulate 4164 career yards & 53 touchdowns in a truncated career with the New Orleans Saints.
Thurman Thomas: 5-10, 200 pounds. He may have started his career an inch over the mark but after a 13 NFL season in freezing Buffalo and lots of absorbed hits you've got to figure he lost that inch somewhere.
12,074 career yards rushing, 4458 career yards receiving, 88 touchdowns, one of the great players in the history of the game.
A few other 5-10 honorable mentions that come to mind: James Brooks of the Bengals, Terry Metcalf of the old St. Louis Rams, one time Oklahoma Phenom, (and Baltimore Colt), Joe Washington ... I'm sure there are countless others, feel free to make up your own list.
Sometimes I wonder if there's anything more omnipresent in this world than Kim Kardashian's shapely rear end. Don't get me wrong, I'm a red blooded American male and I'd love to embrace her well rounded shape as much as the next guy but god help me if I don't find it a bit disturbing that this generally vacuous babe is as well known as almost any other human on the planet.
Here's a short list of a few other pre eminent events or issues which we can measure against Kardashian's recognition factor.
The Lebron signing: Yes it was big news at the time but with the Heat off to a middling start James' recognition factor seems lately to be lagging behind delicious Kim's. (Don't even mention Dwayne Wade, he's light years away.)
The Pending Nuptials of Derek Jeter and Minka Kelly: If you put the two of them together, one of the iconic stars in the history of baseball and the current Sexiest Woman Alive in a wedding setting … yes, I think that might make Americans forget about Kim for a couple of days.
The Ozone Layer …. Huh, what's the Ozone layer?
The World Cup Finals, or Final Four: Even Kim can't top this world wide event. Unfortunately it only takes place every four years.
24 …. You'd have to say very close. Season's two and four for sure!
March Madness …. Another squeaker, but for the truncated period it's possible as many males are thinking of college hoops as Kardashian's rear end. A lot depends on the number of KIm covered, supermarket tabloid publications out at the time.
Some Superbowls … The Giants - Pats yes, the The Pats - Panthers, no way.
Yankee's - Red Sox … Nothing tops Yankee's - Red Sox, it's been year round drama on the Eastern Sea Board since Ruth switched uniforms.
We'll leave the rest for you to contemplate.
The decline of Peyton Manning? People please, forget about his 25/35, 319 yard, 2 touchdown effort last night, the cries of Peyton Manning's demise are ludicrous to the point of being mind numbing.
No quarterback can excel without a running game and all of his best receivers sidelined, and even in the midst of this so called decline, (not as good as Eli? It sure didn't look that way in week two), he's already thrown for 4,028 yards with 26 TD's and 15 INT's.
The last is a high number for him but how many do you think are a result of a lack of familiarity between the NFL legend and the legion of inexperienced receivers he's been throwing to the past five or six weeks.
Here's a prediction for you. Peyton Manning has at least one more MVP season left in him, and here's a suggestion for you as well. Go back and look at any of you favorite QB's of the last 20, 25, 30 years, (excepting Joe Montana), and see if you don't find interception filled seasons that will absolutely blow your mind in retrospect.
In the meantime let's show Peyton Manning a little respect. He's still the best quarterback in football this side of Tom Brady, and even if you want to throw him in a group with Phillip Rivers and Drew Brees as well that's no crying shame either.
And Finally … a few good picks for Sunday/Monday.
New England - 3 over Chicago: If you think Brady is losing any kind of a duel against Jay Cutler with home field still on his mind you've got another thing coming.
Giants -3 over the Vikings: I would think the Giants would rather face the less mobile, highly mistake prone Favre at this point. It doesn't matter either way, they owe this team a thrashing from last year and the G-Men will dole it out in return on Sunday.
Atlanta - 7 1/2 over Carolina: Buy the half point if you can but it really shouldn't end up that close. I'm not saying John Fox's team has given up but they just don't have the horses to keep up with a very motivated Atlanta team.
St. Louis - New Orleans …. Don't bet it but watch it if you can. St. Louis is really coming on and this will be a great test of their validity.
Jet's - 5 over Miami: New York will take no quarter in pounding the horrible Dolphins, especially in the freezing cold.
Philadelphia -3 1/2 over Dallas: Again, buy the half point if you can. Philly has to win to keep their playoff plans in tact but they'll get a serious tussle out of the improving Cowboys.
Baltimore -3 over Houston: Why play the whole season if you can't even beat middling Houston in week 14 with the playoffs on the line. Ravens should roll.
That's it for today,