What is there to say about Marshall Faulk?
Faulk was brilliant, a master of his craft. He turned playing the position of running back into an art form. Every Sunday, people couldn't help but marvel as Faulk danced on his turf-covered canvas with such ease and fluidity that he appeared to be on a whole separate level from everyone else.
That is exactly what Faulk was on throughout his career—a separate level that not many other players in the history of the game could touch.
Faulk came into the league in 1994 with the Indianapolis Colts. A three-time All-American out of San Diego State University, the running back had big expectations, and he never disappointed. By the time the dust settled on his career, he had put up incredibly fascinating statistics:
- 12,279 rushing yards (10th all-time)
- 6,875 receiving yards
- 136 touchdowns
- 125 plays of 20-plus yards
- Three-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year
- Seven-time Pro Bowl selection
- 2000 NFL MVP
- Three-time first-team All-NFL selection
So how do you pick out 10 great moments from a career that was full of them? It is pretty difficult, but here at Bleacher Report, we are going to give it our best shot. Without further ado, I present to you the 10 greatest moments from Marshall Faulk's wonderful career.
In the final game of the 2001 regular season, the Rams were matched up against the Atlanta Falcons. The heavily favored Rams erupted and blew out the Falcons 31-13, but this was one of those games where Faulk could've taken complete praise for the victory.
The running back collected 286 total yards from scrimmage, including 168 rushing yards and 58 receiving yards. It would end up being a career high for the magical running back, and the game would serve as the perfect example of what Faulk was capable of doing in his prime.
During his time at SDSU, Marshall Faulk ran past, around, under, through and over defenses to even more of a degree than he did in the pros.
By the time his career as an SDSU Aztec was over, Faulk had racked up 62 touchdowns, which today is good enough for ninth all-time.
The dynamite running back also had plenty more impressive statistics to go along with his touchdowns during his three years in college:
- 4,589 rushing yards
- 973 receiving yards
- 5,562 total yards from scrimmage
If you think Faulk made the NFL look like a picnic, you should've seen him in the WAC.
After Faulk's incredible rookie season that saw him rush for 1,282 yards and 11 touchdowns, he received the honor of being named to the AFC Pro Bowl team. Most rookies would be completely content with simply making the team. Faulk, however, had different ideas in mind.
On Feb. 5, 1995, Marshall Faulk tore up the NFC defense, rushing for 180 yards and a touchdown en route to being named the MVP of the game. Faulk's athleticism was on full display as he carved up and dashed past the best the game had to offer.
Marshall Faulk made his NFL debut on Sept. 4, 1994. On that same date, Faulk rushed for 143 yards and three touchdowns against the Houston Oilers. It was a marvelous debut that introduced the NFL world to the running back with the loudest of bangs.
Believe me when I say that no one ever considered whether Marshall Faulk would turn out to be a bust.
On Dec. 10, 2000, the Rams played host to a very dangerous, very tough Minnesota Vikings team. It was a game where the Rams would need to be incredibly sharp and have a big game from their ultimate weapon: Marshall Faulk.
Faulk responded by rushing for four touchdowns, setting a Rams franchise record that still stands today.
Super Bowl XXXIV wasn't one of Faulk's best games. In fact, statistically Faulk was completely ineffective, rushing for only 17 yards on 10 carries. He did add a 52-yard reception, but outside of that his impact was dismal.
Regardless, should you offer Faulk the opportunity, I'm 99.9 percent sure he'd rather have a horrible Super Bowl performance and win than have an incredible performance and lose.
Not many players have the honor of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in the air by the time their careers are over, but Faulk was one of them.
No one can ever take that away.
When you are the most exciting part of the most exciting offense in football, people are going to notice. So when Marshall Faulk won the MVP award in 2000, it wasn't a huge shock, especially considering his off-the-chart stats:
- 1,359 rushing yards
- 830 receiving yards
- 26 touchdowns
It was Faulk's first year as a Ram, and while he had already established himself as an explosive back at this point, he had yet to make that marvelous play that would give Rams fans something to talk about for a while.
Flash forward to Week 7. Faulk pulled off one of the greatest moves ever made by a running back. After juking a few Browns at the line of scrimmage, Faulk came to a complete stop and watched as another Cleveland player flew by him, freeing the running back for an impressive 33-yard touchdown run.
Go to 1:07 of the video to see the run.
Before LaDainian Tomlinson set the current mark for most touchdowns in a season in 2006, Marshall Faulk broke the record himself back in 2000. With 26 total touchdowns, it appeared he had just set a record that would stand for a very long time.
Faulk ran for nine touchdowns and caught two touchdowns as well in the last three games to do it, and by the end of it, people were already accepting him as one of the greatest running backs ever to step onto the gridiron.
Faulk's monstrous 1999 season went down in the record books as one of the greatest seasons in NFL history. At the age of 26, Faulk collected 2,429 total yards throughout the season, good enough for first place on the all-time list.
Ten years later, Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson would pass Faulk over, but that doesn't make the way Faulk completely dominated every defense he ever went up against any less impressive.
Should I make this list again in the near or distant future, I imagine that the No. 1 moment will be a moment that will take place this weekend: Faulk's induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
When Faulk takes the stand and delivers his speech, tears will be shed.
Whether it be by Faulk, his fans or by men who never really paid attention to him but can feel his love for the game come bursting out his veins with every word he speaks, the world will know they are listening to someone who truly loved, respected and gave all he had to the game.
I would love to sit here and spew out story after story about the greatness of Marshall Faulk, but I don't want to keep you for hours.
Just know that when Faulk takes that stage this weekend and is inducted into the Hall of Fame, you'll be watching the induction of not only one of the greatest Rams to ever play the game, but one of the greatest players ever to play the game, period.
Congratulations on your induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Marshall. I believe I speak for everyone when I say you've made proud Rams fans of us all.