“We are what we repeatedly do; excellence, then, is not an act but a habit,” Aristotle once poetically remarked.
The fourth year running back has dazzled the sports world for the past three weeks, while fostering the No. 1 rushing attack in the NFL. But what McFadden did on Sunday against the Jets vaulted 3-4 defense had not been done this season: No running back had gained 100 yards, or averaged five yards a carry.
Maurice Jones Drew, a top-five running back, mustered only 88 yards on one more carry than McFadden. And the Cowboys’ Felix Jones mustered only 44 yards on the same amount of carries that McFadden had.
Actually, during Rex Ryan’s tenure in New York, only two running backs have rushed for 100 yards on the Jets. Fact: Darren McFadden had over 100 yards by halftime.
Many NFL enthusiasts rank Adrian Peterson as the game’s best running back based solely on history and ability. I, however, base my rankings on production and abilities, not on what happened in the past.
If history is a criterion, Peyton Manning and Bart Starr would be MVP candidates, but in 2011, neither can be judged as tops at their position unless/until they perform.
First off, McFadden leads the league in rushing, rushing yards per attempt and he burned the top rush defense for 171 yards. Peterson, however, has never rushed for more than 88 yards against the Jets defense.
When asked if McFadden is the best running back, Sports Illustrated was one of few publications that gave McFadden consideration.
Sports Illustrated: “He proved he belongs in the discussion as the best back in football. He’s averaging 131 yards per game with the kind of speed and power very few backs have.”
When asked if McFadden is the top back, McFadden himself chimed, “I believe it. I try to go out there and show it every Sunday on the field.”
The true question is not if McFadden is the best running back in the NFL, but if he is the best player in the NFL.
If McFadden continues at the rate that he’s going, he will surpass 2,000 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns, which are MVP stats.