I just want to say, MNchiefsfan, I’m not sure how you do it. You have a wife, kids, go to law school, and still find time to write great pieces like this. And this. Do you sleep? I go to college, study basic core classes (for now), have a girlfriend and a very easy job, and I am exhausted. And this is coming from a guy who is soon to be studying sports journalism. Looks like I need to catch up with you.* School is almost over for the semester and I soon will be transferring to the wonderful University of Missouri to study journalism, so I will hopefully try to write more posts and be more active on my favorite site, Arrowhead Pride. So let’s get started.
*In all seriousness though, I love your writing. It’s funny how one of my favorite writers isn’t even actually a professional writer. It shows how awesome Arrowhead Pride is. Some contributors on here are ten times better than some “writers” on the web (see: bleacherreport).
A few days ago, I was discussing with one of my buddies about how the Chiefs have had a history of very talented running backs. Christian Okoye, Priest Holmes, Marcus Allen, Joe Delaney, Tony Richardson, Barry Word, Larry Johnson, the list goes on. Right now we have Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis, which could turn about to be one of the best running back duos KC has ever seen. Here in this town, we can probably say that we’ve been pretty spoiled with great running backs (which is probably the Football Gods’ way of making up for our lack of great QB’s).
Anyways, this discussion inspired me to do a little research on pro-football-reference.com, leading me to this post’s main question: Should Thomas Jones and Priest Holmes be in the Hall of Fame? Before going further, I assumed that the answer to that question was “probably not.” But answering that question wouldn’t be any fun without doing a little more digging.
Let’s begin with Thomas Jones, assuming that 2011 was his last year. Obviously, TJ isn’t exactly going to be mentioned a lot when discussing Chiefs history. After all, he has only rushed for a little over 1300 yards and 6 TD’s in his time here in KC, which is a feat that some of the running backs aforementioned have accomplished in one season. TJ will probably be more remembered in KC for his sudden decrease in performance towards the end of the 2010 season and, oh yeah, also getting in a fight with Jonathan Baldwin. However, Thomas Jones has had a much underrated career in which he has garnered 10,591 rushing yards, good for 22nd in league history, and 68 rushing TD’s, good for 30th in league history. This puts him ahead of several Hall of Famers in these categories, however most of them have not played past 1985 and a lot played before the early 1970’s.
Obviously, when playing around with stats (which can become quite addicting), one can definitely skew the results to further back up their points. So take from this what you will. Using the Player Season Finder, I created a list of running backs that have had at least 10,000 rushing yards, 65 touchdowns, and 2,000 receiving yards in their career. 20 players in NFL history have accomplished this feat, 12 of them being in the Hall of Fame. Thomas Jones is on this list as well. This definitely proves that TJ does have numbers that compete with the elites of the NFL.
My Conclusion: TJ has put up impressive numbers in his career, including five straight 1,000 yard rushing seasons from 2005-2009 (and in 2004 and 2010 he was darn close to 1,000). The best thing TJ has had going for him is that he has been healthy, which has allowed him to get a ton of experience over his 12 year career. In my opinion, he should at least be considered for the Hall of Fame, but there are a couple things that might keep him out including only being selected to one Pro Bowl and not having a SB ring (which I believe shouldn’t be a valid key in discussing a HOF player unless they are a QB). For right now though, we can easily place him in the “Hall of Very Good.”
Alright, let’s move on to Priest Holmes ladies and gents. In a way, Priest is almost the opposite of Thomas Jones, with only three really dominant seasons and his inability to stay healthy towards the end of his career (I will never forgive Shawne “Roids” Merriman). However, those three seasons, 2001-2003, were pretty spectacular. He rushed for 1555 yards, 1615 yards, and 1420 yards respectively in those three seasons, sending him to the Pro Bowl each year. He also scored a total of 56 rushing touchdowns, temporarily setting the rushing TD record in 2003 with 27.
In 2013, it will be Priest Holmes’ first year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame. If he wants to be in talks alongside greats such as Jerome Bettis, he always has his rushing touchdowns going for him. While he only has 8,172 rushing yards, good for 39th in league history, he has 86 rushing touchdowns which is 14th in league history.
Again, let’s get back to the Player Season Finder. There are 8 running backs in league history that have at least 8,000 rushing yards, 85 rush TD’s, and 2900 receiving yards. Priest Holmes is one, LaDainian Tomlinson (future HOFer) is one, and 6 other Hall of Famers make that list.
My Conclusion: Priest has had a similar career to players such as O.J. Simpson and Terrell Davis, with only a few years of major production and mediocre in the rest. O.J. is a current HOFer and T.D. has been considered for the HOF for the past few years now. I believe that Priest should definitely be considered for the Hall, but I don’t think he will be in serious discussions for his first few years of eligibility.
So, what do you think? Give me your opinion in the comments and let me know of any other players, Chiefs or not, that you think might be on that edge of Hall of Fame and “Hall of Very Good.”