The Kansas City Chiefs have been tough to watch at times during their history. Hell, since winning their first and only Super Bowl in 1969, the franchise has been a mess on and off the field more often than we would all like to think about.
Throughout the past 45 years, there have been some bright spots. There was hero Joe Delaney, greats such as Derrick Thomas, Will Shields and Tony Gonzalez, and all-timers in Joe Montana and Marcus Allen. Currently, Kansas City sports a team preening with talent, but nobody more talented than Jamaal Charles.
Everyone here watches the Chiefs, and therefore sees the greatness of Charles on a weekly basis. However, do we truly understand just how great the man is? Entering his seventh season in the NFL at the age of 27, Charles has racked up 5,823 rushing yards and 1,975 receiving yards despite missing almost all of 2011 with a torn ACL and basically warming the bench his first year and a half.
His numbers are even more spectacular when you realize he has rushed for 5.6 yards per carry for his career, placing him behind ... no one. Also consider that only six other running backs are currently at 5.0 YPC or better in the history of the NFL.
Note: Only Cleveland Browns fullback Marion Motley (5.7) is higher on the all-time list when excluding quarterbacks, but as Tarkus pointed out, Motley's figure includes AAFC stats. The NFL does not recognize them, therefore, Charles is the actual leader. For a sense of the rarity, consider that Motley was born in 1920 and played in the 40s and 50s.
Provided Charles can stay healthy this season, he is a lock to surpass 7,000 career rushing yards. Should he end up exactly at that total, he will jump from 91st on all-time the list to at minimum 60th (Ray Rice, DeAngelo William s and Matt Forte could keep ahead of him).
If Charles can play two more seasons (before he turns 30) and rush for approximately 1,250 yards in each, that would put him at roughly 9,500 yards. If he gets to that point, he will rank 30th, give or take a spot or two depending on active players.
During the next three seasons, Charles could also amass around 1,800 receiving yards with Andy Reid calling the plays. Granted, health is always the big elephant in the room (knock on wood), but it is not a far-fetched scenario. Charles has only suffered one injury during his career, otherwise proving very durable.
If he can reach those numbers, it would give him around 3,800 receiving and 9,500 rushing yards at age 30, totaling 13,300 all-purpose yards. A total in that range would put him in the top 50 all-time, in company such as John Riggins, Lenny Moore and Bobby Mitchell.
This is, of course, all speculation and fun. Who knows what the future holds for the Texas man. Perhaps he will burn out with his best years sadly behind him. Maybe he will be great for another five years, re-writing record books and making a case as the greatest running back of the modern era. It's all for debate.
What is not for debate is the present. Charles is the best player to come through Kansas City since the great No. 58 was terrorizing John Elway. Charles is more than great, he is breathtaking. Few players bring fans on both sides to the edge of their collective seats, both anticipating a moment in the making.