Top Thirty Career Rushing Leaders (in order of total yards) with a higher Career Rushing Average than Frank Gore:
Barry Sanders - 5.0
Jim Brown - 5.2
Fred Taylor - 4.6
OJ Simpson - 4.7
Tiki Barber - 4.7
Adrian Peterson - 5.0
Frank Gore - 4.6 (4.57)
That's a solid list. Currently, Gore sits at the number 30 spot on the career rushing list with 9,856 yards.
First, a few notes about some of the Top 10 career rushing leaders not named Sanders or Brown.
- In the Top 10, Frank Gore is currently ahead of Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, Curtis Martin, LaDainian Tomlinson, Tony Dorsett, Eric Dickerson, Jerome Bettis and Marshaull Faulk in career rushing average.
- Frank, in his first 9 seasons, has averaged more yards per carry than Faulk, Dorsett, Smith, Payton, Tomlinson, Bettis and Martin did in their first 9 seasons:
vs Faulk (4.4)
vs Dorsett (4.43)
vs Smith (4.34)
vs Payton (4.31)
vs Tomlinson (4.28)
vs Bettis (4.05)
vs Martin (3.86)
- Only Dickerson averaged more yards per carry than Gore in his first 9 seasons.
- In 9 seasons, Gore has never posted under 4.0 yards a carry. Dorsett (1), Smith(2), Payton (2), Martin (3), Faulk (3), Tomlinson (4), and Bettis (6) have all posted under 4.0 yards a carry in at least one of their first 9 seasons.
- In terms of carries, not years, Gore will reach 10,000 yards faster than all of the top 10 rushing leaders besides Sanders, Dickerson, and Brown.
-I'm not sure, because the number crunching would be to much, but I can pretty safely assume that Gore will be the 7th fastest running back to reach 10,000 yards rushing in terms of carries. For example, at his current pace, Gore will reach 10,000 with 2,188 carries. It took Smith 2,304 carries to reach 10,000.
-Jerome Bettis and Curtis Martin are really average in terms of yards per carry. Although I am aware that taking that many carries for both of them shows how tough and reliable they are, 4.0 yards per carry is pretty reliable from any RB in the league right now.
Hopeful, but Actually Humble Wishing
Gore sits at the 30th spot on the top 30 list. But, only 6 running backs in the top 30 have higher career rushing averages than Gore. Obviously, Gore's average is going to start going down as he ages. So let's do a little bit of math.
If Gore averaged 1,000 yards over the next two seasons at 4.0 yards a carry, he'd have 11,586 rushing yards and 2,653 rushing attempts, good for a career average of 4.46 yards per carry.
Now in my eyes, that's a pretty humble goal for Gore. He'll be 32 by that time and asking for a career low in rushing yards per attempt doesn't seem that much to ask for. Of course Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, and Marcus Lattimore will be taking carries from Gore, but I can't really see us keeping all of them. If Lattimore pans out, James or Hunter are looking at the door.
Then again, after Gore's contract is up, the front office could let him walk and let him finish is amazing career somewhere else.
Whether or not Gore stays a 49er, it's pretty much a foregone conclusion he reaches 11,000 rushing yards. Now, 12,000 yards is a whole other beast, but I've learned to not doubt Gore.
The only thing Gore really lacks is touchdowns. It's not something you want to lack when talking about the Hall of Fame, but whatever.
Those in the Rear View Mirror
In terms of modern running backs that Gore is competing with, he's in pretty good shape. Let's look at those threatening Gore.
Adrian Peterson : he's in.
Steven Jackson : 4.2 ypc, 10,583 rushing yards. Gore and Jackson's career looked pretty identical through the first 9 seasons. Churning out 1,000 yard seasons, focal point of the offense and no passing game. Yet, Jackson has appeared to hit a wall in his career. Honestly, I think Jackson would do damage with the 49ers offensive line, but unfortunately that's not what he has. I really like Jackson, and have always respected him, but I think Gore makes it before him.
Maurice Jones-Drew :4.5 ypc, 7,987 rushing yards, 68 TD's. These last two years have really knocked him off a Hall of Fame career path. He's pretty close close to Gore in attempt average, but a 1,000 yards behind where Gore was in his 8th season. He'd really need to push for the Hall of Fame. I don't think so.
Chris Johnson : 4.6 ypc, 7748, 49 TDs. If he keeps pushing out 1,000 yard seasons he will be a threat to Gore. He's on pace for a 6th straight 1,000 yard season. He's a solid threat to Gore. Good thing is he's three years behind Gore, so by the time he's eligible Gore might already be in the Hall.
Marshawn Lynch : 4.2 ypc, 7221 rushing yards, 57 TDs. I didn't realize is average was so low, considering how he tears up the 49ers every time we play. Like Jones-Drew, a couple of 500 yard seasons really threw him off a Hall trajectory. But, he's in a very solid situation and he's a crazy-talented beast. I'd say he's a threat to Gore.
Matt Forte : 4.3 ypc, 6527 rushing yards, 33 TDs. I'm not to sure with him. He hasn't had a superb season like the rest of the running backs. I'm gonna guess and say not a threat to Gore.
Ray Rice : 4.3 ypc, 6,125 rushing yards, 37 TDs. Same as Forte. Also he seems to be hitting a wall. Not a threat to Gore.
JAMAL CHARLES : BIG THREAT! 5.6 ypc, 5,717 rushing yards, 28 TDs. Possibly more prolific than Adrian Peterson. Very good chance of becoming fastest player to reach 10,000 yards in terms of carries.
And then of course Tiki Barber and Fred Jackson who did as good as Frank Gore with more yards.
If Gore retires in two years with two 1,000 yards seasons more under his belt, he should be a shoe in. Just look at his career rushing average. He's shitting on most of the top 30 career rushing leaders. By a lot.
And he's doing just as good as everyone behind him besides Charles and Peterson. The pressure is on them to keep up with Gore.
If Bettis gets in before Gore, I'll freaking puke. Tiki Barber is a longshot just because people don't like him. But he does have a chance. Fred Taylor, I'm not sure. I think Gore has a edge over him simply because he's more popular. Sad but true. And good for us fans.
So what do you guys think? Feel better about Gore's chances?