The San Francisco 49ers face off against the Dallas Cowboys looking to get off to a solid start in 2014. However, while team goals are the most important thing, there is an important individual goal on the horizon. Running back Frank Gore currently has 9,967 rushing yards, leaving him 33 short of 10,000. Facing a bad defense in Dallas, Gore should be able to get those yards and become the 29th running back in NFL history to surpass 10,000 yards.
As the rankings currently stand, Ricky Williams is one spot ahead of Gore with 10,006 yards, and Adrian Peterson is two spots ahead with 10,115 yards. Gore is likely to remain behind AP the rest of the way, but he can make a nice little dent in the running back ranks. Hypothetically, say Carlos Hyde emerges as a strong presence, and Frank Gore finishes the season with 800 yards. That would put him at 10,767 yards. If Adrian Peterson remains ahead of him, that would put Gore at No. 21 all-time.
Tre put together a podcast earlier this week, and a short segment focused on Gore. He pulled out the Gore segment into a stand-alone portion, so I have embedded it up above. Gore has some great numbers, but it is the fact that he is such an all-purpose back that boosts his case for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Steve Young talked about how incredibly underrated he has been because of his ability beyond just running the ball.
Early in his career, Gore was frequently a big part of the passing game as a receiver, but his entire career he has been arguably the best pass protection back in the league. It is hard for some to put that into proper context, but I really think you could make a strong argument that his pass protection has done enough to overcome whether or not his career rushing total will be enough. The Hall of Fame should only include the best of the best. I've seen talk about how it should only be the players who were clearly the best of their time at their position. From a pure statistical standpoint, that probably does not apply to Gore. However, if you consider Gore a very good to great rushing back, and then add in arguably the best pass protection of any back during his run, maybe that's enough to justify a spot in Canton.
I do not expect Gore to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and it would not surprise me to see the media take a long time to recognize just how spectacular he was in certain respects. But maybe one day he'll get the national recognition he deserves. You could argue he is not your typical Hall of Fame running back, but the complete picture tells us he deserves that recognition.