The freedictionary.com defines gold standard as: 1. A monetary standard under which the basic unit of currency is equal in value to and exchangeable for a specified amount of gold. 2. A model of excellence; a paragon.
There are many good running backs in the NFL but the three that are setting the gold standard are LeVeon Bell, DeMarco Murray and Marshawn Lynch. These athletes are the perfect example of the phrase, “carrying a team on their backs. But you know what? Except for Bell, certain people have the nerve to be contemplating the futures of Lynch and Murray in regards to whether each may be worth the salary that they are due.
In the 2014 NFL postseason, Murray took his team to the division round of the NFC playoffs. Lynch took his team to within 1 yard of a Super Bowl victory. Bell took his team to the wildcard round but he was unable to perform and as great as his quarterback, Steelers Ben Roethlisberger is, he sorely missed the second year running back when the Pittsburgh Steelers were defeated by the Baltimore Ravens.
According to most statistics the average career of a running back is a little bit more than 2.57 years yet most running backs are paid peanuts during his prime years.
All we hear about is you have to have a great quarterback and that the quarterback handles the ball on almost every single down. This is true but there is a catch. If a running back runs the ball an average of 25 carries per game, generally he is going to be hit 75 percent of the time. If a quarterback throws 50 passes a game and is sacked 5 times and knocked down 5 times, that equates to only 20% that a quarterback is jeopardized in the pocket while attempting to throw a pass.
Most of us realize that running backs’ have arguably the shortest performance span of all professional football performers, yet face the most opposition when it comes to renegotiating their contracts for a job well done.
Over the past two decades many rule changes have taken place in regards to competition in pro football. Most of these changes have benefited the offense, in the particular the quarterbacks.
Quarterbacks continue to overthrow receivers expecting them to elevate themselves never knowing that the next place they will land will be in la-la land or on the gurney of Dr. Vinnie “Boom-Boom.”
Running backs do all of the dirty work and heavy lifting in the NFL. While rules are being created and maintained to keep quarterbacks clean and sterile, running backs do the “stockyard” slaughterhouse work and in contrast are not being paid for top dollar for their services.
If the running back helps keep the quarterback or should we say “pocket back” out of harm’s way, then running backs should be kept financially kept out of harm’s way, nuff said.
Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412.583.6741 He is also a contributing columnist for urbanmediatoday.com Follow him on Twitter@ultrascribe.