When you think of Hall-of-Fame Running back Barry Sanders, the first thought that comes to mind is greatness. The former Detroit Lion, slashed, dashed, twisted, spun and juked his way through NFL defenses for 10 years, before his shocking retirement in 1998. The ten time pro-bowl, six time all-pro and 2 time offensive player of the year, is smothered in accolades, and deservingly so. In his career he led the NFL in rushing yards four of his ten seasons, and was named to the 1990’s all-decade team.
Despite the mountain of stats, that Sanders roped together, it was the lack of stats that stand out the most. Playoff wins, or Playoff births to be exact, lack in the super-star’s career. In fact, in ten years Sanders only played in 6 playoff games. If I am being frank, in no way do I blame Sanders for the lack of post-season appearances. I blame the team(s) around him.
Fast forward to now, and the NFL seems to be repeating history. New York Giants, Saquon Barkley, who is arguably the best runner in the league, and who has been compared to Sanders, may have one more thing in common. A really bad team around him. I understand that his career is still only 3 years in, but the signs are all there. Not to say the Giants dont have talent, they do, but like Sanders, Barkley suffers from a bad team.
We have all seen Barkley play, we all know that when he is on fire, he is a load to bring down. Built like a tree, with the speed of a cheetah, and the moves of, well Barry Sanders, and it’s easy to see why you could consider him the best. In just over 2 seasons he has rushed for 2,316 yards, averaging 4.7 yards a carry and also scoring 17 times. Either through the air, or on the ground, Barkley can literally score at any moment and from anywhere. He has constantly been a bright spot amongst a lot of bad football.
In two seasons he has 9 wins, and 23 losses, that isn’t counting the Monday Night loss to start the season. Like Sanders , I don’t blame Barkley, I blame the front office, the coaching and the team around him, for such a poor showing. Gone are the days of the dominant Giants teams.
Are we looking at the next Barry Sanders? One of the best to ever do it, but cursed with bad play around him? I know it is only year 3 for Barkley, but could you honestly say you see a dramatic change coming anytime soon?
There is no doubt that Saquon Barkley, is one of, if not the best Running backs, in all of the National Football League. There is no doubt that Barkley is capable of taking over a game, and giving defenses fits. There is also no doubt that defensive coordinators stay awake at night scheming for the dominant runner. But much like Sanders, that is all they are up worrying about. Shut Barkley down, shut down the Giants offense.
Like Sanders, Barkley, looks poised for a potential Hall-of-Fame career. Between his skill set to run threw any type of defense, and his youth, he could easily be considered one of the greats when it is all said and done. But like Sanders, Barkley, also looks destined to be a star whom, never get’s to really play for a ring. Let’s hope that when it is all said and done for the runner, that he get’s a lot more shots at the playoffs, than Sanders ever did. Only time will tell, but for now he (Barkley) seems destined to be the next Barry Sanders….and not in a good way.