On Saturday evening the NFL will announce the new list of inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Many fans, including yours truly, are hoping that former New York Jets running back Curtis Martin is one of the 5 players that gets the call. Martin, in his first year of eligibility, is one of 15 finalists which includes the likes of Deion Sanders, Marshall Faulk, Cris Carter, and Jerome Bettis.
As decision day approaches there have been some disputes over Martin’s qualifications for the Hall as compared to other NFL greats. Lets take a quick look at some of Curtis’ career accomplishments.
- 4th leading rusher in NFL history with 14,101 yards (behind Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders)
- 1 of only 2 players in the history of the NFL to rush for 1,000 yards for 10 consecutive seasons (the other Barry Sanders)
- According to Stats Inc. ranks 3rd in the history of the NFL with 4,002 offensive touches (behind Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton)
- In a list of players with over 1,000 NFL touches, Martin ranks 1st averaging 23.8 touches a game (Tomlinson #2 with 23.6)
- Curtis ranks 10th in the history of the NFL averaging 103.8 yards per game from the line of scrimmage.
- In his last full NFL season Martin became the oldest player to ever lead the NFL in rushing with 1,697 yards
-100 career touchdowns (90 rushing, 10 receiving)
- 5 time Pro-Bowler, 4 time Jets team MVP ( in 2007 team award was named after Martin)
- In a span from 1995-2004 Martin missed only 4 games
Not for nothing but I think that is a pretty impressive NFL resume. Statistically Martin meets the criteria for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. When you add in the man that is Curtis Martin, the induction should be a slam dunk. Curtis Martin is one of the classiest athletes to ever play a down in the NFL. Martin took a tremendous amount of pride in helping out his community, even going as far to allocating a portion of his checks for charity. Most of Curtis’ off the field accomplishments flew under the radar as Martin was never looking for notoriety, just to give back to those in need of help.
I have had the chance to meet Curtis Martin several times throughout his career and you could never meet a more fan friendly professional athlete. Martin always took the time before and after games to take pictures and sign autographs for the fans. Regardless of the outcome of the game Martin always stood proud and gave back to the fans that always appreciated his efforts. The words “class act” are often overused, but with Curtis Martin they could not be any more appropriate.
On Saturday I hope the powers that be induct Curtis Martin into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Martin was a warrior on the field and a tremendous ambassador off of it. What else could you ask for out of a NFL player?