In sports, there are two kinds of bold predictions. First, there are those made by the experts/pundits/analysts/fans that are usually more on the bold side than the prediction side. The other kind are those made by the athletes themselves, and every so often one such prediction will be made that is so bold and so daring that it just might be crazy enough to happen.
Adrian Peterson made a statement the other day that very easily falls into the latter category.
Mark your calendars football fans – week 16 of the 2017 season. It’s the (very specific) date which Peterson set as an expected deadline for him to become the greatest running back in NFL history.
And if you’ve been watching him play over the past few years, you should be beginning to believe he just might pull it off.
After doing the calculations, carrying the one, and breaking down the prediction, AP will have to average… drumroll please:
113.17 yards per game.
Hey, that’s not actually so crazy.
We are talking about Adrian Peterson here. The guy who won the MVP after missing a year from an ACL injury. The guy who almost set the all-time rushing record for a season after the said post-ACL tear comeback. This guy is a beast – and if anyone can average 114 yards per game for 5 seasons, he can.
How about some numbers to back this claim up?
Over Peterson’s six seasons in the NFL he has averaged 99.4 yards per game, which just so happens to be the third best total in history. In case you want to be dumb enough to argue that those numbers are inflated due to his short tenure in the league and running in his prime, here’s a rebuttal: Chris Johnson – aka the other guy currently around who ran 2,000 in a season – is the same age as AP and has averaged 87.2 yards per game in his career. Boom.
How about a simpler stat: games played. Peterson has only played all 16 games in half of the seasons in his career. He only ran in 12 games 2011 and without a doubt those extra games would have made his numbers even better.
We all know AP has the skill to pull off some incredible rushing feats in his career, but the burning question on everyone’s minds is definitely regarding his longevity. Peterson is a beast when he’s healthy – but after the devastating injury which sidelined him for almost a year, the doubts still linger.
What it all boils down to is whether Peterson can withstand the punishing life of an elite NFL running back. His ACL injury says no, but his 1,019 yards after contact in 2012 say yes.
Peterson could be one of the most difficult backs to tackle in this league and that translates into yards and historical glory. If averaging 114 yards per game for 84 straight games is what it takes, well AP probably has a better shot at it than anyone playing right now. And why not? Who says we can’t witness history?
Last season saw AP seemingly come back from the dead to put up one of the greatest rushing displays in history. Last season saw Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson shatter a seemingly untouchable receiving record previously owned by Jerry Rice (aka the greatest ever). Two years ago we saw New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees set a new passing record after toppling Dan Marino’s record.
Why can’t Peterson make history too? I guess we’ll just have to wait until 2017 to find out.