The ugly truth behind 11 – NFL Edition.


While I was straining all my thinking muscles into putting the 11th week column of ‘Did you know that?’ and thinking really hard of how not to make it a lengthy feature, something else caught my attention and made me quickly realise that we can have one big fact around the number 11 and that fact might reflect the current trend of NFL being pass happy.
Without further blubbering about: Did you know that the rushing touchdown leader in 2015, recorded only 11 touchdowns? 
To be precise there were four running backs that finished 2015 season with 11 rushing touchdowns but the last time the NFL leader was crowned with only 11 rush TD was all the way in 1987. That’s nearly 30 years ago, and funny enough it wasn’t only one player that topped the sheet that year. In 1987 it was two running backs, Johnny Hector and Charles White.
For both of them, 11 rushing touchdowns in one season were their career bests and for White the 1987 campaign accounted for 47.8% of his career total as he retired from playing with 23 rush TD to his name. Hector on the other hand, managed one more season with double digits in rush TD and it was the season following his record setting one. Both of his double digit seasons were worth 51.2% of his career total 41.
I don’t know really that much when it comes to football or its history but I’m pretty sure neither of these two champions of 1987 were considered to be dominant running backs but somehow they both had a year that was worth being crowned a leader.
Back to the present and we have four running backs sharing the crown and these include Jeremy Hill, DeAngelo Williams, DeVonta Freeman and Adrian Peterson. Both, Peterson and Williams were leagues leading running backs in touchdowns before. Both of them led the league by amassing 18 rush TD in a season and they were spread by one season as Peterson took crown from Williams in 2009.
Beside 2014, when Peterson played one game before loosing rest of the season to a suspension, he never recorded less than 10 rushing TD. As for Williams, he surpassed single rushing TD digit barrier twice in his career and this earned him the crown each time.
Freeman and Hill are youngsters and everything is ahead(?) of them. Have we witnessed a passing the baton situation here with these four running backs leading the league? Will Hill who has 20 rushing TD in two seasons go and follow the path of Anderson? And will Freeman’s performance be a bit irregular as it was in case of Williams’? Freeman has recorded 12 rush TD in two seasons. Time will tell.
And what about the low number of rushing touchdowns? Will we witness a champion who rushed for under 10 touchdowns in a season, the last time it happened it was all the way back in 1957 when Jim Brown recorded 9.
Or perhaps we will see quarterbacks being crowned the rushing TD champions as Cam Newton was only one rushing TD shy of joining the four running backs mentioned above in 2015?
It is funny how from researching something about interceptions I ended up finding a nice little gem in rushing touchdowns. I hope that the number 10 will be as nice to me as the number 11 was in helping me to kill yet another footballless Sunday. Single digits soon. Keep well!


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