This Former Chiefs All-Pro Doesn’t Deserve The Hall Of Fame

August 10, 2022

There’s plenty of talk among Chiefs fans about whether or not this incredible former running back belongs in the Hall of Fame. Sadly, despite his impressive resume, he falls just short of what should be expected.

Lately this time of year, a big question rolls through the Chiefs Kingdom; should Jamaal Charles be in the NFL Hall of Fame? I’ll explain why that answer is clearly no.

The NFL Hall of Fame ceremony was this past weekend in Canton, Ohio. Every fan base in the NFL spends this time of the year debating who should or shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame. Training camp has gotten boring, pre-season games are a week away, and what else is there to discuss? Well in Kansas City, the biggest debated former Chiefs player in regard to the Hall of Fame is Jamaal Charles.

I want to start off by saying I love Jamaal Charles. He was one of the most fun players in the NFL I have ever seen because you just never knew when he’d break one. It reminded me a lot of watching Barry Sanders when I was a kid. You watched him even when he had five carries in a row for negative yards because you knew his next carry could go 90 yards.

Charles played on some of the worst teams in Chiefs history, yet he was a reason to watch just to see what he was going to do next. He finished his career with the Chiefs as the team’s all-time leading rusher, and it wasn’t close. He finished with 7,260 yards. That is 1,200 yards more than Priest Holmes in only 11 more career carries. Yes, you read that right, in just 11 more carries he ran for almost 1,200 yards more than Priest. He did that because he averaged 5.5 yards per carry compared to just 4.6 for Holmes.

As The Best Chiefs Running Back Ever, Charles Still Falls Short

Charles finished his 11-year NFL career with 7,563 rushing yards, 44 touchdowns, and 2,593 receiving yards. He set an NFL record with 5.4 yards per carry for his career, breaking Jim Brown’s record of 5.2. He was a two-time first-team All-Pro, one-time second-team All-Pro, and four-time Pro Bowler. I would say he is the greatest running back in Chiefs’ history.

He may be the “GOAT” in Kansas City, but unfortunately, that alone doesn’t make one an NFL Hall of Famer. Great reporters in Kansas City like Seth Keysor and the guys at Arrowhead Pride, post multiple articles a year talking about how Charles should be a lock. They both had articles just last week on the subject, they are great reads I would highly recommend checking out. But they are talking from their hearts and not from their heads. They bring out new-age analytics and stuff that only the truly hardcore NFL people can even understand.

As in any walk of life, if you have to dig that deep to try and convince people of something, that says something. The reason they have to dig so deep in analytics and behind-the-numbers type of stuff is that his actual resume screams loud and clear that he should not even be in the conversation for the Hall of Fame.

He has one Hall-worthy stat, that is the fact he’s the all-time yards per carry leader. It is an awesome record and something Charles should be proud of. Anytime you can say you broke a record that was over 50 years old, it is a big deal. Breaking a record of one of someone who is in the debate for greatest of all time in their sport, it’s a big deal. If I was Charles I would add “5.4” on the end of every autograph I give.

As great as that stat is, nobody in the NFL has made the Hall of Fame based on one statistic. He never led the league in rushing or all-purpose yards. He only recorded a double-digit touchdown season twice in his career. His most rushing yards in a season were 1,509 yards and his most all-purpose yards were 1,950. They are very good seasons that any running back would be happy to have on their resume, but they are not Hall of Fame seasons of modern-era running backs.

The most common player you hear compared to Charles in order to say he deserves to be in the Hall is former Denver Bronco, Terrell Davis. Like Charles, Davis had a short injury-plagued career only playing for seven seasons in the NFL. Neither have career totals that are Hall of Fame worthy. Both players finished with around 7,500 yards rushing and 65 touchdowns. With that said, it is the individual and team resumes that put a Grand Canyon-sized gap between the two players.

First is the team success, which yes matters. Charles played in only two playoff games in his career, losing both of them. Meanwhile, Davis played in eight on his way to winning two Super Bowls and winning the MVP of Super Bowl 32. But team success alone did not warrant Davis’ enshrinement into the Hall.

As an individual in 1998 Davis became just the fourth player in NFL history at the time to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season. Four players have done so since, for a total of eight running backs in the history of the NFL who have accomplished that feat. That same season he won the NFL Offensive Player of the Year award for the second time, and the NFL Most Valuable Player award. Also in his trophy case is the AFC All-Rookie Team in 1996, three-time first-team All-Pro awards, and a member of the 1990’s All-Decade Team.

You can give me all the fancy analytics you want, but the NFL Hall of Fame is based on a player’s actual resume. I’ve been to the Hall in Canton, it is an amazing museum and a trip any NFL fan should make. No plaque has “Rushing Yards Over Expected” listed in the player’s resume. I have no problem with analytics, but they have nothing to do with the Hall whether anyone likes it or not. The Hall of Fame is based on a resume and what a player accomplishes in their career that makes them not just great, but one of the greatest of all time.

I said it at the beginning of this article, Jamaal Charles is great. In my opinion, he is the greatest running back in Chiefs’ history. Unfortunately, being a great Chiefs player is not the barometer of who belongs in the Hall. Every fan base has a handful of guys that they can not believe are not in. That is the point of the Hall, it should be reserved for only the greatest of the greats. Charles was great, but his career does not qualify him for being among the greatest in league history.


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