I’m researching to write a defense of whether Herschel Walker deserves a spot in the “Professional Football” Hall of Fame. Soon I’ll compare only his NFL statistics to those of the 30 other “modern day” running backs already in Canton, as well as other less quantifiable factors.
Before I do, it’s quite revealing to compare his combined professional statistics (NFL and USFL) to those immortals already enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame…
13,787 rushing yards: retired 2nd all-time to Walter Payton (since passed by Emmitt Smith & Barry Sanders).
6,343 receiving yards: retired 1st all-time for a RB (since passed by Marshall Faulk).
5,084 return yards: remains 1st all-time among HOF RBs.
25,214 all-purpose yards: remains 1st all-time.
145 touchdowns: retired tied with Marcus Allen for 1st all-time among RBs (since passed by Emmitt Smith).
241 games played: remains 1st all-time among HOF RBs
15 seasons played: remains tied for 2nd all-time among HOF RBs, behind Joe Perry (16).
1,681 average all-purpose yards per season: retired 2nd all-time to Jim Brown.
919 average rushing yards per season: retired trailing only Jim Brown (9), Walter Payton (13), Earl Campbell (8), Eric Dickerson (12), Tony Dorsett (12), OJ Simpson (11), and Franco Harris (13). Years played in parenthesis.
The website also notes certain collegiate accomplishments, like winning the Heisman Trophy. In 2009 ABC Sports recognized Hershel as one of the top five players in college football history.
32,200: Herschel’s combined all-purpose yards, college and pro.
27,588: Jerry Rice’s combined college and pro yards.
21,803: Walter Payton’s NFL all-purpose yards. Payton did not gain 6,000 yards in college, much less ten thousand.
By adding his 3,167 rushing yards as a high school senior, Herschel gained over 35,000 yards in 19 years.