If the powers-that-be ever listen to Deion Sanders and add an upper room to the Hall of Fame, the first running back in would be a no-brainer. And even if the upper room never happens, we’ll all be reminded of the greatness of Jim Brown, every single year.
Emmitt Smith and Barry Sanders announced during the NFL Honors that the annual rushing title will be named for Brown, from this point forward.
It’s a fitting honor for the man who ruled the position for nine years, until he chose to walk away for a career in Hollywood. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry for his entire career, peaking with a ridiculous 6.4 yard per attempt and a then record 1,863 total yards in 1963.
Back then they played 14 games. By today’s standards, Brown would have 2,262 yards.
Or maybe more. In the 1960s, defenses focused on stopping the run, because the rules had yet to skew things toward the pass. Even so, Brown was able to tear through defenses like no one else.
The first winner of the Jim Brown Award was Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, who led the league with 1,653 yards.
“It is a true honor to be named as the first recipient of the Jim Brown Award,” Jacobs said in a press release. “Jim’s excellence on the football field was unparalleled and his role as a leader off the field showed his unwavering strength and commitment to the community. Jim’s impact can be felt today and his legacy continues through everyone that strives to make a difference. I am beyond proud to receive an award named for such a great man.”
It’s a great move by the NFL. And maybe it’s a sign that other single-season statistical leaders will be given awards that bear the names of other all-time greats, in time.