With LeSean McCoy retiring as an Eagle and being honored Sunday at the Linc, it’s a good time to explore his Hall of Fame chances.
McCoy rushed for over 11,000 yards, caught over 500 passes, piled up 15,000 scrimmage yards and made six Pro Bowls in his brilliant 12-year career.
Because 2020 was his final season, McCoy will be eligible for the 2025 voting process and the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2026.
If I were standing in front of the Hall of Fame selection committee, here are 10 points I would make in support of Shady’s candidacy.
His yards per carry is crazy
McCoy’s 4.52 career yards-per-carry mark is seventh-highest in NFL history among running backs with 2,000 career carries. It’s higher than 29 of the 40 running backs already in the Hall of Fame, including Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, LaDainian Tomlinson, Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk, Tony Dorsett and Earl Campbell.
Scrimmage yards are off the charts
Shady’s 15,000 scrimmage yards are 18th-most in NFL history by a running back, 26th-most by any player and fourth-most among backs who averaged at least 4.5 yards per carry. During the 12-year period that he played — 2009 through 2020 — McCoy had over 1,000 more scrimmage yards than any other running back. Adrian Peterson was second with 13,792.
Big-time receiving numbers
During his 12 NFL seasons, McCoy led all NFL running backs with 518 receptions. That’s the 15th-most catches ever by an NFL running back. McCoy had seven seasons with at least 40 catches, and only seven running backs have had more. Shady is one of only seven players in NFL history with 10,000 rushing yards and 500 catches and one of only two with an average of 4.5 or higher.
Best of the decade
Most people might guess that Peterson was the NFL’s best running back in the decade of the 2010s, but Shady has him beat. From 2010 through 2019, McCoy led the NFL with 10,434 rushing yards and 13,923 scrimmage yards. He had nearly 1,700 more scrimmage yards than any other NFL player during the decade and more than 2,000 more rushing yards. It’s often said that if you’re the best in the league over a five-year period, you’re a Hall of Famer. Shady was the best over a 10-year period.
Crunch time Shady
Eight times in his career, McCoy took off on a 40-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. That’s an NFL record. Peterson has seven career 40-yard fourth-quarter TD runs and nobody else in the history of the game has more than four.
Pro Bowls, All-Pro
McCoy made six Pro Bowls and first-team All-Pro twice. Of 18 eligible running backs who’ve made six Pro Bowls, the only ones who aren’t in the Hall of Fame are Don Perkins — who never ran for 1,000 yards in eight seasons with the Cowboys in the 1960s — and Mike Alstott, who was a fullback. The only eligible RBs in the last 50 years who made All-Pro at least twice and aren’t in the Hall of Fame are Alstott and Priest Holmes, who had a very short career.
Team of the decade
McCoy was named to the NFL’s 2010s All-Decade team. The only running backs named to an All-Decade team since 1940 who aren’t in the Hall of Fame are Byron “Whizzer” White from the 1940s, who only played three years (and later became a Supreme Court justice), and John David Crow, who made the 1960s All-Decade team despite averaging just 453 yards per season in the 1960s.
Shady had a long, productive career at a position where running backs rarely do. McCoy played in 170 games in his career. Among regular running backs in NFL history, only Peterson played in more games and had a higher rushing average. McCoy is one of only 14 RBs in history with eight straight seasons of 200 carries and one of only six, along with A.P., Barry Sanders, Jim Brown, Frank Gore and Dickerson, to average 4.0 yards per carry with at least 200 carries for seven straight years.
The Hall of Fame monitor
Pro Football Reference’s Hall of Fame monitor considers players at every position and measures their Hall of Fame chances based on numerous metrics compared to Hall of Famers and then assigns them a score that makes it easy to compare them to Hall of Famers at their position. Shady’s Hall of Fame metric score is 83.14, and every eligible running back in history with a score that high is already in the Hall of Fame. Peterson and Gore are higher but not eligible. And the monitor doesn’t even consider receiving stats.
He's got two rings
Yeah, he was a backup on both the 2019 Chiefs and 2020 Buccaneers, but he was a part of both teams and did finish his career with two rings. He’s now one of only four running backs in NFL history with two Super Bowl rings and six Pro Bowls. The others are Franco Harris, Smith and Lenny Moore. You may roll your eyes because he didn’t play in those Super Bowls, but the Hall of Fame committee does take that kind of thing into consideration.
This is an updated version of a story that originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia in February.
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