In the NFL news today was the list of finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. There were some obvious selections, including Jerry Rice – whom I consider to be the greatest player in the modern era. I’m a huge Jerry Rice fan.
But there was another 49er on that list that I think doesn’t get the credit her deserves: Roger Craig. To this day, he stands as my favorite NFL player – even above Rice, Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, and Steve Young. That’s probably because I love Craig’s style of game so much.
In recess and street football games as a kid, he was the guy I always wanted to be. The running back, with high knees that slowed the tackles (or two-hand touches, as the case usually was). The out-of-the-backfield receiver that no one wanted to cover. Don’t get me wrong, I loved playing quarterback too; but as one of the fastest kids at that age, it made more sense to get me the ball quickly and let me go.
Nostalgia aside, there’s a strong case for enshrining Craig in the Hall of Fame. He may not have been the Eric Dickerson or even Marcus Allen of his era, but what he did helped revolutionize the way the running back position is played and valued in an offense. His 1000/1000 season still holds as one of the greatest single season performances of all-time.
It’s time for a Roger Craig bust in Canton.