Is LeSean McCoy a Hall of Famer?

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Reuben Frank
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Is LeSean McCoy a Hall of Famer? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Is LeSean McCoy a Hall of Famer?

The question came up recently after Shady went on the All Things Covered podcast with long-time NFL cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Bryan McFadden and made the case for himself.

“Hopefully, I’ll get a gold jacket,” McCoy said. “Not to brag on myself or pump me up. I’ve got the numbers, I’ve got stats, I’ve got two championships, and I’ve been the best running back in my decade. ... In my era, I’ve been the best.”

McCoy spent this past season with the Super Bowl-champion Buccaneers, and he hinted that he’s likely to retire, although he said he would consider playing another year in the right situation.

Five years after he does retire, he’ll be eligible for consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

If I were standing in front of the Hall of Fame committee, here’s the case I would make for Shady:

HIS YARDS PER CARRY IS CRAZY: McCoy’s 4.52 career yards-per-carry mark is 7th-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 Falk, 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 ever by any player and 4th-highest 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 all-time by an NFL running back. McCoy had seven seasons with at least 40 catches, and only seven running backs have ever 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 Adrian 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 4th-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 1st-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. 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.

HE’S GOT TWO RINGS: Yes, he was a backup on both the 2019 Chiefs and 2020 Buccaneers, but he was a part of both teams and he finished 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, Emmitt Smith and Lenny Moore. You may laugh because he didn’t play in those Super Bowls, but the Hall of Fame committee does take that kind of thing into consideration. 

TEAM OF THE DECADE: McCoy was named to the 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.

THE HALL OF FAME MONITOR: Pro Football Reference’s Hall of Fame monitor is 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 Frank Gore are higher but obviously not yet eligible. Not that the monitor does not consider receiving stats.