There is much talk about the status of LaDainian Tomlinson, further referred to, and forever known as L.T. There are many fans, many who simply know football history, and many haters that have felt the need to chime in on the career and the possibility of a decline is what has been one of the greatest careers in NFL history.
For now, let's focus on what the man L.T. has done on the field.
During his junior season in 1999 at TCU, he set an NCAA record for yards in one game with 406 against UTEP.
He won the Doak Walker Award as the nation's best running back his senior year in 2000. Later he won the Senior Bowl Most Valuable Player standing out competing against the greatest college players to nation had to offer.
- Holds the all-time NFL record for single season touchdowns (31).
- Holds the all-time NFL record for single season rushing touchdowns (28).
- Holds the all-time NFL record for the most points scored in a single season (186).
- Holds the all-time NFL record for most consecutive games with a rushing touchdown (18).
- Holds the NFL record for most consecutive multi-touchdown games (8).
- Tied the record for most consecutive games with a touchdown score with Hall of Fame fullback Lenny Moore (18).
- Tied for third place for most career 200-yard rushing games with several other players (4).
- Holds the all-time San Diego Chargers record for most career rushing yards (11,760).
- Holds the all-time San Diego Chargers record for most career touchdowns (141).
- Holds the all-time NFL record for fewest games needed to achieve 100 touchdowns, with his 100th career touchdown (90 rushing, 10 receiving) in his 89th game (breaking the previous record of achieving the mark in the 93rd game of a career, which was done by both Jim Brown and Emmitt Smith).
- Second place on the list of NFL all-time rushing touchdown leaders -- behind Emmitt Smith who played for 15 years.
- In 2006 Tomlinson became the second player in NFL history to score 4 touchdowns in 2 straight games (Marshall Faulk is the other).
- Holds the record for most touchdowns scored in a five game span with 16 TDs (14 rushing, 2 receiving), breaking his own record of 15 that he had set two weeks earlier. Prior to that, the record was held by Jim Brown with 14.
- Became the only player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards and receive 100 passes in a single season.
- Second player in NFL history with 1,800 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in one season.
- Joins Emmitt Smith, Priest Holmes, Shaun Alexander, and Marshall Faulk as the only running backs to record consecutive seasons of 20 or more touchdowns.
Only Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Curtis Martin, Jerome Bettis,Eric Dickerson, Tony Dorsett, Jim Brown, Marshall Faulk, Marcus Allen, Franco Harris, Thurman Thomas, Edgerrin James, John Riggins, Corey Dillon, O. J. Simpson, Fred Taylor, Ricky Watters, Warrick Dunn, Tiki Barber, Eddie George, Ottis Anderson, Jamal Lewis have over 10,000 yards in the NFL other than L.T.
Rarely does a non QB win MVP, and if not a QB it seems to go to a RB. L.T. has won that honor, and of the last 20 years, he is Clearly the most deserving RB to do so have produced the best TD and yard from scrimmage seasons.
Unlike some, of the three major and each minor group naming an NFL MVP, L.T. was a unanimous selection.
L.T. is as sure handed as the come. His ball skills are what seperates him from the pack when comparing the greatest RBs of all time. None before him have displayed the versitile skill set that L.T. brings to each and every game. Running, receiving, passing, blocking and playing decoy has never been handled so well by a player. Where some might argue Jim Brown's power or barry Sanders finesse, L.T. has displayed both, and on consecutive plays. Where some marvel over Marshall Faulks ability to break a game wide open with either rushing or receiving, L.T. has done both at times, and in combination much like Faulk. Short yardage, long gains, trick plays. We have seen it all from L.T., and have never been left wanting on any topic of what we'd like our RB to possess.
To put just how sure handed L.T. is into perspective, let's compare him to an up and comer that many feel has taken over L.T.'s spotlight and some all time greats.
- L.T. has fumbled a total of 25 in 3178 touches over an 8 years career. 0.07%
- Adrian Peterson has fumbled a total of 13 times in 641 touches over a 2 year career. 2.0%
- Barry Sanders had fumbled a total of 41 times in 3414 touches over a 10 year career. 1.2%
- Walter Payton had fumbled a total of 86 times in 4364 touches over a 13 year career. 1.9%
L.T.'s ability to not only give his team more yards from scrimmage year after year on average (Barry Sanders is the only back even close to L.T. in that regard), but to secure the football is nothing short of amazing.
There are those that contend L.T. is not a great running back. There are those that doubt his place in a conversation involving Jim, Walter, Barry and others.
Those people do not know their football history.
Those people don't recognize that they got to see one of the greatest players of all time doing what he does best, better than those before him.
To LaDainian Tomlinson, it is a pleasure to watch you work. And there are many good years ahead of you.