Running backs used to be royalty.
Back when the game film was black and white, and when the white lines were unkempt and covered in grime, running backs weren’t simply accessories to an offensive scheme. Running backs were the scheme; the engines with which the offense hummed.
In the modern NFL, with the evolution of strategy and analytics, teams need to debate whether illustrious backs like Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin Gordon deserve to be paid. But there was a time when the debate was so much simpler.
In a vacuum, running isn’t a complex mode of movement. It’s a linear, low-upside method of yard accumulation, paling in comparison to the intrinsic potential of the forward pass. But if a player is special enough, he can make running more than simple kinetic motion.
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He can make running an art. And that’s what these 15 Washington Redskins running backs did.