Ranking Tony D

A few commenters (OK one)  found it interesting that when I did my off the cuff Top Ten running backs list, I didn't rank Tony Dorsett in the group. It's even more interesting because Tony Dorsett is probably my favorite football player of all time. I became a Cowboys fan when I was five--the year we lost to the Eagles in the championship game. I can still here my Dad (Philly native) trash-talking me.

Anyway, I loved Tony Dorsett and found the sight of him in a Denver Broncos jersey to be an abomination against God. The problem is I was watching him at such a young age, and couldn't really get a handle on his game. Even now, Dorsett highlights don't stick out the way Barry Sanders, Earl Campbell, Jim Brown and Gale Sayers do. He reminds me a lot of Eric Dickerson in that way--you basically just see this guy outrunning fools. That's not to demean him, so much to outline the difficulty of getting a handle on him.

He also doesn't have something like, say, a 2,000 yard season. He was much faster than Emmitt Smith, and much more of a break-away threat, but he doesn't have a "separated shoulder" game. He doesn't have a game like Payton's 270-yarder. Dorsett was just a great running back for a very long time. But his greatness is deceptiive. At the end of this clip there's a 99.5 yard scamper which, at the time, was the longest offensive play in NFL history. There's a moment when Dorsett is surrounded by, like, four guys. And then they all seemingly disappear.

Anyway, wherever he ranks, he was an incredible running back. Also, dig him catching bombs out the back field.