HOUSTON (CBS) — The 2017 Hall of Fame class is official, headlined by a pair of running backs who epitomized the importance of the running game during the stretch of time they spent in the NFL. The juxtaposition of Terrell Davis and LaDainian Tomlinson is fascinating too, from a Hall of Fame perspective.
Tomlinson played for a relatively long time (11 years) and was essentially dominant the entire time, coming out of the gates hot and only really struggling during his final year with the Jets. Davis was the opposite, playing only seven seasons and only really dominating for four of those years.
But when Davis played well, he was incredible. He played in eight playoff games and his numbers are staggering: Davis carried the ball 204 times in the postseason, rushing for 1,140 yards and 5.6 yards per carry, while scoring 12 touchdowns in those games.
They are the headliners of an impressive class that includes defensive end Jason Taylor, quarterback Kurt Warner and kicker Morten Anderson.
Jerry Jones and Kenny Easley were also inducted.
2017 Hall of Fame Class
LaDainian Tomlinson: The long-time Chargers running back had a nose for the end zone like few guys to carry the ball. He was a modern back before modern backs were big, dominating as both a power runner and as a passer. Tomlinson was the 2006 NFL MVP and made three All-Pro teams. It should have probably been more — he was one of the all-time greats to ever suit up, but never found the postseason success that would have really cemented his legacy. Tomlinson led the league in rushing yards twice (2006, 2007) and rushing touchdowns three times (2004, 2006, 2007).
Terrell Davis: The running back was a superstar for the Broncos for a brief period of time, playing just seven seasons. But man, was he dynamic during those years: Davis averaged 1,603 rushing yards during his first four seasons with Denver and ran for 2,008 yards in 1998. His playoff performances helped John Elway and the Broncos earn a pair of Super Bowl victories, with Davis rushing for 581 yards in the 1997 playoffs (four games) and 468 rushing yards in the 1998 playoffs (three games). He put Denver on his back and brought the Broncos championship hardware.
Jason Taylor: The defensive end was a standout for the Dolphins during most of his career, earning a reputation as one of the more dominant and consistent pass rushers in the game. Taylor finished his career with 139.5 sacks, seventh most all time in NFL history. Taylor finished his career with six different seasons where he had double digit sacks and led the league with 18.5 sacks in 2002. Taylor also finished his career with 46 forced fumbles, eight interceptions (three returned for touchdowns) and 29 fumble recoveries (six returned for touchdowns).
Kurt Warner: One of very few players to lead multiple teams to the Super Bowl, Warner was just a few plays away from being a three-time Super Bowl winner during his career. After leading the Greatest Show on Turf to a title in the 1999 season, Warner and the Rams were upset by the Patriots during the first title of the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era. Warner came out of nowhere during the 1999 season to become league and Super Bowl MVP, completing 65.1 percent of his passes for 4,353 yards and 41 touchdowns. He would lead the league in completion percentage that season and the two after, as well as lead the league in passing yards (4,830) in 2001. After leaving St. Louis, Warner would re-emerge with the Cardinals and make the Pro Bowl in 2008 while leading Arizona within a legendary Santonio Holmes touchdown catch of a Super Bowl for the Cardinals.
Morten Anderson: One of the best kickers of all time, Anderson played a ridiculous 25 years. He’s only the second kicker ever to make the Hall of Fame and is the leading scorer in NFL history. Anderson made an impressive 79.7 percent of his kicks over the course of his career.