By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard
Roger Craig may not be a household name outside of the Bay Area. Even then, non football fans may not know that he played running back for the San Francisco 49ers from 1983-1990. He should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame though. Why? He redefined the position of running back.
Roger Craig played came into the NFL in 1983. He immediately redefined what it meant to be a running back in the league. He did the three things that every organization looks for nowadays in the league, a back that can run, catch and block.
It sounds elementary but before Craig the running back position traditionally just ran and blocked when needed. It wasn’t a threat in the passing game. Craig was. In fact Roger Craig was the first running back in NFL history to have 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in a single season (Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk has since duplicated the effort). He is also the only running back in NFL history to have over 100 yards receiving in a Super Bowl.
His other stats we’re impressive as well:
-3 time Super Bowl Champion
-4 time Pro Bowler (at two positions mind you)
-1988 Offensive Player of the Year
Yes he did play on some of the best teams in NFL history in San Francisco. He had a tremendous line blocking for him and Joe Montana as a quarterback. He was however a major reason why the West Coast Offense and the 49ers were so successful. They needed him to be as versatile as he was to be as successful as they were.
There are plenty of other names deserving of a spot in the Hall of Fame (Will Shields anyone?). Roger Craig should be at the top of that list. For someone who helped change the game to what we know it today, he should get the credit he deserves.