Curtis Martin Reveals his Mount Rushmore of NFL Running Backs
One of the best running backs in the history of the NFL, Curtis Martin sees three legendary running backs and a transformational one for his Mount Rushmore at the position.
Martin, who spent the first three years of his NFL career with the New England Patriots before being traded to the New York Jets, put together an 11-year NFL career that ranks among the best in the history of the league. Five times a Pro Bowl pick, Martin is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Jets ‘Ring of Honor.’
When asked his Mount Rushmore of NFL running backs, Martin was given the option of including himself as one of the four names. He rattled off three names rather quickly before needing to weigh the fourth and final name.
“I wouldn’t put myself up there,” Martin told Sports Illustrated’s Jets Country.
“I would put Barry Sanders, Jim Brown, Emmitt Smith…Who else would I put up there? One more. You know someone else I might put up there and this might be a surprise to a lot of people. I just think the way he came in and the way he played the game was very unique was Marshall Faulk.”
The inclusion of Sanders and Brown should not be a surprise as both were dominant players who, not surprisingly, are considered the best running backs of all-time. Smith is open to some debate as he surely was among the best to ever play the game and is the NFL’s all-time leading rusher. But the former Dallas Cowboys running back (and briefly as well forgettable time as an Arizona Cardinal) was not nearly as dominant as either Sanders or Brown.
Faulk, however, is an interesting name for Martin to include. No. 12 all-time in rushing yardage, Faulk was included not as much for his dominance like Brown or Sanders or his longevity like Smith.
Instead, the way he changed the position is a factor in why Martin included Faulk as his fourth running back on Mount Rushmore.
“Marshall Faulk was a really interesting guy to me,” Martin said.
“Because his ability to catch the ball out of the field – he was the first back that I saw do it in a way that I thought was extraordinary.”
Martin is sixth all-time in rushing with 14,101 yards.
The two-time All-Pro running back spoke as part of a media tour for Pepsi, who transformed the backyard of a family of Jets fans into a ‘Homegate’ experience complete with parking spaces, stadium seating, a new grill and other amenities.
Martin said that as a player, he liked to go out to see fans after games and enjoy tailgates with them, wanting to show his appreciation for their support.