LeSean McCoy makes the case that he’s better than Adrian Peterson


Eagles running back LeSean McCoy says that he, not Adrian Peterson, is the best running back in the NFL.

“My brother always rips me all the time, trying to make me play harder. I say, ‘I’m the best,’ and he’ll say, ‘Did Adrian Peterson retire?’ I look at the last three years and everything. I think AP has been the best back for so long, and he’s been doing it for so long, that’s why he automatically gets the best running back [title],” McCoy said on ESPN. “But the last three years? I’ve been All-Pro, first-team, twice. I never leave the field. I block. I catch. I never leave the field. I don’t have anybody do my job; I do it myself. Tons of credit goes out to Adrian Peterson. I’m a big fan of his, for sure. But I feel I’m the best.”

McCoy is correct that he’s been first-team All-Pro two of the last three years, while Peterson has only been first-team All-Pro once in the last three years. He’s also correct that he’s on the field more than Peterson: According to the snap counts at Football Outsiders, McCoy played 79.1 percent of the Eagles’ offensive snaps last season, while Peterson played 64.7 percent of the Vikings’ offensive snaps. So although McCoy’s claim that he “never” leaves the field is an overstatement, he does have a point there.

Of course, it’s easier to be productive in the Eagles’ offense than it is in the Vikings’ offense. Does anyone really doubt that Peterson would have put up big numbers if he were on the Eagles last year? And does anyone seriously believe that McCoy would have had anything close to the numbers he had last year if he were playing in an offense that had Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman at quarterback?

What McCoy really seems to be saying is that he produces more in Philadelphia than Peterson produces in Minnesota. That doesn’t necessarily mean McCoy is the better player.

107 responses to “LeSean McCoy makes the case that he’s better than Adrian Peterson

  1. I can’t knock the guy for taking that position. I lose respect for any veteran that puts themselves behind another veteran in the rankings. That said… C’mon son! haha

  2. Right stop it McCoy. If Bridgewater can actually play this year there’s no doubt I think he’ll be better than Nick Foles and AP is gonna make you look like a scrub.

  3. They both play the same position, but they are far from the same type of player. They also play for teams that are completely different style-wise. Peterson might play fewer snaps, but he might take more hits than McCoy due to his running style. McCoy is more versatile. I am not sure where I am going with this…but they are both game changers.

  4. At this point in their careers I think McCoy has way more to offer. He’s a all around back. He is way more explosive with moves like Barry sanders. Like I said at this point in their careers age and carries I would hands down take McCoy over Peterson.

  5. Emmitt Smith had a more productive career than Barry Sanders. Emmitt Smith wasn’t better than Barry Sanders.. Sorry LeSean

  6. If Adrian Peterson took a two year hiatus from football, and Lesean McCoy rushed for 2,ooo yards, two years in a row, he still would have less rushing yards than Adrian Peterson……

  7. LeSean McCoy’s low turnovers and receiving ability for the win.

    2013 LeSean McCoy Statistics:

    1 fumble
    1607 rushing yards – 9 rushing tds
    539 receiving yards – 2 rushing tds
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    2013 adrian peterson Statistics:

    5 fumbles
    1266 rushing yards – 10 rushing tds
    171 receiving yards – 1 rushing tds

  8. People always talk about passing the torch and that “father time is undefeated”, but few accept the fact that ASP is getting older and his production has been surpassed.

    You can’t have it both ways. You may not like Shady, but he is at the top of NFL RBs today. AP is a freak of nature, but even he will succumb to injuries and time. His touches will decrease, but his physical style still leads to injury.

    Using him less, opens the door for Shady and other younger RBs. He’s already far exceeded his expiration date. Keeping him healthy means fewer touches … period.

  9. Dear Shady,

    You are no doubt, now, a more productive RB that Peterson, point blank. The stats don’t lie.

    Also, It would be interesting to see AP in Reid or Kelly’s O and u in whatever-bilbo-is-running-the-vikes’ O.


    AP is already a HOFer and you aren’t (yet :)), too. I’d love to hear that for you, followed by once-again outperforming everyone in the field. I also like to see less karma-build-up against that.

    I appreciate honesty and the condition of being asked a Q in an interview, but there’s a better way to answer… one which shows even MORE that you ARE the best.

    Anyway… just keep up the production bro!


    Probably most eagle fans

  10. Seriously guys, I mean look at 2 years ago when Peterson missed the last few games of that season for destroying his knee…I totally was on the field more that year!!

  11. AP is the better player by a large margin. He also plays for the Vikes. put him on a decent deam and he would have a couple Super Bowls by now.

  12. McCoy you are rediculous. Just stop please! You sound like a child!

    AP would run for 8,000 yards a year in your offense and we all know it.

    And here’s some other bad news for you McCoy Id take Jamaal Charles over you as well!

  13. Haahaha nice try Shady, nice try. You’re a very good NFL RB. But son, Adrian is in a leauge of his own.
    No one is close when it comes to taking the rock from the QB and running with it. That’s what real RB’s do first, they run with the ball. Don’t kid yourself by putting your name next to his. Do not ever disrespect Mr. Peterson again.

  14. ask the defensive coordinators who is harder to game plan against. My guess it’s McCoy better all around tools.

  15. My dad always said, “If you have to say how good you are, you’re probably not as good as you think you are.”

  16. Run for 2,000 yards the year after a serious late season knee injury with no threat of a passing game and we will consider it. Until then, shut up.

  17. Always seems strange when one player feels the need to assert that they are better than another. They should save that for closed door contract negotiations; outside of that, let the film speak for itself.

  18. Enough with this “Look at me!” crap, Shady. Keep your mouth shut and let your play do the talking. Let the talking heads debate who the best RB is.

    I know one thing…. Adrian Peterson is better at Twitter.

  19. Absolutely nothing wrong with McCoy having this attitude, it’s one I expect and enjoy seeing out of a competitor. However, the Eagles offensive line may have been strong last season, but in 2012 it was horrid, and McCoy still had a great year. Making the claim he’d be average if he played on the Vikings I feel is a bit ungenerous given his accomplishments even during what was a very down year for Philly’s offense in ’12, given that he still was able to put up big numbers and basically carry that team.

  20. McCoy is also a beast and yes, even with a very talented back up, Bryce Brown, he barely gets to see the field when McCoy is healthy. I’m talking maybe 3-5 touches per game.

    No Eagles fan by any means, but even fantasy stats wise, McCoy is always producing solid numbers on a consistent basis. I think he makes a strong case for being the overall #1 back.

    AP is an animal and is widely considered the top overall back by the experts. If he is, he’s not overwhelmingly that better than McCoy.

    In favor of AP, the poll should read something similar:

    AP 55%
    LM 45%

  21. “Shady” just won’t shut up, geez-me-Christmas, dude. You just “ain’t all that” and I sincerely doubt you’ll ever make it to Canton unless Chip Kelly devises some way for you to fetch 17 TDs again, like you did in 2011 under Andy Reid/Marty Mornhinweg. And on top of that, you ain’t even ran for 2K yet, like both A.P. and C.J.(2K). Bruh… just shut up lol

  22. @therealbillybuffalo…… AP isn’t making the case that he is better than McCoy. He is busy making babies in each state of this country and running away from the responsibility.

    I wish McCoy would shut up. He is a great back. And I cringe when he opens his mouth.

  23. McCoy I agree you are top 3 if not number one and EVERYONE knows that. But take the high road and avoid bad karma by just saying AP is really good and leaving it at that. Keep doing what your doing and worry about yourself and one day your career may be looked back upon as being the caliber of Barry and AP.

  24. Competitive people need someone to raise the bar in order for them to raise their game. That’s the nature of competition. But all this talk of “who’s the best” or G.O.A.T is just dust in the wind, so much hot air.

    Instead of worrying about being “The Best” focus on being Great. A great football player, a great teammate, a great father, son or husband. A great man.

    McCoy has distinguished himself in the game of football and he still has 7 or 8 years to keep improving.

    Arriba, LeSean.

  25. The best don’t need to convince others that they are the best… McCoy, you are most definitely not the best running back in the nfl

  26. Lol what a fool. Run for 2k then we will have this conversation. And while you’re at it, break the single game rushing record.

  27. Better than Adrian Peterson? … Um … weren’t those Chris Johnson’s famous last words?

  28. Let’s be VERY clear, Jamal Charles is really good but he is s distant third in this discussion and bringing him up with AP and Shady makes you look dumb or you’re not watching the NFL apparently. There are 2 top tier backs and those are AP and Shady. Second, how exactly is it Shady’s fault that Minny has an awful front office and never put a good enough team around him?.. That argument is insane. The Eagles are just a much better run organization than Minny, that is neither AP’s fault or Shady, so saying one would be better in the well run Eagles offense better than the other is an absurd premise because it’s impossible to prove. They are both starting RBs and the other way to look at it is to say “well AP is the only weapon on that sad Minny team so he got the whole offense based around him” unlike the Eagles who’ve actually had other good players. Either way, dumb argument.
    Third, AP may have been the best RB in the league up until this last year, but statistically Shady was better, Shady is faster, Shady is now shiftier, and all defenses queue on him as the Eagles top weapon. This doesn’t prove necessarily that he is better than AP, but that is a valid and provable premise. I love both, and believe that merits are there for both, and no one else is close. Hence, Shady’s point is made. “He” thinks and has valid proof that he is the best, you can have a different point of view, but you can’t argue facts, they are either even or Shady past AP last year.
    Last, Barry Sanders is the greatest running back this side of Jim Brown, to even mention Emmit Smith in the same sentence with Barry is an insult to our intelligence. However, comparing the Barry vs Emmit debate to this discussion makes your view invalid. No reason to get all upset when Shady is right to make the case that he is the best. However it’ll be tough to get past the “better” team argument because Minny is a disaster front office and the Eagles are just much better statistically at drafting and running a team.

  29. On the one hand, I don’t mind the guy’s (over)confidence.

    On the other hand, he’s nuts. In fact, last year when the Eagles went to Minnesota to play the Vikings late in the year , with the Eagles fighting to improve playoff standing, Philly got womped, and McCoy didn’t exactly leave a lasting impression.

    Better than AP? Uh, no.

  30. Scat backs have no business comparing themselves to workhorses. I’d take
    Long before this fool.

  31. Both are great hard to say who’s better. You would think Eagles fans would want him to have some swagger and Talk some trash…better than what the Browns owner wants talented players thinking like backups.

  32. Sorry to say LeSean, You may be better than Adrian Peterson, but you are still Looking Up At Jamall Charles, my friend. Jamall is the Most Dynamic Player in the NFL, Bar, None! Go Chiefs!!!

  33. AP is the best in the league at running with the ball, no question, but McCoy’s superior production in the passing game makes him the better back overall. And because McCoy (25) is four years younger than Peterson, if I had to choose one of them to start my team, I would choose McCoy.

  34. I would take a 25 year old healthy LeSean McCoy over a 29 year old Adrian Peterson who has taken far more abuse and injuries over the years.

    Adrian Peterson was the best and is still one of the best but I don’t think he is the best going into the 2014-2015 season.

    They are at different stages of their careers.

  35. Give Jamaal Charles two more seasons in Andy Reid’s system then look at his three years and compare the three of them and I bet they will all be very close.

    Remember JC had 19 T.D.’s last seasons and sat week 17.
    McCoy averaged 134 YPG, JC 132 AP 102

  36. Shady WAS the best back last year and the numbers prove it. AP is almost 30 and he is on the down swing of his carrier, Shady is 25 and just hitting his prime. At one point AP was better but not now. Stop clinging to the past and embrace the hear and now. I just hope my fantasy league thinks like all you AP supporters.

  37. I did some research to tear shady apart but found out there actually a lot closer then I thought when u look at their total contribution to the offense.

    Look at each players average from all their years as the starter for their team:

    Games played
    Peterson: 14.71
    McCoy: 14.5

    Total touches (rushes+receptions)
    Peterson: 319.85
    McCoy: 306.5

    Total yards (rushing+receiving)
    Peterson: 1687.42
    McCoy: 1663.74

    Total TDs (rushing+receiving)
    Peterson: 13
    McCoy: 11.25

    Peterson: 4.42
    McCoy: 2

  38. At this point it’s not a stretch for McCoy to believe that he’s the best and there’s nothing wrong with believing in yourself. They’re both top running backs. Any team would be thrilled to have either carrying the ball. AP is a more powerful runner, but McCoy is shiftier and a better receiver. They’re both great at what they do.

  39. Baffled by this Jamal Charles talk. Between injuries, not being as talented, and production, Charles just doesn’t come close to AP and Charles. Even if you want to say “in Reid’s system” Charles will be great, you are wrong because Reid knows Charles can’t handle the load Shady can without getting injured, and that Shady is a much better player. Charles also can run downhill the way AP can without getting hurt. I really like Charles, but he us not even close to being in the top two discussion, he just isn’t. At least not logically and statistically at this point.

  40. “Scat backs have no business comparing themselves to workhorses.”

    Yeah, Mccoy’s just a “scat back” he only plays on third downs and never makes any guys miss after all.

    Give me a break. If you watch Mccoy run you’ll see why him claiming he’s the best isn’t ridiculous at all. He’s the closest thing we’ve ever had to Barry Sanders and his cutting ability blows Peterson out of the water.

    All that being said I still have Peterson number one but the gap isn’t that big anymore.

  41. I would take J’maaaaaaaaal Charles before either one at this point in all of their careers. Based on productivity and who means most to their team. McCoy is Great but has had some sick skill guys on the outside (Jackson and Maclin) taking defenders out of the box. Peterson, well hes a pure beast. What he did the year after his injury is insane but still I wouldn’t have him as my top back. Charles has had the highest yards per carry ever. Hes a dual threat and can beat you in the air or on the ground. I feel he is the most complete football player at the running back position going into next season.

  42. McCoy is not a better running back than AD. McCoy is an really good weapon in an offense predicated on wearing out the defense. McCoy would need to walk in AD’s shoes to know where he places with Peterson.

  43. Shady is a stud. But wait and see how losing DJAX effects the running lanes before claiming your the best. He did help spread the field shady

  44. A couple of years back I had the who is better discussion regarding Kobe and Lebron. You couldn’t tell me that Lebron could even hold a candle to Kobe. It’s funny how age and injury changes the discussion.

  45. first of all, i think it’s stupid two compare two guys who are in completely different offensive schemes and two completely different types of backs. mccoy is closer to a barry sanders or marshall faulk style of play while peterson is more along the lines of a payton, dickerson or brown. as an eagles fan, let me make it clear that as good as mccoy is, he’s not in the same league as peterson yet. a few really good years is great, but peterson has been doing it for a decade at one of the highest levels of any back in history. however, at this point, with peterson seemingly past his peak, it’s not crazy to assume mccoy is the better back going forward. some people will say he should shut his mouth and just play, but at the end of the day he showed peterson the respect he deserves and displayed the confidence in himself that any fan should want to see from a premier player on their squad. hopefully he continues to flourish in chips offense and stays healthy, and he may end up having as successful a career as adrian has had.

  46. Obviously AP has had the better career so far as he has been in the league longer, but Mccoy is the better running back currently in 2014. Newsflash people…he is only 25

  47. Maybe if ap wasn’t on the vikes they wouldn’t have to give him the ball a million times and he would never rush for that many yards. There’s two ways o look at it

  48. sasquash20 says:
    May 21, 2014 10:14 AM
    Shady is a stud. But wait and see how losing DJAX effects the running lanes before claiming your the best. He did help spread the field shady


    Supposedly switching from Vick to Foles last year was supposed to close the running lanes as well.

    How’d that work out for him?

    Anyway, we’ll see.

  49. Today, if you were building a team and had the choice between AP and LMc you’d be a fool to take a nearly 30 year old AP over a 25 year old LMc.

    It’s a pretty simple decision.

  50. When you think of a running back you think of AP first. Rb’s can run around or through someone. Mccoy is a finess back . Not alot of running over anyone there. More punt returner that rb. He jukes in the hole on every run. He avoids contact at all costs. Very soft. Benefitting from that college offense kelly has installed. Philly doesn’t realize that having a great running game is one thing. Having a great power running game is another. Power running games and defense win in the playoffs. They have a very soft running game lead by mccoy.

  51. footballisgood:

    I like how you conveniently left out mccoy’s rookie season because he wasn’t a starter. You know what Adrian did as a rookie? Break the single game rushing record.

  52. I think that picture after the loss last yr says it all.

    caption: “I’m sorry Matt Asiota out played you man. We tried to gift rap the game for you”

  53. Be careful McCoy. You saw what happened to Chris Johnson. The “saying you are better than ADAP” curse is very real. Very real.

  54. It’s safe to say that everybody has a hero and role model. Most of the fans that comment on this article are fans of different teams. Most of those fans are the same fans that have worshipped AP for the past few years and probably have a dislike for LeSean’s mouth. A lot of these comments are biased and lack any truth. It’s like saying today Michael Jordan can beat LeBron James 1-on-1. NEVER going to happen. Accept the fact that AP WAS the best and father time is slowly but surely cutting down his production rate with each passing year. McCoy is the new standard for RB’s

  55. As an Eagles fan I wouldn’t take anyone over Mc coy …the same way a vikings fan would be with Peterson…one thing I have to add to the misleading comments of this column is the fact that Mc coy made 1st team all pro under Andy Reid s , unbalanced throw heavy offense so the comments about doing it under kellys offense are misleading…both backs are amazing but one thing no one can argue is that Shady is younger and coming into his prime and Peterson may be in tail end….

  56. If AP would run for 8,000 yards per year in a system like the Eagles, how come the Vikings are using that system? How come every other team isn’t using that system? Get real. AP is a beast, and how the heck he came back from an ACL so fast and strong is testament to that. But facts are facts: LeSean outproduced AP more than once.

  57. Adrian Peterson will never intentionally drop down before the first down marker, he would rather find somebody he can run over and that’s the difference.

  58. So a player is running his mouth and throwing out numbers to try to convince people that he’s the best at his position? Hey, it worked for Richard Sherman.

  59. If you need to “make the case” that you’re better than Adrian Peterson… than you’re not better than Adrian Peterson…

  60. I’m really surprised that the voting is so lopsided. I’m even more surprised to read the comments mocking McCoy, as if what he said is absurd. Anyone doing so obviously doesn’t watch McCoy play. He makes defenses look silly. There is at least an argument that he’s better. Also, he’s a different back. As one poster put it, he’s got more tools than AP.

  61. Running backs who can catch and move in space like he does are undervalued as receivers.

    People thought I was crazy when I said Brian Westbrook was one of the best two backs in the league during his prime.

  62. There is no doubting he is good but better than AP no not close in my eyes shady is 3rd behind AP and Jamaal Charles

  63. ok seriously guys. For once use your brain on this one. Forget about which player you like more, just focus on the truth…

    1.) Peterson is getting older. He will not defeat father time, nobody can…

    2.) McCoy is on the field more and is a more complete back (rushing, receiving, blocking)…

    3.) McCoy is the defending rushing champion

    4.) 2 all pro seasons in 3 years (that 1 year the OL was so injured the backups to the backups were in there) compared to Petersons 1 all pro in 3 years…

    These are facts. They do not lie. LeSean McCoy is the best back in the NFL “currently”…

  64. I remember when Eli was blasted for saying he was “elite” quarterback. Then all he did was go out and win another Super Bowl.

    I remember Peterson almost winning the Heisman as a true freshman, and he’s even better as a pro than he was in college. That being said, I’d still take McCoy over any other running back in the game today. And btw, I’m not an Eagles fan.

  65. I think the point he is making is that he is not a one dimensional back like Peterson. Peterson is a better runner but he can’t block, can’t catch and is no threat on double-digit yardage third downs as a general rule.

  66. As a Packers fan that lives near Philadelphia, I hate both teams. But both of these running backs are crazy with skill. AP is better All-Time than McCoy, but right now McCoy is better.

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