Don’t tell Frank Gore he’s not a Hall of Famer (actually, go ahead and try)

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On Sunday, Bills running back Frank Gore eclipsed Hall of Famer Barry Sanders on the all-time rushing list, finishing the day with 15,289. PFT spoke to Gore immediately after the game.

Regarding his accomplishment, he repeated much of what he told reporters following the 20-3 win over Denver. Regarding his lingering detractors, Gore had plenty more to say.

As to those who question his ability to continue to perform at a high level, Gore made it clear that (in contrast to athletes who claim they tune out the noise) he puts all criticism in his phone, and the reviews it as motivation before he works out.

There’s one specific type of criticism that gets Gore worked up: Those who say he’s not a Hall of Famer. As Gore gains more and more yards, it’s a dramatically shrinking minority.

But the argument still gets made, and it gets Gore worked up. When asked about those who oppose his enshrinement, Gore became animated, rattling off statistics from the early years of his career, when he was consistently averaging more than four yards per carry without a great offense around him. He pointed specifically to one season during which the 49ers’ offensive line was so banged up that they were signing guys “off the street,” and that stopping him remained the focal point of every defense the 49ers faced.

The tired questions that undermine his candidacy overlook the fact that he has managed to play the most demanding position in football for 15 years, that he continues to generate solid numbers, and that he consistently finds a team that will entrust him with opportunities in the running game at a time when so many younger and cheaper options are available.

Maybe, in order to eliminate all doubt, Gore needs to gain another 1,438 yards. That would move him past Walter Payton, into No. 2 on the all-time list.

Asked whether that’s the next stop for a certain Hall of Fame career (despite the naysayers), Gore laughed and said, “We’ll see.”

31 responses to “Don’t tell Frank Gore he’s not a Hall of Famer (actually, go ahead and try)

  1. Not a hall of famer. Very easy offensive era with rules favoring offensive players. So, his numbers are bloated.

    If he gets in, then people like COrey Dillon have to be in. Frank Gore would have the most forgettable, yet consistent career of any RB in the HOF if he was to get in.

    Curtis Martin’s career is comparable, but he played in a more difficult era since defenses were allowed to play defense in his era.

  2. It’s a pretty weak argument just because he’s played so long. If that’s the case then Brady should should be lumped into that conversation since he’s just passing his stats by playing for so long.

  3. In addition to the stats, the man acts as inspiration for every team he plays for. All the players agree on this.

    HOFer.

  4. By pure numbers he is. But he doesn’t fit that “had to game-plan for him” sort of HOF definition. Nonetheless, he should/will get in. Especially if Curtis Martin is in.

  5. He’s been so fun to watch. He was never able to rely on freakish athleticism and speed. He just wasn’t built that way. He’s a patient runner, has great vision and football iq. Has never been in the news for the wrong reasons. His media sessions are entertaining. Easily one of my favorite 49ers of all time.

  6. hes not a hof’er. Im an old schooler and Ive been watching him since day one. Never been a top 10 back in the league, even during his prime. So its not like a Vince Carter case. Frank Gore has always been mediocre.

  7. I find Millennials annoying with their entitlement. This guy hopped around to maximize his dollars as FA and never gave 2 squirts about winning a title.

    When you openly choose to go to Indy, Miami, Buffalo, etc, you’re not a HOF player.

    Period.

  8. Ya and how many years did this guy play 25? HOF must take in consideration Jim Brown played a 12 and 14 game seasons. Peyton played 14 game seasons. When you factor that in Gore is up there but not HOF. Staying around a long time is not HOF material.

  9. The guys had 9 1000 yd seasons in 15 years, and 2 more where we was probably a few holding calls away from eclipsing that mark. That isn’t a fluke and definitely can’t be classified as an “accumulator”. Most running backs don’t hold up past 30 now a days, yet here he is still producing…. definitely a Hall of Famer

  10. The NFL has been around for 100 seasons.

    During those 100 seasons, and out of the thousands of players that have played the running back position, Frank Gore has the 3rd most rushing yards EVER.

    Anyone who says that a guy with his numbers and longevity shouldn’t get in — at a position that is so physically demanding, no less — is a fool.

    Luckily, this won’t even be an argument. He’ll make it an easily.

  11. tylawspick6 says:
    November 26, 2019 at 11:06 am
    Not a hall of famer. Very easy offensive era with rules favoring offensive players. So, his numbers are bloated.

    If he gets in, then people like COrey Dillon have to be in. Frank Gore would have the most forgettable, yet consistent career of any RB in the HOF if he was to get in.

    Curtis Martin’s career is comparable, but he played in a more difficult era since defenses were allowed to play defense in his era.

    **********************
    That’s a pretty weak argument. In his prime, he generates 9 1000 yard seasons during a time when the RB position is under utilized and undervalued. Only other RB that came close during this era is AP. And longevity should play a role in the HoF consideration. You don’t penalize Emmitt Smith, LT, Tom Brady, Manning, because their few years were not as good as their prime. You only last as long as you’re good, especially at position that for years, that coaches readily replaces with undrafted rookies. In order to use a high price veteran, he has to have value.

  12. Gore helped the 49ers to three straight NFC Championships…His running in the SB allowed the team to overcome a huge deficit and nearly win the game…He went to Indy to help Andrew Luck but instead, played behind a lousy line that got Luck hurt. The guy just plays football and doesn’t miss games for mysterious reasons like McCoy and Fred Taylor
    did. Gore is a HOFer…

  13. well…the more i think about it.

    They call Rivers a future HOFer and he hasnt done jack, and Gore is 3rd all time in rushing. so yeah he could get in.

  14. Still mad he broke Markeith Cooper’s record!

    but Hall of Famer no doubt. this many years, still doing it as a starter, pushing 1k, hell yes.

  15. Put him in. Not right away maybe, but he has had career numbers to warrant entry, along with the professionalism and attitude of a legend.

    As more and more players piss away talent (AB, Leveon Bell, etc) it is good to see guys with lengthy careers that can remain a solid talent year in and year out.

    For people mentioning Corey Dillon, if he played as long as Gore (or he the numbers) then he might get in. Gore has had a better career than Dillon without question.

  16. Not a hall of famer. Very easy offensive era with rules favoring offensive players. So, his numbers are bloated.

    If he gets in, then people like COrey Dillon have to be in. Frank Gore would have the most forgettable, yet consistent career of any RB in the HOF if he was to get in.

    Curtis Martin’s career is comparable, but he played in a more difficult era since defenses were allowed to play defense in his era.

    Thanks for settling the debate of greatest qb. It’s obvious that Montana okayed ina far more difficult era making his Super Bowls more impressive… so all non NE fans appreciate you taking our sides on this. It’s obvious that you feel Brady has greater advantages in this era

  17. Never lead the league in rushing. Never lead the league in touchdowns. Never All-Pro. No Super Bowls. 69.2 yds/game, not super impressive. I agree you have to have some staying power to make things count (looking at you Terrell Davis), but longevity in and of itself is not what defines a HOFer.

  18. I can see both sides of the debate for Gore in the HOF. If he had played half the time…and that would still be a legit full career at his position, he would never be considered. But he’s also done things no other RB has done by being good for an unheard of amount of time. His elite trait is longevity…is that a HOF-worthy trait on its own? My guess is he gets in, but I wouldn’t be offended either way whether he does or doesn’t. My personal feeling is if you have to ask, the answer is no…and I kind of feel I have to ask with Gore. But I understand the people that don’t, too…

  19. He’s unlikely to reach Payton at this point, but there’s obviously no way the NFL’S third all-time leading rusher isn’t going to be enshrined in Canton even if not immediately for some odd combination of reasons.

  20. Let’s not forget this. Most running backs are heralded for breaking 1,000 yards in a season or two. Frank Gore’s AVERAGE is more than 1,000 per season and that’s even with not playing a full season 6 times in his first 14 seasons as well as not hitting that number on 4 of the past 5 years. This guy is amazing.

  21. Some of these takes are just awful. I heard someone yesterday say that Gore is like Emmitt Smith without the HOF QB and offensive line. Clever, but even with those advantages, Smith managed a 4.2 YPC career avg. Gore never had those advantages and is at 4.4 ypc. Gore often was the ONLY threat on offense, and faced 8 man boxes on nearly every play, yet he always found holes. Even this year, he’s #2 in the number of 8 man boxes he has faced. People complain that he was never up in the league lead each year for yardage. He certainly had the yards per carry. He just didn’t have the carries — that requires a good offense that could sustain drives and score. Gore did not have that until almost 10 years into his career, at which time Harbaugh was restricting his carries to about 260 per game. Gore’s numbers have always been inhibited by the fact that his teams were awful.
    Had he played in Smith’s circumstances, his numbers would have been ridiculous. As it is, his numbers more than justify HOF induction. That man’s a legend.

  22. @skmad2014 says:
    November 26, 2019 at 1:02 pm
    Never lead the league in rushing. Never lead the league in touchdowns. Never All-Pro. No Super Bowls. 69.2 yds/game, not super impressive. I agree you have to have some staying power to make things count (looking at you Terrell Davis), but longevity in and of itself is not what defines a HOFer.

    You miss the point of longevity. RB is perhaps the hardest position to keep in the league. If the beating they take doesn’t prematurely end their career, there is always a younger, faster, talented back coming out of college ready to take their job for a fraction of the money. With the salary cap, teams don’t spend on the RB position, which is why Gore went to Indy — 49ers didn’t want to pay him. That Gore has been able to justify his position on the field for 15 years is astonishing by itself. His longevity has been amazing.

  23. Here’s the bottom line: Every player’s stats are heavily impacted by the team they play on. Does anyone think Emmitt Smith’s numbers would be what he achieved had he played in Tampa Bay? How about Terrell Davis? Does he put up that 2000 yard season without being in Shanahan’s zone running offense? Just as those RBs benefitted by being in the right place at the right time, Gore suffered by being stuck on a team that was utterly incompetent with a terrible lack of talent. The inability of Alex Smith, Trent Dilfer and the other clowns who ran the SF offense to create sustained drives, left Gore with an average of around 260 carriers per season over his core 12 years. T. Davis avg. 336 carries over his core 4 years. LT avg. 332. Smith avg. 320. Gore only had one year where he was given more than 282 carries, not be cause he didn’t deserve it — he put up a 4.4 ypc average and was very durable — it was just that his teams sucked. Teams only gamed planned for him. Everyone around the league knew how great he was. Only the fantasy stat fans didn’t.

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