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Frank Gore Isn’t Aging

Since turning 28 years old, Frank Gore has rushed for 6,651 yards. That’s the 4th most rushing yards from age 28+ in NFL history.  Gore has also hit the 1,000-yard mark in 5 seasons since turning 28, tied with Emmitt Smith for the most ever.   Here’s Gore’s year-by-year rushing totals:

Gore has hit the 1200 yards from scrimmage mark in all six seasons since turning 28 years old; no other running back in NFL history has more than four.

Since 2008, Gore has the 6 best single-season rushing totals of any 49er, and the 2 best single-season rushing totals of any Colt.

And now we get to the really impressive numbers.  Gore currently ranks 8th all-time in career rushing yards, but he “only” needs 620 rushing yards to move into fifth place in NFL history.  Yet even that may not be what Gore is most proud of, given his history.

After a marvelous freshman year when he averaged 9.1 yards per carry at Miami, Gore tore the ACL in his right knee in spring practice, causing him to miss his sophomore season.  When he came back, he tore the ACL in his left knee five games into the ’03 season.  Those two injuries caused his draft stock to plummet, as there were obvious durability concerns.

And now, 13 years later, Gore has played in 96 consecutive games, meaning he has not missed a single game in the last six seasons. Isaiah Crowell has the second-longest active streak among running backs,1 with just half as many (48). Matt Asiata (37) and Rex Burkhead (36) are the only other running backs with more than 32 consecutive games played, and of that group, only Gore has been his team’s lead back throughout the streak.

  1. Excluding pure fullbacks. []
  • Dr__P

    Games played is a major factor for a RB’s success

    • sacramento gold miners

      Agreed, and being able to take the punishment isn’t something all backs can do. I think back to the Chiefs playoff game a few years ago, when Jamaal Charles was making the Ravens look old in the first half. However, Baltimore knocked him out of the game, and the Chiefs faltered without him.

      Frank Gore’s had very successful career, but age has become a factor. Just two 100 yard games in his last two seasons, he’s just kind of plugging along. He hasn’t been as dominant as Tiki Barber or Curtis Martin after turning 30, assuming he plays at least a couple more seasons, I’m not sure what impact that’s going to have in terms of legacy.

    • And vice versa, in most cases.

      • Dr__P

        as opposed to health

        • Both are important. It doesn’t matter how great a guy is if he can’t stay healthy. Likewise, it doesn’t matter how healthy a guy is if he isn’t a good player.

          • vfefrenzy

            Sad,but true. I’ve never been injured, but no NFL team will play me just because I’m not any good.

            • Seriously. I had a great 40 time and couldn’t even get a combine invite. Your loss, NFL!

          • Dr__P

            This reminds me of the Tom Landry effect – who held the record for MOST LOSSES for a long time. You have to be good to rack up enough losses otherwise you don’t have the years to complete the record.

            Yes, a RB has to have a certain level of quality to last a while. The number of seasons a player has in him is relatively limited and for RB’s that seems to be more pronounced.

            Yet the key point was the ability to actually play games, and not miss games IN A SEASON, leads to racking up yardage. That is a clear implication of a RB in his LATER SEASONS compared to earlier seasons.

            • Are you yelling, or do you just like caps lock?

              • Dr__P

                Not yelling at all – that would involve caps on ALL words. Instead I am emphasizing a FEW words. I cannot use underlining or italics for emphasis. I suspect MOST folks will understand the difference.

                • Most folks I talk to don’t do stuff like that. Just use italics tags. That’s “em” inside of at the beginning and inside of at the end. It looks like this. Then you can disagree with me in italics all day long.

                  • Dr__P

                    well if the the folks who talk with you do that, it must the the thing to do.

                    Or others have other conventions.

                    • You forgot to use the condescending and sarcastic font.

                    • Count the Rings

                      Wish I could reply to both of you at the same time because you’re both a couple of lame ass pussies.

                    • Well that’s just one of the worst uses of synecdoche I’ve ever seen.

                    • Leave it to a possible sociopath to show me my folly. Sorry for acting like a L.A.P.

  • bachslunch

    I think Gore will get in the HoF. If you’re a compiling RB and compile enough rushing yards, that will be enough (see Jerome Bettis and Curtis Martin). Every RB over 12,000 career rushing yards is in except Edgerrin James, and I think he will be elected eventually. Plus Gore will have minimal competition at the position, at most James and Adrian Peterson. I don’t think his lack of 1st team all pro selections will matter. No doubt Gore will wait a few years, but he’ll get in.

    • I’d say Gore is a decent comparison to those two, but he’s definitely a poor man’s Martin. He’s at 72.6 rushing yards per game for his career, compared to 83.9 for Martin. That’s not insignificant. Martin ranked in the top 3 in rushing yards 4 times; Gore did it once.

      Bettis is probably the better comparison, but even he had 3 top-3 rushing seasons.

      • sacramento gold miners

        Another difference between Bettis and Gore is the fact Jerome wasn’t a compiler. Injuries play a role in his 2002 and 2003 production, and Bettis had six 100 yard games in 2004 for a 15-1 team. Only Barry Sanders ever had more 100 yard days in the HOF for a next to last season. In his final season of 2005, Bettis agreed to a pay cut, and came off the bench to shred Chicago’s playoff defense in the most crucial regular season game of 2005 for the Steelers. Without that win, it’s possible there is no playoffs, thus no super bowl for Pittsburgh.

        I agree about Gore eventually reaching the HOF someday, but the end of his career is different than Jerome Bettis’.

  • And another reminder of how far the 49ers have fallen in such a short time. As a Seahawks fan, I love to go back and watch clips of the 2013 NFC Championship Game, and I remember at the time thinking that Seahawks-49ers was going to be *the* NFL rivalry for the next decade. I’m genuinely disappointed it didn’t pan out that way.

    How the 49ers handled their business since that game has to be up there for worst front office botch-job ever. They took a Super Bowl contender filled with assets and turned them into one of the worst teams in the league with almost no assets — other than the high draft picks they get for being one of the worst teams in the league.

    • Richie

      The 49ers also had some bad luck. Kaepernick regressing. Bowman got hurt. Willis retired. Aldon Smith’s struggles.

      Even if their front office was competent, they may have had trouble remaining a top team with that kind of talent drop off.

      Also, still not sure how much blame the front office deserves for Harbaugh leaving. I assume he would have been tempted to go to Michigan even if he got along well with his GM.

      • Agreed. Definitely some bad luck. Chris Borland retiring after a very promising rookie season was another blow.

        But this still doesn’t explain a lot of their moves, such as letting so many pieces go on offense without adequately replacing them.

        As for Harbaugh, we will never know exactly what happened or what could have been. But if you have a coach who took you to three straight NFC title games and got you within five yards of a Super Bowl victory, you do everything you can to retain him, even after a “down” year (which was more mediocre than terrible), even if he is a difficult guy to manage.

  • I’ve always been a fan of Gore. I wonder if there is an explanation other than luck for his longevity and consistency. It’s not like he played for the 90’s Cowboys. Is there something in his running style, in the way he makes contact or the way he conditions?

    • Gopal Rao

      Interesting question. My observation of Gore is that he consistently makes that “last second move” to avoid the most punishing hits, and that in general, his running style is very crafty. Also, he’s a very heads up player that contributes even when he isn’t carrying the ball. My favorite examples come from the playoffs against teams like the Packers and Panthers, where he stuffs blitzing defensive backs that thought they had a clear line to the quarterback.