The League

Brian Tarcy

Brian Tarcy

The author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Football with Joe Theismann and the creator of the NFL humor prediction website

Alive and Well, Obscure


When you are on offense, lots of weapons are good but one big weapon is better. It is, in this context, that I contend the feature back is alive and well - if you can find one.

Definitions of this sort are murky at best because even the most featured of feature backs have always played on the field with ten other players. Plus, on the best running back by committees there are actually two feature backs. A team that has a true running back by committee probably doesn't even have one good running back.

Think of the perfect 1972 Miami Dolphins running backs - Larry Csonka, Jim Kiick and Mercury Morris. That's one heck of a committee.

So what can a featured back do that a committee cannot? He can mentally destroy a team. While a committee can beat you in lots of ways, a featured back brings it the same way every time and dares you to stop him. In my mind, this is always a power guy. Think of Emmitt Smith, who took over games better than anyone I've ever seen. He wasn't fancy. He was just, at times, unstoppable.

John Riggins was the same way. Jerome Bettis too. Yes, get on the bus and ride along. That's what a feature back can do for you.

There is, of course, one other kind of feature back - the freak. Adrian Peterson is this type. He is just like Eric Dickerson and Barry Sanders of days gone by in that he can destroy you in a single play.

And so the only answer is that at the end of week 1, if a runner on any team has a 100-yard day, fans in his city will declare him the feature back.

By Brian Tarcy  |  August 17, 2009; 7:21 PM ET  | Category:  Coaching , Dallas Cowboys , Fantasy Football , Michael Turner , Minnesota Vikings , Running Backs Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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