Bears running back Jordan Howard finished his rookie season as the No. 2 leading rusher in the NFL. He ran for 1,313 yards on 252 attempts, had a total of six touchdowns and made the Pro Bowl. A sure-fire candidate to be on the NFL’s Top 100 list, right?
Wrong, his NFL peers ranked him 161.
When I first heard that Howard wasn’t on this list, I was outraged. When I found out he missed being in the top 100 by 61 spots, I became livid.
His questionable ranking tells me that the rest of the NFL doesn’t respect a guy, who according to Pro Football Focus, forced the most missed tackles of all rookies last season with 40. That was four more than Ezekiel Elliott, who finished as the No. 7 overall player on the list.
Nine running backs made the list, including the Saints Adrian Peterson, who was ranked 98. Peterson played three games, ran for 72 yards and had zero touchdowns.
Are you kidding me?
Keep in mind Howard achieved all his accolades despite not being a starter until week four. Against the Cowboys, starting running back, Jeremy Langford suffered an ankle injury and was sidelined the rest of the game. Howard ran for 45 yards on nine carries against Elliot’s Cowboys.
Ever since then, Howard ran away with the starting job. He eclipsed 100 yards rushing seven times, with 153 yards being his career high, which came against the Minnesota Vikings in a 20-10 win on Halloween night.
So, how did Howard get snubbed from this list?
To me, there are two reasons why Howard was ranked 161. First, the Bears were an irrelevant team that lost 13 games last season. Even though Howard had a great statistical season, his play only helped the Bears get three wins.
Howard is the least to blame for the Bears disappointing season, but that could have been what his peers were thinking.
The second reason is that Howard is such a humble, soft-spoken guy, he doesn’t get the media attention that some of the other stars in the league get. A lot of players on the list have an outspoken personality, which draws attention to them.
That’s not Howard.
The former Indiana Hoosier would rather let his play speak for himself. And I know without a doubt even if he made the list he would be more focused on how he could help the team get more wins and eventually become a playoff team, rather than his own personal achievements.
But for Howard, hopefully, the disrespect that his fellow NFL peers showed, only adds more fuel to the fire for this upcoming season.
He is the starting running back; the offense is built around him and he had PRK eye surgery in the offseason, that has resulted in 20/20 vision, which will only improve his chances of finding every hole his teammates create.
There is no doubt the overlooked Bear will be looking to make some noise in 2017.
“I’m definitely trying to be the No. 1 rusher in the league this year,” Howard told the Chicago Tribune.