Actually, it’s more about a career comparison. However, this is one the community has taken on. The best part about this push has been the reaction from the fans. We may not agree on everything, but this has brought us all together.
MHR member, Clownfan, put together a solid comparison of the careers of Davis and Sayers.
A quick statistical comparison of Gale Sayers vs. TD:
Gale Sayers: played in 68 games total
4,956 rushing yards
1,307 receiving yards
2,781 kick off return yards
391 punt return yards
9,435 total all purpose yards ( excluding the 111 career passing yards he managed on 4 completions of 18 attempts)
That's a remarkable amount of production for 68 games, to be sure. But it's not as much as TD managed in his (16 game longer) career.
Terrell Davis: played in 86 games total (including the playoffs) which is roughly 26.5% more than Sayers
7,607 regular season rushing yards (which is more than 53% more than Sayers)
1,140 post season rushing yards (Sayers never played in the post season)
8,747 rushing yards total (roughly 76.5% more than Sayers)
1,280 regular season receiving yards (actually about even with Sayers)
131 receiving yards in the playoffs
TD never returned punts or kickoffs yet he still had more overall yards than Sayers who got to play in a dual role.
60 Regular Season TDs
The measuring stick seems to change from era to era regarding the Hall of Fame, but when put up against some of the best in the game, Davis’ numbers more than stand on their own.
As far as Sayers, it is hard to find a runner who possessed the same grace and elegance in the face of fury and destruction. His style was unmatched for his time. He befuddled defenses, and was a threat every time he touched the ball. He could turn a defender around as well as anyone in the history of the league, including Barry Sanders.
His career was like a white hot burst. Much like Davis, he entered the league and had immediate impact on his team, and his opponents. Injuries were his downfall, and he only managed to play in 68 games. When he did play he was the best on the field. Finding a player to match him in his era is nearly impossible.
It can’t be about numbers with Sayers. It has to be about what he was able to do in his short career. The same can be said about Davis. If all that is said is stats, there is no point in the discussion, but that can’t be it. Davis did for Denver what Sayers never could for Chicago. He was the best player on two Super Bowl winners. He was a league and Super Bowl MVP. Davis was the league.
Sayers and Davis is not a great comparison stylistically speaking. Sayers was elegant and smooth. Davis was one cut and gone. But they were both, for a brief moment in time, the best in the game.