The Case for Gurley/The Case Against Bell:
Gurley put on a dominant display of his run game this past season rushing for 1,305 yards in 279 carries and 13 TDs, Bell only put up 1,291 yards in 321 carries with 9 TDs. Gurley also showed himself to be quite a flexible player last year becoming a fairly hot target for Jared Goff. He led Bell in both receiving yardage and receiving touchdowns with 788 yards in 64 receptions and 6 touchdowns with Bell obtaining 655 yards in 85 receptions and a mere 2 touchdowns. Gurley has put a more yardage than Bell in both categories this season while at the same time having fewer carries and receptions than Bell did. In fact, Gurley tied for 31st most receiving in the ENTIRE league! Also, Gurley led the entirety of the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 2,093 in a combined 343 carries and receptions, and Bell only had 1,946 with 306 carries and receptions. Gurley additionally leads in the league in the total number of touchdowns with 19, 6 more than the runner-up which is Texans wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins. To top it all off, up until this past season only three players in the history of the NFL every had at least 7 touchdowns and 596 or more all-purpose yards in the first 4 games of the season. This season, Gurley added himself to that list becoming the 4th running back ever to do so.
The Case for Bell/The Case Against Gurley:
Le’Veon Bell heads into his 6th season in the NFL this fall while Gurley heads into his 4th which definitely gives Bell an advantage in experience over Gurley. Bell also puts up more rushing yardage on average than Gurley, displaying 86.1 yards per game and 4.3 yards per attempt on average. Gurley puts up 74.9 rushing yards per game and 4.2 rushing yards per attempt. Both of these numbers are very good, but Bell does edge Gurley out in this category. Bell also puts up more receiving yards on average with Bell amounting 42.9 yards per game while Gurley puts up 29.6. Bell also leads Gurley in career touchdowns with Bell amassing 42 total and Gurley amassing 35. Lastly, Bell leads Gurley in career yardage with 5,336 rushing yards and 2,606 receiving yards while on the other side Gurley puts up 3,296 yards rushing and 1,303 receiving.
This sparked lots of debate amongst my friends and required an amount that was surprisingly more than I expected, but nevertheless, the research was thorough and needed to make this especially tough decision. Despite the outcome, these two running backs will both go down as legends and as two of the best running backs of all time. Despite that indisputable fact that both these running backs will be legends, both of them have also had ups and downs In their career. 2 seasons ago Gurley hit a slump where Bell was clearly better and during his rookie year Gurley burst out on the scene putting up insanely high numbers and Bell barely put up any due to a knee injury resulting in season-ending knee surgery. However, they kept coming back and improving their game. When you compare Bell’s and Gurley’s numbers this past season and average their career statistics the race becomes a neck and neck. Bell has larger numbers in yardage and touchdowns, but he’s been in the league 2 years longer than Gurley which also lends him an advantage in experience but Gurley’s numbers are nothing short of fantastic either. When you take all the factors into account I believe the race can finally come to an end with the winner finally becoming clear cut.
The title of NFL’s Best Running Back goes to… Todd Gurley II
Bell seemed to have the upper hand, but you must bear in mind he has been in the league 2 years longer than Gurley, definitely giving his career stats a slight boost over Gurley’s, and additionally Gurley’s stats this season surpassed Bell’s in nearly every category. Finally, while Bell has been known to catch and run last season Gurley definitely proved himself a more viable option for the pass, and as of such has proved himself to be a more flexible running back than Bell. While my decision may be a controversial one to some readers, one thing everyone can agree upon is these two running backs will go down in the history books.