Frank Gore has occasion with Jets to surpass Marcus Allen’s historic 37-year season


Frank Gore to return for 16th NFL season after 36-year-old running back would have signed a one year agreement with the New York Jets on Tuesday. Gore, who turns 37 later this month, has a golden opportunity to break a record that was once believed to have never been broken.

The lifespan of a ball carrier is short to start with, but Gore has been defying the odds for years. Gore continues to run at a high level in the mid-30s and has the opportunity to rewrite the record books in his 37 year season.

Marcus Allen is the only ball carrier to see anything more than a few races at the age of 37, the last season of a Hall of Fame career. Allen’s final year was in 1997 with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he carried the ball 124 times on 505 yards and scored 11 touchdowns. Allen split the ball carrier with Greg Hill, who led the Chiefs in rushing yards (550) but failed to score a touchdown.

While running for 505 yards is a record for a 37-year-old ball carrier (Allen is the only ball carrier in NFL history to have more than 50 races at 37), it was only the beginning of his impressive season. Allen also caught 11 passes for 86 yards and completed his two touchdown attempts (2 for 2 for 15 yards). The 505 yards have been a career low for Allen, but his 4.1 yards per carry was his highest since 1995 and 11 touchdowns have been his best since leading the league with 12 in 1993. Allen was at tied for third in the league in rushed touchdowns.

Can Gore exceed Allen’s 37 year season? Gore rushed for 599 yards on 166 runs and two touchdowns while sharing the runs with Devin Singletary last year. The average 3.6 yards per carry was the lowest in Gore’s career, but his performance was good enough to find him a job for another year.

Gore will not be No. 1 in the Jets because that role belongs to Le’Veon Bell. The Jets want lighten Bell’s workload, where Gore comes in. Bell had 245 carries for 789 yards and three touchdowns in his first season with the Jets, averaging 3.2 career yards per port. There will be an opportunity for Gore to accumulate a few meters if Bell struggles again. He also has a relationship with Jets head coach Adam Gase because Gore was back for Gase with the Miami Dolphins in 2018, rushing for 722 yards and averaging 4.6 yards per carry.

Gore has never rushed for 11 touchdowns in a season, so Allen’s 11 scores seem out of reach. He can still reach the 505 yards rushing that Allen had and will likely receive more than 100 runs depending on his production over the years. There are also career milestones at stake, as Gore is only 653 meters away from becoming the third ball carrier to reach 16,000 rushing yards in a career. He is also only 52 attempts away from being the third ball carrier to have 3,600 career attempts.

Gore will also be extending his NFL record from most rushing yards by a ball carrier in his 30s. He has 6,508 yards at this point, 719 more than Emmitt Smith (5,789). Four of the top five offensive semi-yards in the ground after 30 are in the Hall of Fame, and Gore will certainly join them when he decides to retire.

No ball carrier has ever attempted to wear at 38. It will be Gore’s next feat if his 37-year-old season goes well.


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