Originally Posted by enjolras
I think folks are getting far too fixated on 2000 yard rushers. There have now been 7.
1973 O.J. Simpson
1984 Eric Dickerson
1997 Barry Sanders
1998 Terrell Davis
2003 Jamal Lewis
2009 Chris Johnson
2012 Adrian Petersen
Notice something: There was 11 years between the first two and then 13 years between the next two. Since 1997, however, there have been 5 (one 33.33..% of the time).
So it's an impressive feat, but it is far less rare than it had been. The reason is simple: There is no easier time in NFL history than today for a running back to put up big yards. Teams are built to put pressure on quarterbacks and defend receivers and (more recently) tight-ends in pass-first offenses.
Dickersons record is going to fall and it's going to happen soon. QB-poor offenses like the Vikings and Chiefs are instead turning to running backs to fill the gap in their offense. They rack up huge yards because teams simply don't have those big interior tackles and edge-setting ends anymore. It's the era of disruptive tackles and feather-weight speed rushers around the edge. It's going to be much easier to put up yards.
AP's achievement is being viewed against Dickerson, but it shouldn't be. It's impressive, but hardly automatically makes you an MVP.
I would tend to agree with your overall point, but I don't necessarily think Dickerson's record is going to fall any time soon. Peterson is almost certainly going to drop-off after this season (as 2000 yard rushers always do), and I just don't see anyone else having a realistic shot at it right now.