It’s been more than a half-century since Eddie Price of the NY Giants was the NFL’s leading rusher.
Throughout the recent history of the NY Giants, fans have been blessed to watch an exciting backfield. From Rodney Hampton, to Tiki Barber, to Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, and now to superstar Saquon Barkley, the NY Giants have had plenty of memorable rushers.
None of these players, however, were ever the league leader in rushing yards.
You have to travel far past recent history to find the last NY Giants player who led the league in rushing yards. So far back, in fact, that the NFL was only composed of 12 teams. So far back that the Cleveland Browns played in the championship game.
Sixty-nine years ago, in 1951, Eddie Price led the NFL in r
To put it into some context, there has not been a league leader in rushing yards who rushed for under 1000 yards since Freeman McNeil led the league with 786 in 1982.
Who was Eddie Price of the NY Giants
Eddie Price, at least to my knowledge, was a forgotten name in the long history of the New York Giants. He doesn’t have the long-standing legacy of players like Y.A. Tittle, Sam Huff, or Frank Gifford. Neither does he break the top 50 Giants players of all time, according to Bleacher Report.
Like many solid players lost in the sands of time, Eddie Price was good, not great. Like many at his position, his best years were in college; Price was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1982.
Eddie Price was drafted in the second round of the 1950 NFL Draft from Tulane University. He spent six years with the New York Giants before retiring. He twice led the league in rushing attempts and once in rushing yards. Four of his six seasons, he rushed for more than 500 yards. He never eclipsed the 971 yards that earned his 1951 rushing title in just his second season.
Unfortunately for Eddie Price, he retired in 1955, one year before the Giants won a fourth championship. (I’m sure Tiki can relate.)
In 1979, Price died of a heart attack at the age of 53.
What was it like when Eddie Price reigned?
While Eddie Price played there were only 12 NFL teams, the Super Bowl was not a thing, and it was possible to lead the league in rushing with under 1000 yards.
History also shows how long it’s been since the Giants had the best rusher in the NFL. In 1951, Harry Truman was president and the U.S. was at war with Korea. The show “I Love Lucy” made its television debut, and J.D. Salinger just published “The Catcher in the Rye.”
The average income was $3.5k, and a house was worth $7.3k, according to fiftiesweb.com. Sliced bacon was more expensive than gasoline.
How times have changed.
Can fans expect to see another rushing title?
The NFL has precipitously gone from a rushing to a passing league. Still, league leaders in rushing yards eclipse 1000 easily; Kareem Hunt’s 2017 title had the lowest yards in the past 10 years with 1327.
Since entering the league in 2018, Barkley has rushed for over 1000 yards in each season, despite missing three games in 2019. He averages nearly 5 yards per rush, according to profootballreference.com.
Barkley has been used as a workhorse in those two years, both with dreadful teams built around him. His 261 carries in his rookie season almost hit Eddie Price’s league-leading 271. And even though Barkley missed three games, he still had 217 carries in 2018.
Saquon Barkley could ultimately become the greatest and most exciting running back the Giants ever had, which is a title worthy in and of itself. If the Giants under Joe Judge feed Barkley the ball as much as the past regime has, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t become the league-leading rusher.
Still, even if Barkley were to become the leader in the 2020 season, it would have taken him a full season more than it took Eddie Price.