Jan 30, 2014; New York, NY USA; Marshall Faulk (left) and Emmitt Smith on the NFL Network set at the Super Bowl XLVIII media center at the Sheraton Times Square New York. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Rams Struggle To Rank On 1990s and 2000s All-Decade Lists

It took nearly nine weeks for a member of the St. Louis Rams to crack the Top 100 Players of 2014 list, voted on by the actual players within the league. However, as tough as it was for the Rams to get some recognition on that not-so-illustrious ranking, it appears as though some unlikely characters have having some trouble ranking highly on the “Top NFL Players of the [insert decade].”

As you may or may not have seen, NFL Network recently hosted a “Rams Day,” essentially an evening dedicated to arguably the greatest offense to ever step foot on the gridiron. The Greatest Show on Turf produced two Super Bowl appearances, one ring, and three MVPs in three seasons. The offensive roster was bolstered with a myriad of future (and one current) Hall-of-Famers, including Marshall Faulk, Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, Orlando Pace, and Kurt Warner, in some people’s opinion. So, considering that talent, you’d think at least a handful of St. Louis Rams could crack the “Top 10″ on one of these lists, right? Wrong.

To be fair, the majority of these players are marred by arbitrary year ranges that cut their careers in half. Marshall Faulk, a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, barely ranked in the Top 20 Player of the 1900s, finished No.19 on that list, sandwiched between Terrell Davis and Thurman Thomas.

Faulk didn’t hit his stride until his monster 1998 and ’99 seasons, and though he was MVP in 2000, that doesn’t fall within the specs of this list. Still, his ’99 campaign … 1,000 yards rushing and receiving.

If by “not hit his stride,” they mean four 1,000+ yard rushing and five-consecutive 400+ yard receiving seasons in his first five years, an Offensive Rookie of the Year award, three Pro Bowls, three 2nd-Team All-Pro designations… I guess they would be correct. To be fair, Faulk did only win one Offensive Player of the Year award and one Super Bowl ring in the 90s.

In all seriousness, Faulk does have some steep competition in the decade, but it seems nonsensical to disregard accomplishments, just because they didn’t fit nicely within the decade end-brackets. Faulk is a two-time league MVP, three-time Offensive Player of the Year, and is arguably the best pass-catching running back to ever lace up the cleats… oh yea, and ranks Top 10 all-time in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, and is No.4 all-time in yards from scrimmage.

Switching over to the 2000s, there are two major surprises.

For one, Orlando Pace is nowhere to be found (or even mentioned) on the list, even with players like Priest Holmes, Steve Hutchinson, and Alan Faneca making the cut for the Top 20. Pace was one of the cornerstones of the Greatest Show on Turf, and helped pave the way for Marshall Faulk and Steven Jackson, both of which will be cemented as Top 20 all-time rushers in the league thanks, in part, to Pace clearing the left side of the line. He was a five-time All-Pro, seven-time Pro Bowler, and even made the cut for the National Football League 2000s “All-Decade” roster, along with Walter Jones and Jonathan Odgen, who also didn’t rank on the Top 20 players.

The second surprise is Torry Holt, who barely notched in the Top 15 player of the 2000s. From the start of the decade through 2007, Holt recorded eight-consecutive 1,000+ yard receiving season, six-consecutive 90+ reception seasons, and lead the league in 2000 and 2003. To be fair, it is difficult to subjectively rank all-time great players from different positions on the same list. However, considering how consistently dominant Torry Holt was during the 2000s without being surrounded by top tier talent in the last half-decade of his career, there are certainly a handful of player he should jump on the list.

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