KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- This is probably overdue but I got to thinking about it after Jamaal Charles went over 1,000 rushing yards for the season in last week's loss to the Denver Broncos. That's four straight seasons for Charles with over 1,000 yards and though that's certainly not the only criteria, it's time to call Charles the best runner to ever play for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Charles is third all time on the Chiefs' rushing yardage list. He is roughly 500 yards from catching Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson, the two backs ahead of him. With a big finish, Charles could conceivably catch both players this season. If not, he will pass them in 2014.
Charles is well shy of both players in rushing touchdowns, but Holmes and Johnson at times played for Chiefs teams that were offensive machines. Charles' teams in Kansas City haven't been built that way and it's unfair to penalize him for that. Charles isn't the pass receiver that Holmes was. There was no sight for Chiefs fans like Holmes running with a screen pass behind the great blockers he played with (unless it was Holmes running the sweep behind the great blockers he played with). But strictly as a runner, I'll take Charles.
Two factors go into that decision. First is longetivity. Johnson essentially had two great seasons for the Chiefs, Holmes three. Charles is now at four and we're still counting.
The other is Charles' career per-carry rushing average. Charles has picked up slightly more than 5.5 yards every time he's rushed the ball for the Chiefs in his career and that's frequently against opposing defenses that were often lying in wait for him because the Chiefs gave them little else to worry about.
Holmes rushed for 4.59 yards per carry, Johnson 4.37. That's a significant dfference in Charles' favor.
Holmes and Johnson deserve to be part of the discussion. But with apologies to those guys and some other great Chiefs backs like Marcus Allen, Christian Okoye and Ed Podolak it's time (and probably past time) to hail the new king.