Sports Reference Blog

PFR: HoF Candidate – Roger Craig

Posted by Neil on December 13, 2011

Roger Craig

Roger Timothy Craig

Position: RB
Height: 6-0    Weight: 222 lbs.

Born: July 10, 1960 in Davenport, IA
College: Nebraska   (school history)
Drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2nd round (49th overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft.

Weighted Career AV (100-95-...): 93 (211th overall since 1950)
4-time Pro Bowler & 1-time First-Team All-Pro (fine print)

Hall of Fame finalist in 2010, semi-finalist in 2009

Rushing Receiving
Year Age Tm Pos No. G GS Att Yds TD Lng Y/A Y/G A/G Rec Yds Y/R TD Lng R/G Y/G YScm RRTD Fmb AV
1983 23 SFO FB 33 16 13 176 725 8 71 4.1 45.3 11.0 48 427 8.9 4 23 3.0 26.7 1152 12 6 10
1984 24 SFO FB 33 16 16 155 649 7 28 4.2 40.6 9.7 71 675 9.5 3 64 4.4 42.2 1324 10 3 13
1985* 25 SFO FB 33 16 16 214 1050 9 62 4.9 65.6 13.4 92 1016 11.0 6 73 5.8 63.5 2066 15 5 17
1986 26 SFO FB 33 16 15 204 830 7 25 4.1 51.9 12.8 81 624 7.7 0 48 5.1 39.0 1454 7 4 10
1987* 27 SFO RB/fb 33 14 14 215 815 3 25 3.8 58.2 15.4 66 492 7.5 1 35 4.7 35.1 1307 4 5 13
1988*+ 28 SFO RB 33 16 15 310 1502 9 46 4.8 93.9 19.4 76 534 7.0 1 22 4.8 33.4 2036 10 8 17
1989* 29 SFO RB 33 16 16 271 1054 6 27 3.9 65.9 16.9 49 473 9.7 1 44 3.1 29.6 1527 7 4 15
1990 30 SFO RB 33 11 11 141 439 1 26 3.1 39.9 12.8 25 201 8.0 0 31 2.3 18.3 640 1 2 5
1991 31 RAI RB 22 15 13 162 590 1 15 3.6 39.3 10.8 17 136 8.0 0 20 1.1 9.1 726 1 2 6
1992 32 MIN 33 15 1 105 416 4 21 4.0 27.7 7.0 22 164 7.5 0 22 1.5 10.9 580 4 2 5
1993 33 MIN 33 14 3 38 119 1 11 3.1 8.5 2.7 19 169 8.9 1 31 1.4 12.1 288 2 1 2
Career 165 133 1991 8189 56 71 4.1 49.6 12.1 566 4911 8.7 17 73 3.4 29.8 13100 73 42 113
8 yrs SFO 121 116 1686 7064 50 71 4.2 58.4 13.9 508 4442 8.7 16 73 4.2 36.7 11506 66 37 100
2 yrs MIN 29 4 143 535 5 21 3.7 18.4 4.9 41 333 8.1 1 31 1.4 11.5 868 6 3 7
1 yr RAI 15 13 162 590 1 15 3.6 39.3 10.8 17 136 8.0 0 20 1.1 9.1 726 1 2 6
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 12/13/2011.
NumYrs Players whose career was of similar quality and shape
3 John L. Williams, Adrian Peterson, Terry Metcalf, Marshall Faulk*, Eric Dickerson*, LaDainian Tomlinson, Warrick Dunn, John Brockington, Curtis Martin, Maurice Jones-Drew
4 John L. Williams, Terry Metcalf, Gale Sayers*, Warrick Dunn, Franco Harris*, Marshall Faulk*, Eric Dickerson*, Joseph Addai, Earl Campbell*, Eddie George
5 John L. Williams, Eric Dickerson*, Terry Metcalf, Franco Harris*, Earl Campbell*, Barry Sanders*, Curtis Martin, Warrick Dunn, Eddie George, Gale Sayers*
6 Eric Dickerson*, Marcus Allen*, John L. Williams, Ricky Watters, Curtis Martin, Jim Brown*, Tony Dorsett*, Larry Brown, Lenny Moore*, Franco Harris*
7 Eric Dickerson*, Ricky Watters, Curtis Martin, Tony Dorsett*, Jim Brown*, Marcus Allen*, Barry Sanders*, Franco Harris*, Lenny Moore*, Walter Payton*
8 Eric Dickerson*, Marcus Allen*, Walter Payton*, Tony Dorsett*, Ricky Watters, John L. Williams, Curtis Martin, Eddie George, Franco Harris*, Lenny Moore*
9 Eric Dickerson*, Marcus Allen*, Lenny Moore*, John L. Williams, Walter Payton*, Tiki Barber, Eddie George, Warrick Dunn, Franco Harris*, Fred Taylor
10 Eric Dickerson*, Marcus Allen*, James Brooks, Lenny Moore*, Tiki Barber, John L. Williams, Fred Taylor, Ricky Watters, Tony Dorsett*, Warrick Dunn
11 Eric Dickerson*, Marcus Allen*, James Brooks, Fred Taylor, Lenny Moore*, Tiki Barber, John L. Williams, Ricky Watters, Warrick Dunn, Tony Dorsett*
Career Eric Dickerson*, Tiki Barber, James Brooks, John L. Williams, Fred Taylor, Ricky Watters, Lenny Moore*, Ottis Anderson, Eddie George, Leroy Kelly*
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 12/13/2011.

20 Responses to “PFR: HoF Candidate – Roger Craig”

  1. oneblankspace Says:

    Not to be confused with the Roger Craig who was in San Francisco 1985-92.

  2. Patrick Dotts Says:

    Craig was a fine player who deserves a good look at the hall, but his chances are much enhanced due to the fact he played for the 49ers. He was only a first-team all-pro once and his career declined quickly after he departed San Francisco. Its hard to hold him out with two 2,000+ total yards seasons as a RB, but I would not give him a vote.

  3. Packerfan4ver Says:

    Roger Craig was a very good player. I do think the amount 1, 0000 he had was caused by the fact he shared carries with Wendell Tyler, and Joe Cribbs.

    I don't think he is a hall of fame player though. Roger was the premier all purpose back from 1985 to 1989, but he was not the premier back of his era. Eric Dickerson was best back of that time period. If Roger didn't share the carries, he would have had a stronger case for going to Canton because he could have had 3 or 4 2,000 yard all purposed years by rushing and receiving. That would have been enough for going to canton.

    Roger does have a very good excuse why his career declined quickly after leaving the 49ers. Roger Craig already was declining by the time he left the 49ers. It was by injuries he had in 1990 besides being 30 years old. Running backs usually decline by the time they hit 30 although there had been exceptions. Running back primes are short because of the amount carries they get in a season

  4. steve norris Says:

    i say no. i always think of him as a reciever who ran the ball. great player but them last 3 years shows he was wearing down and duribility means alot in my estimation. rathman,tyler,and cribbs took alot of tough carries from craig.

  5. Lonestarr Says:

    I'll give him a very slight yes. He's marginal, but versatile.

  6. Max Says:

    No. He belongs in the hall of very good. He was an 80's back, and when you think 80's backs he doesn't belong in the discussion with Payton, Dickerson, Dorsett, or even Marcus Allen.

    I love Roger Craig, he was a helluva football player, but I'm sorry, he's not a Hall of Famer.

  7. Charles Butler Says:

    He had a good career and was a football player but he was not dominant as a running back over a long period of time! He is not someone that merits a Hall of Fame player even though he had his flashes! He is one of my favorite players on the 49ers though in what was one of the best teams in the 80's though!

  8. Jeremy Crowhurst Says:

    If he didn't have the 1k-1k season, he wouldn't even be in the discussion. As a runner, he was just a guy, playing in a system that made him look like a player. As a receiving back, he was a player who Montana made look like a star.

    Even that big season was a bit of a fluke: Jerry wasn't yet Jerry, Dwight was pretty much at the end, and given how much time Joe had to throw the ball, somebody had to end up with the receptions.

  9. Bill Says:

    Roger Craig is not a Hall of Famer because he did not maintain a level of greatness over a long period of time. He had some phenomenal seasons in 1985 and 1988 - but as a Running Back and only having three 1000 yard seasons, the only reason he gets past the semi-finalist list is because he played for the 49ers and won 3 Super Bowl rings and 556 receptions.

    There is a long list of offensive players with Super Bowl rings and impressive resumes who have stronger cases to get in, including (but not limited to): Terrell Davis, Rod Smith, Corey Dillon, Cliff Branch, Ken Stabler, Phil Simms, Issac Bruce, Hines Ward, Reggie Wayne - and that is just the "skill position" players. Alan Faneca, Johnathon Ogden, Orlando Pace and Larry Allen.

    He ranks #37 on the All-Time List (although at the time of his retirement he actually ranked #12 - which was Hall of Fame worthy). But since 25 RBs have passed him up since his retirement - in particular Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders, Curtis Martin, Jerome Bettis, LaDainian Tomlinson and Marshall Faulk all cracked the top 10 All Time Rushing list.

    Roger Craig was a great player for the 49ers - a key contributor to a dynasty. But being part of a Dynasty with 2 outstanding seasons and a career of solid but not consistently good contributions is not enough to warrant a bust in Canton.

  10. Felden Says:

    I think he could get in in a weak year, but he's certainly not a perfect candidate, and I doubt he'll ever make it. Very good player,though.

  11. James Says:

    Roger Craig, aside from his 1000-1000 season and his 1500+ yard season in 1988 was a pedestrian running back at best. He never maintained his peak level for a long period of time.

  12. Just Win Baby Says:

    Easy no, for reasons already covered in the comments above.

  13. Xogo Says:

    Roger Craig is NOT a HoF'er!!

    As a Running Back his numbers are nothing special. Three seasons over 1000 yds? Please! To get a 1000 yds in a 16 game season, you need only 65/game. Thats nothing. Plus he never averaged over 5.0 yds/carry in any season. Craigs 1502 season is the only one that stands out, and one is not nearly enough. There is a reason why, despite being older and more experienced, he was demoted at Nebraska by Osborne to make room for Rozier. I put him in the "right-place-right-time" category that goes with many of the 49ers from the 80s. Craigs receiving numbers are impressive, until you realize most of those catches were screens or in the flat where he was essentially uncovered.

    Walsh and Rice are the only HoF'ers from those 80s teams. And of course, Walsh stole everything from Paul Brown, and one could argue he doesnt belong either.

  14. Packerfan4ver Says:

    Ronnie Lott was not a player that belong in the "right-place-right-time category" unlike what the poster above indicated. Ronnie Lott actually is one of those players that would have fit in any era in the NFL and become a legend in any era. Ronnie Lott was great in pass coverage, great tackler, and is really the complete package as a Defensive back.

  15. Just Win Baby Says:

    I'm sure Xogo was forgetting Lott, who is clearly deserving of his place in the HOF.

  16. Jeremy Crowhurst Says:

    Xogo is clearly a student of the game. Few people are aware of how Paul Brown created the West Coast offense, and that Walsh stole it from him, and generally made no contributions to the game of football himself whatsoever.

    Oh wait....

  17. Thomas Court Says:

    Only Rice is deserving?

    Not Joe Montana? Are you out of your mind?

    I am a Cowboy fan, and to suggest that Joe Montana's greatness is because he was in the "right place at the right time" is sheer lunacy. Was that feathery throw to Clark done with smoke and mirrors? Were his 11 touchdown passes and ZERO interceptions in the Super Bowl simply a matter of luck?

    A great scheme like the West Coast Offense or the 46 Defense can only get you so far. You need talent to execute that scheme to its highest level of efficiency - and Montana did that to tune of four championship rings.

    To prove the idiocy of your post look at it this way: Imagine the kind of quarterback it would take exceed Montana's accomplishment. That is, a quarterback who could win 5 Super Bowls in a decade. Obviously it would take a cinch Hall of Famer to accomplish that. Which is exactly what Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw are.

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  19. Charles Says:

    Craig should be in the HOF

  20. Chris Smith Says:

    I would personally vote for him, because he helped define what a RB could be in the modern (WCO) game. Not only good hands out of the backfield, but could line up on the LOS as a receiver and run actual routes. He was one hell of a blocker as well (came into the league as a fullback, made the pro-bowl as both a fullback and halfback, only player ever to do so).

    He was a league MVP, led the league in receptions by a back for 6 straight years, could change a game with one carry or catch, and was one of the best at selling the play action fake.

    Throw in some great post-season performances, where he was at his best was the SB's. 135 total yards and 3 scores in his first one (set records), 172 total yards in his 2nd, and 103 total yards and a score in his 3rd SB.

    Cris Carter has 300 career reg and post-season yards on Craig (in 5 more seasons), and no rings. Only Dickerson, Marcus Allen, and Walter Payton had more yards in the 80's out of every single back, TE, and WR that played in that decade.