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Longevity, Consistent Production Make Frank Gore a Hall of Famer

Currently third on the NFL's all-time career rushing list, Frank Gore has cemented his legacy as a worthy candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Frank Gore

Frank Gore may not generate the most yards on a stat sheet. 

But the 36-year-old running back is still an integral asset. Look no further than the Buffalo Bills, who use Gore as a complementary tailback option, alongside Devin Singletary. In the Bills’ 26-15 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Thursday, Gore just ran for 11 yards on nine carries. But the 212-pound back, despite being in the twilight of his career, is still making life miserable for opposing defenses.

Gore’s knowledge of the game is second to none. But the incessant preparation he puts into every matchup epitomizes his warrior mentality. It is Gore who can often be seen on the field well after practice, doing drills and refining his skill set. 

“It’s like he’s a rookie competing for his job every day,” said Bills running-backs coach Kelly Skipper. 

Frank Gore Has a Hall of Fame Worthy Resume

The longevity and consistent production have propelled Gore into third all-time in the NFL’s career rushing list. On November 24th, Gore’s 65 rushing yards in the Bills 20-3 victory over the Denver Broncos put him above Hall-of-Fame Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders on the career rushing list (15,269 yards). 

With 15,300 rushing yards and counting, Gore is behind Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton (16,726 yards) and Cowboys tailback Emmitt Smith (18,355 yards). Like Tom Brady at the quarterback position, Frank Gore is redefining what is possible for aging running backs. 

And when he finally exits the game, Gore’s career accomplishments and legacy are on the path to being enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

“I’m happy I was able to hit this milestone at home in front of the Buffalo fans,” Gore said. “I’m a guy who they said wouldn’t be in the league for more than two or three years, and I got a chance to pass Barry.” 


The first case to make for Gore being a Hall of Famer is career rushing. Any running back who has generated 12,250 yards or more has been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: 

1 Emmitt Smith+ 18,355 1990-2004
2 Walter Payton+ 16,726 1975-1987
3 Frank Gore 15,300 2005-2019
4 Barry Sanders+ 15,269 1989-1998
5 Curtis Martin+ 14,101 1995-2005
6 Adrian Peterson 13,861 2007-2019
7 LaDainian Tomlinson+ 13,684 2001-2011
8 Jerome Bettis+ 13,662 1993-2005
9 Eric Dickerson+ 13,259 1983-1993
10 Tony Dorsett+ 12,739 1977-1988
11 Jim Brown+ 12,312 1957-1965
12 Marshall Faulk+ 12,279 1994-2005

(Table by: Pro Football Reference. *= Hall of Famer) 

Aside from Adrian Peterson, who is an active player, Gore’s rushing totals put him in the Hall of Fame conversation. Despite achieving these numbers at a slower pace compared to Sanders, Gore must be credited for consistency over a long period of time. 

Playing for the San Francisco 49ers, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins and now the Bills, Gore has exemplified power running over a 15-year career. Marcus Allen, Joe Perry and Emmitt Smith are the only Hall of Fame running backs to have played at least 15 seasons. 

“To play football for 10 or 12 years, let alone 15, that’s a long time,” said Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson, currently 9th on the all-time rushing list. “He’s not just on the bench. He’s been the guy.”


The second case for Gore punching his ticket into the Hall of Fame is career yards from scrimmage. Players with over 17,000 career yards from scrimmage have been selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

1 Jerry Rice+ 23,540 1985-2004
2 Emmitt Smith+ 21,579 1990-2004
3 Walter Payton+ 21,264 1975-1987
4 Frank Gore 19,180 2005-2019
5 Marshall Faulk+ 19,154 1994-2005
6 LaDainian Tomlinson+ 18,456 2001-2011
7 Barry Sanders+ 18,190 1989-1998
8 Marcus Allen+ 17,654 1982-1997
9 Curtis Martin+ 17,430 1995-2005

(Table by: Pro Football Reference. *= Hall of Famer) 

Of the running backs above, only Allen played beyond his 36th birthday. Gore is on pace to be second in rushing as a 36-year-old behind Allen, who generated 830 yards at that age. 

In addition to the scrimmage yards, Gore has 11 consecutive seasons with five-plus touchdowns, tied for the most by a running back in NFL history. He is the only tailback to record 1,200+ scrimmage yards in 12 seasons, demonstrating the constant offensive production. 


Despite being selected for five Pro Bowls, Gore has not won the Super Bowl or been awarded a major offense award. The running back has never led the league in rushing yards, nor has ever been granted first-team All-Pro honors. 

But when dissecting the recent trends of running backs being selected for the Hall of Fame, there is not a set formula. A holistic approach is employed to take into account more than just accolades and accomplishments when evaluating a running back. 

For example, Hall of Famers Barry Sanders, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Curtis Martin never won a Super Bowl, yet recorded a plethora of rushing yards. Terrell Davis, who won two Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos, is a Hall of Famer despite only having 7,607 yards of career rushing. That is 7,693 fewer yards than what Gore currently has and counting. 

This speaks to the endurance of Gore, which has been a crucial factor to his success. The amount of years in the league, playing at a high level, is what the Hall of Fame Committee must respect as part of Gore’s candidacy in Canton. 

“When it comes to the Hall of Fame, when you see one who belongs there, it’s a guy who dominated in his time,” said Dickerson. “Defenses have to game plan for him — I mean really game plan for him. That’s a Hall of Famer.”


For Gore, discussions about the future have been reserved to a later date. His sole focus is on the Bills, a team that is 9-3 and on the precipice of making their second playoff appearance in three seasons. 

For the Bills, Gore has 552 rushing yards on 146 attempts and two touchdowns. In his 15th season, the veteran running back’s role is to not just to provide veteran leadership but help Singletary become a prolific runner. Passing down his wisdom to the future generation is very important to Gore, as he embraces the finish line is near. 

“Even when he’s not in, he’s still back there saying, ‘This play is going to go here’ or ‘This play is going to go here,’” said Ken Dorsey, the Bills’ quarterbacks coach. “Sure enough, the play goes on and he’s right 99 percent of the time. His instincts, feel and vision for the game is unbelievable.”

In the 100th season of the NFL, it is remarkable to fathom that we have a 41-year-old quarterback and a 36-year-old running back, still excelling in their respective roles. A 36-year-old Frank Gore is now 3,066 yards behind all-time rushing leader Emmitt Smith and 1,437 yards behind Walter Payton.

When most running backs are retiring at the age of 30, Gore is still in the trenches. As the decade comes to a close, Gore’s place among running back greatness is unquestionable and Hall of Fame worthy. 

Main Photo:

ARLINGTON, TX – NOVEMBER 28: Buffalo Bills Running Back Frank Gore (20) warms up prior to the game between the Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys on November 28, 2019 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


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