ESPN's Sal Paolantonio was on 97.1 FM earlier this week and had some interesting things to say about Barry Sanders. Mainly, he said that Sanders was overrated as a Hall of Famer because he got to play his home games in a dome. Paolantonio didn't say that he was overrated as a player, but what he said still is a little ridiculous. Here are his exact words:
Four career outdoor post-season games, Sanders averaged 2.8 yards per carry, never scored a touchdown, never ran for more than 65 yards in a single game. With Sanders the Lions went 0-4 in outdoor playoff games losing by an average of 17 points. Now, obviously the numbers he put up in his career he deserves to be in Canton. But to me I think his record has a nasty blemish, once he got the playoffs and once he got of the Silverdome he was a much less effective player.
I think the game that stands out is that game at Lambeau field in 1994. That season he averaged 5.7 yards per carry, second highest total of his career. But in the first round of the playoffs against the Packers he set NFL postseason record for rushing few tility 13 carries for minus one year. You guys all know the stat, so that's the reason we're picking on Barry Sanders in this book.
I think if he played outdoors he probably wouldn't of had 15,000 yards rushing. I'm not saying he's not a great back. I have Brett Favre as an overrated quarterback, in the book; I am getting more heat about Brett Favre than I am about Barry Sanders.
I really don't even need to say anything, but to call Sanders overrated as a Hall of Famer because he played his home games in a dome is just dumb. Sure, his numbers were down outdoors, but that doesn't mean he is overrated. I imagine that by playing in a dome, he got used to that style of play. If he would've been outdoors his entire career, then he would've adjusted to that.
I know that I think this statement by Paolantonio is completely and utterly ridiculous, but what are your thoughts? If Barry played outdoors, would he have rushed for as many yards as he did?
There are some mistakes in the transcript, but the Free Press is the one that wrote it out. I haven't been able to find another copy of it, so this will just have to do.