The top 10 athletes of the 2000’s….No. 7December 15, 2009
Few athletes broke as many records as the number 7 athlete did this decade. Bursting onto the NFL scene in 2001, this runningback has amassed over 12,000 rushing yards, 4,000 receiving yards, 147 touchdowns, and plenty of awards and honors. Runningback might be the only position where there was a clear No. 1 player, and arguments for the spot would be rare. Not that there weren’t other great runningbacks, but candidates got more and more limited as the decade went on and everyone switched to multiple-running back systems. Getting anywhere near a decade of great production is a lot to ask of any back, but the number 7 athlete certainly was the greatest.
The number 7 athlete after the jump!
LaDainian Tomlinson’s decade began on a high-note when he was elected the MVP of the Senior Bowl while at TCU in 2001. Moreover, Tomlinson immediately became the starting runningback for the San Diego Chargers after he was taken fifth overall in the 2001 draft. Tomlinson achieved immediate success in the NFL, rushing for over 1,200 yards and making over 50 receptions in each of his seven seasons. He has also proven to be effective as a passer, having completed eight career passes, seven of them for touchdowns and a career passer rating of 154.4.
In 2003, he became the first player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards and record 100 receptions in the same season. He also reached his 50th career touchdown in his 4th season (60th game) and was elected to the Pro Bowl five times, and the All-Pro team six times. Tomlinson also tied Lenny Moore’s all-time record for consecutive games scoring a TD.
Tomlinson also holds other NFL records, all obtained this decade. His 31 touchdowns in 2006 broke Shaun Alexander’s record of 28 and his 186 points scored in 2006 broke Paul Hornung’s record that held up for over 40 years. Other records include most consecutive games with a rushing touchdown (18), most consecutive multi-touchdown games (8), and most consecutive games with a touchdown score of any kind (18).
In addition to the various records, he is also the fastest player to achieve 100 touchdowns, breaking a mark held by both Jim Brown and Emmitt Smith. Furthermore, Tomlinson holds the all-time NFL record for fewest games needed to achieve 150 touchdowns, with his 150th score coming in his 137th game. If that’s not enough for you, LaDainian is currently second place on the list of NFL all-time rushing touchdown leaders—behind Emmitt Smith.
LaDainian Tomlinson also won the AP MVP award for the 2006 season and was a six-time All-Pro selection.
Job well done….
You’ll probably find today’s honorable mention on most lists for top athletes of the 2000’s, but Lance Armstrong just missed mine. The man did win five Tour de France races, and was the AP Male Athlete of the Year four times, but his dominance fizzled as the decade came to a close. Certainly no athlete could match his accolades for the first half of the decade, but Lance Armstrong took a three-year break beginning in ’06 and that ultimately cost him a spot on my list. Still, he deserves a lot of respect accomplishing what he did all while battling cancer.