Edgar Bennett: Tough Mudder

Bennett was a big factor in the Packers' 1996 Super Bowl run. Every so often, you get in the argument with that guy. In this instance, that guy means "that guy who only wants to evaluate players based on their numbers." That guy will insist that players with stats that he deems "sub-par" shouldn't be included in the Hall of Fame. He'll point to players like Joe Namath or Don Hutson or some other old school guy and say because their numbers don't meet his imaginary standards, they don't belong.

But that guy is wrong, because it's called the Hall of FAME, not the Hall of Stats.

Now that you've indulged my straw man argument, I want to talk about Edgar Bennett. Because of his stature in the Packers franchise (a member of the 1996 Super Bowl team and a seemingly well-respected coach on staff right now), Bennett is viewed with perhaps a bit of extra reverence as a player.

But if you're that guy, you'll say his numbers don't really look all that impressive. And you might have a point.

In seven NFL seasons, Bennett rushed for 3,992 yards and scored 21 touchdowns. His per carry average is a pedestrian 3.6. He never ran for more than 1067 yards, never led the league in any significant category, and only started every game of the season one time.

But to me, Edgar Bennett absolutely belongs in The Packer Perspective Hall of Fame (and, for that matter, every Hall of Fame devoted to Packers players).

Edgar Bennett is the sort of player whose legend exceeds his statistical impact. Looking back, you might actually be surprised that his numbers weren't better, given the image you might carry of him in your mind. But there they are, plain and average.

What's not average, though, is how we remember him, and that's all that matters. If you're a real fan of the Packers, the words "Edgar Bennett" immediately conjure up images of the 1996 NFC Divisional Playoff game against San Francisco. On a muddy, slow field that day, Bennett slogged through the rain for 80 yards on 17 carries and scored two touchdowns, the second of which would ice the game for Green Bay and send the Packers off to the NFC Championship.

Fame is subjective, and Halls of Fame can't be distilled down to numbers or formulas. If you understand the significance of remembering a player, and if you understand the player and their place in the game, then I think you should know in your heart if a player belongs in the Hall. Edgar Bennett belongs here, and I'm always glad to remember the things he gave to the Packers over the years.

BONUS: The FULL 1996 NFC Divisional Playoff game for your enjoyment.



Jon Meerdink