Say goodbye to two of the most electrifying players in the NFL, although, you've probably already started. LaDainian Tomlinson and Brian Westbrook are officially jobless. It shouldn't be too long for them to find a new home, but instead of being the head of the household, they'll be renting out the basement.
But let's go back a few seasons. Who would you rather have on your team? LT or Westbrook? Obviously your first reaction is to have the former MVP in your backfield, but looking a bit closer might have you second-guessing yourself (at least a little bit).
The Case For LT
Tomlinson is durable. LT played in 15 or more regular season games in all but this previous season (141 games). Westbrook, while having been in the league one less year, has missed 21 games in 8 seasons. In a pass first league, Tomlinson averaged nearly 89 rushing yards a game and 117 total yards per game. He has three seasons of averaging greater than 100 yards per game. In his nine years, LT has accumulated 153 touchdowns, which means every game he stepped on the field, you could mark it down he would score. Westbrook's numbers aren't shabby, but his average isn't quite a touchdown per game. Now where you might think Westbrook holds a distinct advantage, receiving, LT has held his own. LT has more career receiving yards than Westbrook (3,955 vs. 3,790), and averaged more yards receiving per game (28 vs 25.4). Oh and let's not forget LT has better moves on the dance floor.
The Case For B-West
Where Westbrook excels is not in his receiving yards, but finding the end zone as a receiver (29 TDs). And while he wasn't always healthy, when he was, you never had to worry about him coughing up the rock. Only 8 total fumbles. LT is pretty reliable with only 19 career fumbles, but Westbrook takes that to a whole new level. Now you may call it being drafted into a good situation, but in Westbrook's 8 seasons, he's been a part of 81 regular season wins. He's only experienced one season of being below .500, which was the fewest games he'd play in a season up until 2009. Now let's talk playoffs. LT had one phenomenal game against the Pats in 2006 (123 yds rushing, 2 TDs, 64 yds rec), and a good game in 2004 against the Jets (80 yds rushing, TD, 53 yds rec.). But both were losses. Brian Westbrook on the other hand has been outstanding in the postseason. Take out his rookie year and this past season, and in 8 playoff games, and Westbrook has 625 total rushing yards, 289 receiving yards, and 6 TDs.
I think in the end, it would be hard to pass up a player like LaDainian Tomlinson. Westbrook may be ever-so-slightly more dynamic, but Tomlinson's nose for the end zone is what football is all about. And even though LT won't be getting his typical carries wherever he ends up, when a team has a goal-to-go situation, Tomlinson just has that uncoachable knack, or drive, whatever you want to call it, that will get him into the end zone.
And soon enough, that drive will get him into the Hall of Fame.