Stephen Curry has changed the way people view what is possible at the professional level in basketball. His ability to consistently stroke in long shots during games has no doubt changed the game. That’s the kind of impact Le’Veon Bell thinks he is having on the NFL.
When asked about his uncanny patience as he waits for holes to develop behind his offensive line, Bell said, “I think I’m changing the game. In that sense, I’m what Steph Curry is to basketball,” per Tyler Dunne of Bleacher Report.
That Bell is one of the preeminent players at his position is something we cannot argue about. When he’s not suspended or injured, there aren’t many backs in the NFL that can come close to comparing to what it is he can do on the field, as both a receiver and a runner. To be honest, only David Johnson of the Arizona Cardinals can be placed in the same realm of greatness.
But to say he’s changing the game is a huge stretch. In fact, guys like Barry Sanders and Marshall Faulk might take his comment as a bit of an insult. They had that same uncanny patience and instincts Bell displays, and they were doing their thing since before he was born, either at the pro or college levels.
There have been many players who have changed the game forever. In recent years, we’ve seen the likes of Cam Newton change our perception of what an NFL quarterback is capable of doing. We’ve seen Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez change our perception of how tight ends can be utilized. We’ve seen defensive ends coming into the league looking more like NBA centers, with the sculpted body of Hercules and the speed of a track star.
But running backs have been doing things Bell does for a long time. They don’t come along very often, but it’s not like he’s the first of a new breed. That’s not to knock his abilities, which are undeniably out of this world. But to say he’s changing the game, a la Stephen Curry, is taking it a bit too far.