Walter Payton

One of the best running-backs of NFL history was not only a good athlete, but a good person.

Walter Payton rushing in a game vs. the Saints.

Wikimedia Commons

Walter Payton rushing in a game vs. the Saints.

By Kobe Hay and Ethan Morales

Out of the hundreds of running-backs that have gone through the NFL, a few leave an outlasting impact on the game of football. A charismatic man named Walter Payton, also known as “Sweetness”, is among one of these running-backs. He is widely considered to be one of the best of all time.

January 28th, 1975, Walter Payton was drafted into the NFL with the first round, fourth overall pick., landing a running-back position in Chicago. Having a chance to play at the level Payton did comes with love and dedication. “When you’re good at something, you’ll tell everyone. When you’re great at something, they’ll tell you,” Payton once said. That’s exactly what happens when you compete as he did.

A lethal player for defenses to try and stop, Payton ended up setting numerous records throughout his career. Payton has the second most rushing yards in a career, with 16,726 yards. He could simply just run down the field with about four or more defenders on his back, making it look like clockwork.

Payton created a new type of running-back. At the time, most running-backs were only powerhouses. Payton helped set in motion, a balanced running-back; someone who has speed, can catch, and run over people all at once. The half-backs of today (half-back is another name for running-back) such as Ezekiel Elliot, Marshawn Lynch, and Kareem Hunt all show traits that Payton once used to be a weapon.

Not only an amazing athlete, Walter Payton was known for his charitable work. An Illinois native, Payton understood the struggles that children faced in their lives. From living on the streets to trying to find their next meal, Payton decided that he would create the Walter Payton Foundation, to help needy children. The charity is still operating today.

The acronym, G.O.A.T. (meaning Greatest Of All Time) is not just given to any person; it is earned. For Walter Payton however, the acronym fits him well. Besides being one of the best running backs of all time, Payton had a heart to help those in need. Payton serves as an inspiration for those who strive to be the best in whatever they do; whether being the best athlete one can be, or just to become a helpful person, Payton is a prime example.