Was Matt Forte snubbed from the All-Decade Team’s FLEX position?
To quote the prototypical teenager in 2020: It was a “weird flex”, but okay, NFL.
If you look up the word “consistency” in the dictionary, you might just see a picture of a Chicago Bears No. 22 jersey inside. There were many a Sundays in which no matter the result, you could count on Matt Forte to offer up one of his classic 75-rushing yard, 50-receiving yard games — something he did more than any player during his time — and you’d seldom hear much about it.
So, it only made sense when, at the end of 2019, Matt Forte made his case for a spot on the All-Decade Team, few took notice. Here’s a quote via NBC Sports Chicago’s Bryan Perez:
"“No. 1, I’m going to put myself. I’m gonna be humble,” Forte said before a brief pause, “and put myself at No. 1. I gotta put Adrian Peterson on there, who’s been killing it for beyond a decade. I think after him, I think I would put probably Marshawn Lynch on there as well. He’s a guy who revitalized Seattle’s running game after Shaun Alexander left and has been a really good asset for them when he was playing for them.”"
Well, Forte was spot on. Peterson got his nod. Lynch got his. And with two spots left, the case for Chicago’s former two-time Pro Bowler was there for the taking.
Those spots went to Frank Gore and LeSean McCoy.
Let’s not be biased; it’s hard to make the case for either of them under Forte, with double the Pro Bowls and some four times the amount of Playoff appearances. But when you scroll down the list, and you see the spot open for “FLEX,” it’s safe to say Forte has a case ahead of Darren Sproles.
There’s no wrong decision, per sè, but FLEX is defined as a skill position that accumulates production through rushing, receiving, returning, everything. Here’s a tape of the tape:
- Forte — 2,216 touches
- Sproles — 999 touches
- Forte — 1,782 carries, 7,629 yards, 42 touchdowns
- Sproles — 533 carries, 2,665 yards, 17 touchdowns
- Forte — 434 catches, 3,724 yards, 17 touchdowns
- Sproles — 466 catches, 3,960 yards, 23 touchdowns
If return yards are what put Sproles over the top, the return slots that two other Bears (Hester and Cordarrelle Patterson) got would be counterintuitive. As NFL Draft analyst Brad Kelly brought out, special teams assist in offense, but they aren’t offense.
For Bears fans, it’s perhaps a whiffed chance to reward one of the luminaries of the modern-day running back. In 2014, for instance, Forte broke a two-decade record by recording 102 catches (Christian McCaffrey later broke it in 2018). At the very least, Forte can count on making All-Decade Chicago Bears teams, if that makes up for it. Who’s cutting onions?