California’s future generations of football stars have a rich array of idols to look up to for inspiration. In San Diego specifically, many amongst the current crop of talents at SDSU look towards Marshall Faulk, who played for the L.A. Rams franchise during its period spent as the St Louis Rams, at the latter end of an industrious NFL career.
As a product of SDSU, it comes as no surprise to see that memories of Faulk’s playing days show a man who valued integrity of spirit and intensity of deed, which in turn inspires the future generation of pros recently identified as the brightest new talents.
Few seasons in NCAA history have matched Faulk’s freshman campaign of 1991, during which he gained 1,429 yards rushing, with 21 rushing touchdowns of 23 total alongside a total of 140 points scored. There was no dreaded ‘slump’ either, with Faulk thereafter attaining 1,600 and 1,530 in his sophomore and junior years, respectively.
Faulk’s running abilities made him a projected high pick for the 1994 NFL draft, and it came as little surprise to see that the Indianapolis Colts made him the second pick overall. They were desperate for someone with the potential to not only make up the lack of yards that had been their undoing in 1993, but also a man who could create a long-term legacy.
Overall, Faulk’s contract was worth $22.3 million, and set to run until 2001. He proved to be worth every penny in his debut NFL season, getting impressively close to covering as many yards (1,282) as he did in his freshman year. He did much to restore some pride at the franchise, with the Colts getting a .500 season (8-8) and Faulk being named as the Offensive Rookie of the Year and becoming the first debutant to claim the Pro Bowl MVP award.
Present-day Rams value Faulk principles despite poor 2019
Flash forward more than 25 years from the end of Faulk’s illustrious college football years, and the L.A. Rams’ find themselves with a philosophy that is built around pace and chasing down every ball. It is this strength – as shown at flashpoints in the video below – that showed itself in the Rams’ 2018 run to the Super Bowl, and it remains vital towards the franchise keeping its American football betting odds for regional and divisional triumph encouragingly short.
2019 was a different story, with RB Todd Gurley, who was so crucial in 2018, finding it difficult to make up the necessary yards. As an accomplished starter, Gurley became a victim of his own success, and he figured prominently in the playbook of most opposition teams.
The 2020 campaign will be a different story with Gurley no longer around and with a different offensive coordinator, but successfully taking inspiration from Faulk’s achievements is more than just about emulating them. It is also about overcoming setbacks in the same way as the man many believe to be SDSU’s greatest product in football.
The rest is history
As there were for the Rams in 2019, so too were there setbacks and moments of doubt in Faulk’s own career. In his last season with the Indianapolis Colts, an injury forced by various circumstances into moving to the St. Louis Rams.
What happened next was a Missouri manifestation of ‘Cali’ team spirit, since named as the ‘Greatest Show on Turf.’ In 2000, Faulk became a Super Bowl winner, and the outright MVP of the NFL. Overall, Faulk’s NFL career is a classic story that can inspire anyone from college upwards to fight for every value they hold on the field.
So too is it a poignant example of promise unfulfilled, with many believing that the Rams’ franchise should have become as dominant in the 2000s as the Patriots were in the 2010s. This leaves the proverbial door open for Californians – whether native, or ‘adopted’ like Faulk – to impose themselves and create a legacy to match or even outstrip it.