"Sustaining an audience is hard. It demands a consistency of thought, of purpose, and of action over a long period of time."
-- Bruce Springsteen
My first weekend in San Diego found me having breakfast at one of those painfully eclectic joints in the super-hipster neighborhood of Hillcrest.
The menu threw down words like organic, kale, gluten-free, cage-free, sage, artichoke, sundried, rosemary and, of course, locally grown. This was worse than getting Punk’d by Pauly Shore. When I ordered a cup of coffee, the waitress shot me the same disgusted stare anyone under 25 gives when you explain that Mumford & Sons can't write songs, should hire a drummer and need to stop dressing like farmers.
“We don't have coffee, we have French roast,” she responded emphatically.
I've never been back. I'm from Portland, which out-hipsters San Diego by a 20-to-1 margin. I don't need your version of The Decemberists, your lame tattoo of Bob Marley or your 10,000 microbrews. Breakfast should be a Fast and the Furious sequel. Follow the formula and you can't screw it up. Be consistent.
Just like Frank Gore.
Since entering the league 10 seasons ago, no running back has been more underrated than The Inconvenient Truth. Gore has never missed more than five games in a season. He hasn't missed one since 2010.
He's 31. That's, like, 80 in running back years.
Gore has rushed for 10,520 yards, 24th all time. Among active running backs he’s behind only Steven Jackson (11,107). But while Jackson's body has broken down of late, Gore has transformed into Bernard Hopkins. If Gore were to average 1,000 yards in two more seasons, he'd vault himself into the top 10 alongside names like Jim Brown and Tony Dorsett.
Gore's numbers have never been eye-popping. He's not powerful like Adrian Peterson, bruising like Jackson or quick like LeSean McCoy. He doesn’t have the burst of Arian Foster. He has pedestrian career averages of 4.5 yards-per-carry and 74.6 yards-per-game.
Gore has played 141 regular season games. For perspective, Shaun Alexander played 126 and Jamal Lewis, 131. Jackson is at 152. The greatest running back of all time, Barry Sanders, played 153. Gore is in range of the ageless one, Marcus Allen, who played 168. LaDainian Tomlinson played 170 and Emmitt Smith played a whopping 219.
What makes The Boss a legend isn’t his music. It’s that at the age of 65, he still puts on three-hour live shows. He still brings it.
So does Gore. He’s been the most durable running back since Tomlinson despite playing under three different and often erratic head coaches (Mike Singletary anyone?) who operated vastly different offensive systems.
Gore is In-N-Out in a sea of trendy eateries. While the NFL's new pass happy league have allowed modern quarterbacks to play into their early 40s and receivers into their mid-to-late 30s, running backs will always have an expiration date of 33. It’s the nature of a position that is the most physically taxing in all of sports.
Gore has stayed injury-free for almost his entire career. We celebrate flash and potential, but we often overlook durability. Gore has had eight straight seasons with 200 or more carries and a YPC average that never dipped below 4.0. Even Emmitt didn't accomplish that.
Would you rather two MVP-caliber seasons from an injury-riddled DeMarco Murray, or 12 above-average seasons from Gore? Do you want three great years from Michael Vick, or 15 good ones from Matt Hasselbeck? I take Gore and Hasselbeck every time.
Gore runs hard and he doesn't get hurt. Is that enough to get him into the Hall of Fame with Jackson? It should.
There's only one truly great breakfast spot in San Diego: Kono's Cafe in Pacific Beach. Their menu is simple, some combination of eggs, bacon, pancakes and French toast. Their food is cheap and delicious with no frills. There's a reason there's a 30-minute line out the door every weekend. They're not flashy, they're consistent.
I don't want a locally-brewed IPA. Just give me a Bud Light.