Author Topic: The 10 Greatest Running Backs in NFL History  (Read 156 times)

Offline Marvelous

  • HEF FOI
  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 3327
    • View Profile
    • PhotograFX
The 10 Greatest Running Backs in NFL History
« on: September 30, 2017, 04:53:31 pm »
10) Marshall Faulk (HOF Class of 2011)


Faulk was the centerpiece of the Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf,” an offensive unit that will go down in NFL history as one of the best ever. Unquestionably the greatest pass catching running back of all-time, Faulk averaged 63 catches per season throughout his Hall of Fame career. While his hands made him special, his legs didn’t disappoint either. Faulk tallied seven 1,000-yard seasons and finished the 1999 season with over 1,000 yards rushing and receiving (only 1 of 2 players to ever accomplish both in the same season).

9) LaDainian Tomlinson (HOF Eligible in 2017)


In his final two collegiate seasons at TCU, Tomlinson posted videogame statistics — rushing for over 4,200 yards and scoring 42 touchdowns. Critics suggested his success was a product of TCU’s option system, and claimed he wouldn’t transition well to the pro game. Boy, were they wrong! In his first 8 NFL seasons, Tomlinson posted over 1,500 yards of total offense. Similar to Faulk, Tomlinson’s excellent receiving skills made him a dual threat, which placed a heavy burden on defensive players and coordinators. As if that wasn’t enough, Tomlinson was also a threat to pass on occasion, throwing 7 touchdowns during his years with the Chargers.

8 ) Tony Dorsett (HOF Class of 1994)


Leading up to the 1977 draft, the Dallas Cowboys traded up for the 2nd overall pick which they wisely used to select legendary running back Tony Dorsett. Dorsett topped the 1,000-yard mark in eight of his first nine seasons, finishing his career with 12,739 yards. Dorsett’s most memorable play as a pro came in 1983 when he ran 99-yards for a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings (NFL record). What most people do not know is the Cowboys only had 10 players on the field for that play. The missing player was Dorsett’s fullback, Ron Springs.

7) Eric Dickerson (HOF Class of 1999)


Dickerson was a hard player to miss — besides being physically imposing (6-foot-3 and 220 pounds) — he sported a Jheri curl, signature goggles, and more pads than any player in NFL history. Set in 1984, Dickerson still owns the single-season record of 2,105 rushing yards. Over his 11-year career, Dickerson totaled 13,259 rushing yards.

6) Gale Sayers (HOF Class of 1977)


After being drafted by the Bears in 1965, Sayers immediately took the NFL by storm. In his rookie season (14 games) Sayers scored 22 touchdowns and totaled 2,272 all-purpose yards (NFL records at the time). In perhaps the most memorable of his career, Sayers scored six touchdowns in a single game against the 49ers. Unfortunately, multiple knee injuries limited Sayers to just 68 career games. If not for the injuries, NFL experts believe Sayers would have easily finished as one of the top players in League history — regardless of position.

5) O.J. Simpson (HOF Class of 1985)


Simpson was the first back in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season — going for 2,003 in 1973 — and he did so when the league played only 14 games per season! The other six backs in NFL history to surpass 2,000 yards in a single season all needed 16 games to do so. As a former track star at USC, Simpson was known for his breakaway speed. As defenders closed in, Simpson always had another gear and exploded away from any would be tacklers. Unfortunately, Simpson’s individual talent never translated into much team success. Throughout his career he played in only one playoff game.

4) Emmitt Smith (HOF Class of 2010)


The NFL’s all-time leading rusher certainly wasn’t the flashiest. Smith didn’t overwhelm defenses with speed, size, or power — his best attribute was his excellent vision. Although he didn’t possess the same talent as some of the other backs on this list, Smith made up for any physical shortcomings with his durability and toughness. Smith seemed to get stronger as the game went on, often punishing tired defenses in the fourth quarter. Smith rarely missed time due to injury. As a result of his durability, he finished his career with more rushing yards (18,355) and touchdowns (164) than any running back in NFL history.

3) Walter Payton (HOF Class of 1993)


In 1975, exactly 10 years after selecting Gale Sayers with the 4th overall pick in the draft, the Chicago Bears selected another all-time great running back with the 4th pick. For those NFL fans who never had the pleasure of watching Walter Payton, his famous nickname “Sweetness” described his personality off the field — Payton was anything but sweet on the gridiron. Payton was a bruising runner who refused to run out of bounds, and punished defenders until the whistle blew. As physical as he played, Payton missed just one game during his 13-year career.

2) Barry Sanders (HOF Class of 2004)


Undoubtedly the most electric player in NFL history, Sanders was a threat to take it to the house every time he touched the ball. Sanders possessed a unique combination of quickness, elusiveness, and strength that may never been seen again. Despite playing behind a weak offensive line on a struggle team, Sanders still managed to become the first back in history to notch five 1,500-yard seasons. Frustrated with management and their inability to surround him with better players — which often lead to defenses ganging up on him — Sanders shocked the NFL community and retired in 1998 at the age of 30.

1) Jim Brown (HOF Class of 1971)


At 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, Jim Brown was a man amongst boys. Brown was bigger, faster, and stronger than the competition. He was too fast to be tackled by lineman and linebackers, and too strong to be taken down by defensive backs. During his nine seasons in the NFL (1957-1965), Brown claimed eight rushing titles and walked away from the league as the owner of every significant record. Although several backs have surpassed Brown in the record books, fans must remember that when Brown played, the regular season was 12 games long from 1957-1960 and 14 games from 1961-1965. In terms of per game production, Brown ranks #1 in NFL history with an impressive 104.3 yards per game — a record that has stood since he retired in 1965.



"2. IF YOU DON'T READ THE BOOK BUT ARE WILLING TO ARGUE ABOUT IT EITHER YOU ARE:
a) An idiot who doesn't know what he's talking about.
b) A liar who is a fan who can't admit it to himself or others."

Offline Marvelous

  • HEF FOI
  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 3327
    • View Profile
    • PhotograFX
Re: The 10 Greatest Running Backs in NFL History
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2017, 04:56:25 pm »
Personally, I would switch Barry and Peyton around, Peyton is a personal fave, he comes close to #1 only because that was my era but Jim is #1.  As for Emmitt, he wouldn't be in the top 10.  Just don't know if he could do as good without that line he had back in the day he had.


"2. IF YOU DON'T READ THE BOOK BUT ARE WILLING TO ARGUE ABOUT IT EITHER YOU ARE:
a) An idiot who doesn't know what he's talking about.
b) A liar who is a fan who can't admit it to himself or others."