Did you ever realize that the quarterback is thought about to be the most vital position in all of sports, but it"s a successful running game that is thought about to be arguably simply as important or even much more important than a good passing attack? It"s no simultaneous that groups with leading running games and also average quarterbacks can win championships.

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Look in ~ the Miami dolphin of the 1970s. To be Bob Griese a an excellent quarterback? certain not. Yet when your team rushes because that close to 3000 yards in the constant season, it"s straightforward to blend in and become what is now known as a video game manager. Griese threw 7 passes in one at sight Bowl--and the Dolphins winner 24-7!

Throughout history, the place of running ago has adjusted significantly. Seasonal rushing totals have increased, partly as result of a stronger emphasis on powerful offensive lines. There to be a time when, even factoring in the rises in gamings played during the season, a 1000-yard rusher was taken into consideration impressive.

Nowadays, the majority of teams produce a 1000-yard rusher, and also within the next 10 come 15 years, i predict that a fifty percent dozen or much more teams yield 2 1000-yard rushers.

The solitary season touchdown record has been broken five times in mine lifetime, and also will more than likely be damaged again in the close to future. However, rushing touchdowns space slightly overrated--maybe even much more than contempt overrated.


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Three the the 5 seasons--Emmitt smith in 1995, priest Holmes in 2003, and Shaun Alexander in 2005--failed to do my list. Just Marshall Faulk"s 2000 campaign and LT"s recordbreaking season of 2006 uncovered their way onto mine list.

Take Barry Sanders as an example. The Lions" legendary running earlier averaged 5.0 yards per lug throughout his room of call career, yet scored "only" 99 touchdowns in 10 seasons. In 1998, Sanders carried 343 times for 1494 yards, however scored just 4 touchdowns.

Why? due to the fact that the Lions" had a 234-pound fullback called Tommy Vardell that carries the ball simply 18 times but scored 6 touchdowns! have to Barry Sanders be penalized for his absence of touchdowns? No, since he consistently put his team in position to score.

So what need to a running earlier be rated on?

Well, my two favorite statistics for running backs are yards every carry and fumbles.

Yards per bring is the actual deal. There"s no messing around. It"s plain and simple. The best running backs typical in the national Football league over five yards every carry. Great running backs average around four and a half yards per carry, and average to run backs average roughly four yards every carry.

The best thing about yards per carry is that averages have actually been relatively unchanged end time. Uneven passer ratings, wherein the organization average practically doubled between the 1940"s and also now, yards every attempt has constantly been relatively consistent--between 3.9 and also 4.2 yards per attempt.

Fumbles space the worst point a running earlier can do. It"s the easiest method for a rookie come get reduced from a team. And also it"s the quickest way for the nationwide Football League"s single-season rushing holder come fail come qualify for this list.

In 1984, Eric Dickerson rushed 379 times because that a still-standing document of 2105 yards. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry and scored 14 touchdowns. He additionally fumbled the soccer 14 times. That"s flat-out unacceptable. A team needs to be able to trust that is running back to organize onto the football at all costs.

Dickerson fumbled the football one the end of every 27 tote in 1984. Imagine needing her running earlier to lug the ball 7 times on a fourth-quarter drive to seal a victory. Over there would more than a 25 percent chance that Dickerson would certainly fumble the football throughout the drive. No coach wants to gamble v odds choose that.

The following list includes the finest of the best, the biggest of the greatest, the most elite the the elite--the 10 best seasons by a running back in NFL history, v one season earning honorable mention. Five of these playershave currently been inducted right into the pro Football hall of Fame, v two players having actually multiple periods on this list. Two other players space future first-ballot room of Famers.

*Honorable Mention*

11) Beattie Feathers, Chicago Bears, 1934:

119 carries, 1004 yards, 8 TD, 8.4 avg; 6 rec, 174 yards, 1 TD; 0 fum? 10 GAMES

1934? room you kidding me?

Yup. 1934.

Feathers played because that arguably the biggest team in NFL history--a team far better than the 1972 Miami Dolphins. Better than the 1985 Chicago Bears. Even better than the 2007 brand-new England Patriots.

And just like the 2007 new England Patriots, the bears ran the table in the continuous season--13 games, 13 wins--before losing to (who else?) the new York Giants in the NFL championship. Diehard soccer fans understand of the 1934 NFL championship as the "Sneaker Game," in i m sorry the Giants, that were losing 10-3 at halftime, switched native cleats to sneakers to account for the mud on the field. That worked, as the Giants score an significant 27 points in the 4th quarter come win, 30-13.

Feathers helped the bears score one NFL-record 286 points, i beg your pardon was more than the five worst NFL groups combined. The bear scored end 20 clues in every of their first nine games, a feat that, when readjusted to today"s standards, is indistinguishable to a team scoring 45 points per game.

Feathers rushed because that 1004 yards ~ above 119 carries. He to be the NFL"s an initial 1000-yard rusher, and the just player until Steve valve Buren rushed for 1008 yards in 1947. Feathers" 1004 rushing yards topped three various other NFL teams that season.

He average an unheard-of 8.4 yards every attempt. No running back in the 75 years due to the fact that has come within two yards per bring of draw close Feathers" record.

10) Jim Taylor, green Bay Packers, 1962:

272 carries, 1474 yards, 19 TD, 5.4 avg; 22 rec, 106 yards, 0 TD; 5 fum 14 GAMES

In 1962, Jim Taylor did something the no various other running ago has ever done. The stole a rushing title from the good Jim Brown.

Taylor won the rushing Triple Crown in 1962. That led the league in dead (272), yards (1474), and also touchdowns (19). The finished 2nd in yards per carry (5.4).

Taylor aided perfect the legendary Packer Sweep, which assisted the Packers win five NFL championships, consisting of two supervisor Bowls, throughout the 1960"s.

Taylor"s 1962 MVP season is maybe the greatest in the background of a franchise filled with Hall of reputation football players.

9) Gale Sayers, Chicago Bears, 1965:

166 carries, 867 yards, 14 TD, 5.2 avg; 29 rec, 507 yards, 6 TD; 9 fum

16 punting returns, 238 yards, 1 TD, 14.9 avg; 21 absent returns, 660 yards, 1 TD, 31.4 avg


Sayers" 1965 season is most likely the most renowned rookie season in NFL history. Ironically, Sayers wasn"t even the ideal rookie ~ above the 1965 Bears. The honor belong to center linebacker penis Butkus.

Sayers walk it all in 1965--literally. He brought the football, caught the football, and also returned the football. He scored touchdowns four various ways--running, receiving, return punts, and returning kicks.

Sayers touch the ball 232 time in 1965, because that an average of 16 touches every game. He averaged one touchdown every 10 touches, significantly an ext than one touchdown every game, and his 9.8 yards per touch ranked first in the NFL by two full yards.

He finished 2nd in the NFL in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, yards per punt return, and yards per kick return. The finished 3rd in yards per carry and also rushing yards every game. His 22 touchdowns damaged the single-season document of 20 set by Lenny Moore in 1964.

In a December game against the mountain Francisco 49ers, Sayers score an electrifying 6 touchdowns to tie a single-game NFL record. His final touchdown come on an 85-yard punt return and also was voted by NFL movies as the seventh greatest touchdown in NFL history.

No player in NFL history has done an ext (22 touchdowns) with less (232 touches) than Sayers in 1965.

8) Terrell Davis, Denver Broncos, 1998:

392 carries, 2008 yards, 21 TD, 5.1 avg; 25 rec, 217 yards, 2 TD; 2 fum

Davis is the only running back on this list to play for a Super key champion.

In 1998, Davis came to be just the 4th running earlier in NFL history to rush because that over 2000 yards in a season. He ended up being the first running ago to additionally rush for 20 touchdowns in the same season.

Davis"s 2008 rushing yards rank 4th on the single-season charts. His 21 rushing touchdowns are more than all however five players in the background of the NFL. His 392 carries are the seventh highest single-season complete in NFL history. His 23 total touchdowns rank eighth ~ above the single-season lists, and also his 125.5 rushing yards per game are tenth all time.

In all, Davis overshadowed the optimal ten single-season list in five various categories the season.

TD earned organization MVP honors. He won his third consecutive rushing title. That was named the NFL offensive Player that the Year because that the second consecutive season. And he was the hero in a 2nd straight Super bowl win, rushing for 102 yards (152 full yards) in a 34-19 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

7) Barry Sanders, Detroit Lions, 1997:

335 carries, 2053 yards, 11 TD, 6.1 avg; 33 rec, 305 yards, 3 TD; 3 fum

In 1997, Barry Sanders averaged much more yards per carry than any running earlier since Jim Brown in 1963. Sanders" 6.1 yards per lug was an ext than one and a half times far better than the remainder of the league.

His 2053 yards are the third highest single-season complete in NFL history. He finished the season through rushing for much more than 100 yards in 14 continuous games, an NFL record.

Sanders scored "only" 11 touchdowns ~ above the ground, mainly since the Lions supplied fullback Tommy Vardell in goal-line situations. His 14 complete touchdowns to be still great for third in the NFL.

Sanders also set a new NFL document with 2358 complete yards indigenous scrimmage, which has actually been surpassed three times.

His season stands together the greatest by an NFC running earlier from the Super bowl era to the turn of the millennium.

6) OJ Simpson, Buffalo Bills, 1973:

332 carries, 2003 yards, 12 TD, 6.0 avg; 6 rec, 70 yards, 0 TD; 7 fum 14 GAMES

"No matter what wake up to me, i was the very first man to rush for 2000 yards in a season. They can never take that away from me." --OJ Simpson

While his 2000-yard rushing season is no longer the an initial thing civilization think of once they listen the name, Simpson still deserves to be remembered because that his accomplishments on the soccer field.

He won the rushing Triple Crown in 1973, leading the NFL in dead (332), yards (2003--a new record), and also touchdowns (12). His 143.1 rushing yards per game is the highest total in NFL history, through a full ten yards. OJ also ranked second in yards per carry (6.0), a total that has actually been exceeded by simply one running earlier in the last 35 seasons.

Simpson topped 200 yards rushing 3 times in 1973. After 12 games, OJ had actually rushed for 1584 yards. That rushed for 219 yards in the 13th game of the season, and also capped turn off a brilliant campaign with exactly 200 yards, break the 2000-yard barrier.

Simpson deserve a million different awards in 1973, including NFL offensive Player the the Year honors, the NFL MVP, the Bert Bell Player of the Year award, and the linked Press male Athlete that the Year award. OJ would certainly be the last NFL player to record AP masculine Athlete that the Year honors till Joe Montana did it in consecutive seasons ("89-"90).

5) OJ Simpson, Buffalo Bills, 1975:

329 carries, 1817 yards, 16 TD, 5.5 avg; 28 rec, 427 yards, 7 TD; 7 fum 14 GAMES

1973 will constantly be OJ"s most famous season. Yet 1975 was simply a little bit better.

Simpson collection the NFL single-season document by scoring 23 touchdowns. He broke Sayers" 10-year NFL record.

He led the NFL v 1817 rushing yards, climate the third highest solitary season complete in NFL history. His 129.8 yards per video game have been surpassed by just two to run backs since, and stand together the 5th highest full in NFL history.

Simpson led the NFL in carries (329) and touches (357). That led in yards per lug (5.5) and yards from scrimmage (2244). He even had the longest operation in the NFL (88 yards). Simpson led the NFL in every single statistic the a running ago could command the organization in.

He achieved all the this despite playing in just 14 games. Had actually Simpson had the high-end of a 16-game season, he would certainly have quickly rushed for over 2000 yards and also scored over 25 touchdowns. In fact, Eric Dickerson"s single-season document of 2105 yards could belong come OJ Simpson.

4) LaDainian Tomlinson, mountain Diego Chargers, 2006:

348 carries, 1815 yards, 28 TD, 5.2 avg; 56 rec, 508 yards, 3 TD; 2 fum; 2-3, 19 yards, 2 TD

31 touchdowns.

That"s every that demands to it is in said.

LaDainian Tomlinson damaged Shaun Alexander"s one-year old NFL-record of 28 touchdowns by much more than 10 percent. That"s the tantamount of a quarterback throwing for 55 touchdowns in a season. That"s the identical of a broad receiver catching 160 overcome in a season. That"s the tantamount of a defensive end accumulating 25 sacks in a season.

His 186 point out scored collection a brand-new NFL record, breaking Paul Hornung"s 46-year-old record of 176 points. This doesn"t even account because that Tomlinson"s two passing touchdowns that season, an interpretation he was directly affiliated in 33 touchdowns during the season.

LT additionally led the NFL through 1815 rushing yards. His 5.2 yards per bring finished 2nd among players v at least 200 carries. He also finished second in total yards native scrimmage (2323).

Tomlinson deserve every compensation in visibility after the 2006 season, including the NFL Most beneficial Player award, offensive Player that the Year honors, the Bert Bell Player of the Year award, and also the Walter Payton man of the Year award.

Tomlinson"s magical season aided the Chargers win 14 games and also capture home-field advantage in the playoffs.

3) Jim Brown, Cleveland Browns, 1963:

291 carries, 1863 yards, 12 TD, 6.4 avg; 24 rec, 268 yards, 3 TD; 7 fum 14 GAMES

Brown turn in the highest yards per bring in NFL history by a running ago with 200 or an ext carries. His 6.4 yards per carry has no been seriously intimidated since. Just Barry Sanders and OJ Simpson have averaged six yards per carry.

Brown also collection NFL records in rushing yards (1863) and rushing yards per video game (133.1). He also set a new NFL document in full yards indigenous scrimmage (2131).

Brown additionally led the NFL in touches (315) and total touchdowns (15). That earned Bert Bell Player the the Year honors, and also was called the UPI NFL Most beneficial Player.

Had Brown play in a 16-game season, the would probably still hold the single-season document for rushing yards (projected total: 2119).

What around his high full of fumbles?

Brown"s seven fumbles might seem favor a lot of in today"s standards. But take in mind that the typical team fumbled 29 times every season in 1963. That"s over 2 fumbles every game! Brown"s seven fumbles in 1963 amounts to just 4 fumbles in today"s game.

2) Marshall Faulk, St. Louis Rams, 2000:

253 carries, 1359 yards, 18 TD, 5.4 avg; 81 rec, 830 yards, 8 TD; 0 fum

Take a look in ~ Faulk"s numbers in 2000. You understand the very first thing i see?

Not 26, as in total touchdowns scored.

How bout 0? as in, zero fumbles over the entire season, despite touching the football 334 times, an typical of 24 per video game (Faulk missed 2 games as result of injury).

His 26 touchdowns broke Emmitt Smith"s five-year NFL record and would stand as the document for 3 seasons. Had actually Faulk played in every 16 games, he would have actually likely scored 30 touchdowns and accumulated 2501 full yards native scrimmage, which would certainly have damaged his very own single-season NFL document (2429 yards in 1999).

Despite finishing "only" eighth in the NFL in rushing yards, Faulk led the league in rushing touchdowns (18) and also yards per carry (5.4). He score eight an ext touchdowns than any type of other player in the league and also scored 160 points, which was one fewer allude than the entire Cincinnati Bengals team scored that season.

Faulk aided the Rams set a franchise-record with 540 points, the fourth highest total in NFL history. The Rams gathered 7335 yards of total offense (458 per game), shattering the ahead NFL record.

Faulk earned nationwide Football organization Most an useful Player honors, the 2nd of three straight periods that the MVP award would certainly go come a member of the St. Louis Rams" Greatest present on Turf (Faulk finished second to teammate kurt Warner in the 1999 and also 2001 MVP voting).

Faulk"s season come in the midst of arguably the best three-year stretch of any kind of running ago in NFL history--better 보다 Emmitt blacksmith ("93-"95), better than Earl Campbell ("78-"80), far better than Barry Sanders ("95-"97), even better than Jim Brown (pick your 3 seasons).

1) Jim Brown, Cleveland Browns, 1958:

257 carries, 1527 yards, 17 TD, 5.9 avg; 16 rec, 138 yards, 1 TD; 5 fum 12 GAMES

The greatest season through a running back came in only 12 games?


In simply his second season in the NFL, the 22-year-old Brown developed himself together the biggest running back in the NFL.

Brown winner the rushing Triple Crown in 1958, leading in carries (257), yards (1527), and also touchdowns (17). He also topped the NFL in touch (273), yards indigenous scrimmage (1665), total touchdowns (18), and rushing yards per game (127.3).

Five of these marks set single-season NFL records: rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, complete touchdowns, yards native scrimmage, and also rushing yards every game. Brown"s 257 carries to be the second most in the 35-year history of the NFL.

His season to be so dominant that just one running earlier (Alan Ameche) rushed for half as numerous yards as Brown. Only one running ago (Tommy Wilson) scored half as numerous touchdowns as Brown. Just one running ago (Alan Ameche) averaged half as countless yards per game as Brown.

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Brown was the an initial true workhorse in the NFL. No various other running back carried the ball much more than 15 time per game in 1958. Brown average 21 carries per game.