Top 10 NFL Running Backs of All Time Series: No. 4, LaDainian Tomlinson
This is the seventh part in a ten-part series which breaks down in detail the Top 10 running backs in NFL history.
Tomlinson was drafted 5th overall out of TCU. He had an unusually long prime window that did not really have a peak period. He just went from being really good to mediocre overnight.
Tomlinson is a lock to make the Hall of Fame once he is eligible. He has made five Pro Bowls and been named to three All-Pro first teams.
Tomlinson had three seasons where he rushed for 1,500 plus yards. His best season where he rushed for 1,815 yards currently ranks as the 18th highest rushing yard total in a single season. He also had seasons where he rushed for 1,683 and 1,645 yards which rank 36th and 42nd all time.
During Tomlinson's career year he averaged 113.4 rushing yards a game which ranks as the 22nd highest single season total ever. For his career he has averaged 80.5 rushing yards a game which ranks 17th all time.
Tomlinson averaged 5.3 yards per attempt during his best year. For his career he has averaged a solid 4.3 yards per attempt.
His career year of 2006 saw him rush for 28 touchdowns, which is the all-time NFL single season record. For his career, he ranks 2nd all time for rushing TDs.
Tomlinson's current rushing yard total of 13,684 places him 5th on the all time list. His best single game rushing total of 243 yards ranks 15th all time. He also has a 220-rushing yard game which ranks 25th all time. He has a career long run of 85 yards.
Tomlinson was so special due to his consistent excellence. During the first eight years of his career, he never rushed for less than 1,100 yards and 10 rushing TDs in any season. No one else in the history of the NFL had that many seasons for their entire career, let alone for eight straight years to begin their career.
For me, Tomlinson's freakish consistent excellence is what sets him apart. He does not rank high on the all-time lists because he simply remained healthy and productive for a long time. He ranks high because he was so great for longer than virtually anyone else in the history of the NFL.
I rank him as the 4th best RB in NFL history.
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