Who were the best running backs of all time? What criteria would you use if asked to select the 10 best? I gave this some thought while doing research on a great running back who has been all but forgotten, Jon Arnett (1957-1966).
While attempting to figure where he ranked among the all-time greats, I considered a number of measures—rushing yards, touchdowns all-purpose yards, single-season records and single-game records. I came to the conclusion that all-purpose yards is probably the single-best measure for this ranking.
Why all-purpose yards? Some running backs are just rushers. Others also catch passes. A few are punt and kick returners. All-purpose yards best captures all of their production. Touchdowns and total points scored are also good measures, but are limited by the reality that some running backs were short-yardage specialists who scored a lot, but didn't necessarily accumulate many yards.
So for what it's worth, here's my top-10 list.