After reading an article earlier, here on B/R, about a running back from San Francisco, it got me thinking about a comment that was made, feature backs in the national football league have a short shelf life.
Maybe that is why many teams are switching to a two running back set. Jacksonville made it popular by pairing Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones Drew. The Giants had Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward, until Ward left this offseason. The Saints utilized Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush.
So many teams seem to be going to this type of set in their offensive backfield, because it helps preserve the life of their running backs.
Premier running backs, along with linebackers, play at a pro-bowl level year in and year out. There high level of play usually levels off as they approach 30 years old.
Just look at LaDainian Tomlinson, Larry Johnson, Frank Gore, and Edgerrin James. All of these players are either 30 or approaching 30 years old. They all, from one point or another, started they're careers out going to Pro Bowls and being considered elite running backs. Now all of them are considered over the hill.
I have trouble putting together a slide show, and plus, I like to write, so I wanted to list some of the most consistent feature backs in the NFL history, past and present. These players are like Cadillacs, they get better over time and never run out of style.
5. Warrick Dunn
He came in the league a Pro Bowler and has produced every year since. In Tampa Bay, he had the help of fullback Mike Allstot, but he has never had a back similar that can help him on downs. Year in and year out, he has produced and doesn't get enough credit.
4. Corey Dillon
Dillon was awesome for Cincinnati and New England. He was the most consistent back, in my opinion, for some time. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in seven out of his 10 seasons in the NFL. His best seasons came after he hit 30. He helped New England win two Super Bowls and ran for a career high 1635 yards at age 32.
3. Ottis Anderson
This man is on here, not because he had a star-studded career, but because he was the missing piece on a Super Bowl team at almost 40. He ran for over 1,000 yards on the 1989 Super Bowl champion New York Giants, when they didn't have any running back. He was also the first running back ever to rush for 1,000 yards from "the U."
2. Curtis Martin
This is my personal favorite consistent running back, because he rushed for a 1,000 yards every year he was in the league, until his last one. Then he retired without winning a Super Bowl. He was of the most humbled and well liked players in the NFL. In my opinion, the only person that surpasses him in humbleness is Walter Payton. You didn't have to worry about him if he was your teammate, because you knew he was gonna play.
1. Marshall Faulk
The only reason I ranked him above Martin is because he won a Super Bowl. I have to be fair as well. This man did his best work after he was let go by the Indianapolis Colts when they drafted Edgerrin James. One of the originals from the greatest show on turf, Faulk made those St. Louis Ram teams lethal, and he is among the all-time leaders in all-purpose yards as well as rushing. The Super Bowl is what separates him and Martin.
There you have it. My list of the top old feature backs of all time. This is my list, please fill me in and let me know what your list would consist of.