Top Ten Greatest Running Backs Ever!!!

anthony pennaContributor IApril 10, 2017

Top 10 Greatest Running Backs of All-Time
Top Ten Running Backs Ever!

This is easily one of the most debated topics in all of sports. Ask any of your friends if they have the same list as you, I guarantee none of them do. Throughout the history of the NFL many running backs have crossed the end zone, moved the chains, and changed the face of a franchise. However only the greats can make my list. This topic was very hard to discuss, trying to narrow the greatest down to only ten. Well, here it is. The top ten running backs ever to play the game. Hope most of you agree :-).

#10......LaDanian Tomlinson- The running back for the San Diego Chargers is simply amazing. LT is a complete back and all defensive coordinators have their hands full when game planning against this man. Not only is he one of the most feared running backs in the game, but he is also one of the most feared receiving backs in the game. Lt had at least 1,200 rushing yards and 50 receptions in his first seven years in the league. Some say LT will be none as the most COMPLETE back when it is all said and done. Enough said.

#9......Marshall Faulk- Many do not know that Faulk began his career in '94 with the Colts. Many remember him being the center piece of "The Greatest Show on Turf" for the Rams starting in '99. Faulk was a menace for a defense. Faulk was so good as a RB that he started lining up as a receiver. He was the first running back to lead his team in receptions in five different seasons. Faulk was not only an All-Pro running back but he could have been an All-Pro receiver. Some say Faulk was good because of th great team he played with. Well this is one reason he only ranks #9, but Faulk bloomed as a all around back and deserves all the credit in the world.

#8......O.J Simpson- Good old O.J. I can hear all of you now saying, "How could you?" "Are you crazy!!!" I hear you all, trust me. The man might have done some things OFF the field, but you can't knock his style on the field. As I always say you gotta give credit when credit is due. O.J was the Bills greatest running back of all time. Not Thurman Thomas, O.J Simpson. He ranks #8 on my list because he was the first back in the NFL to eclipse 2,000 yards. He gained 2,003 yards in just 14 games in '73. Many people compared O.J to Jim Brown after breaking Brown's single season rushing record. They had the same mentality and running style. So in O.J's defense forgot about all the murder charges and problems with the law. The man was a straight beast on the field. "The Juice" as they called him was a 6 time pro bowler and left a good mark nobody can take from him on the field.

#7......Gale Sayers- Sayers who was forced to retire because of a knee injury in '71 after playing 7 seasons with the Bears was one of the most electrifying of all time. At the age of 33 Sayers was the youngest player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Many may think he doesn't deserve to be on the list or shouldn't even be #7. but the pure talent this man possessed was crazy and absurd. He dominated not only as a rusher but as a receiver and a special teams wizard.

#6......Eric Dickerson- Dickerson played for the Colts, Raiders, and Falcons. But many of us remember him when he played for the Rams. Dickerson was the combination of a bruiser back and a speed back. By looking at him you won't think he is very fast, but when he gets going boy is it hard to catch him. The 1986 offensive player of the year was the fastest back to ever reach 10,000 yards. Dickerson's rookie campaign he put up 2,105 yards.

#5......Earl Campbell- Campbell who played for the then Oilers was a "bad man". Campbell was a offensive coordinators dream. Some say he was the perfect back. He had the perfect size, speed, and strength. Campbell bullied his opponents into submission and by the time the 4th quarter came around nobody would want to get in the mans way. Campbell was the ultimate power back, this limited his career because of his running style, but in his prime he was an absolute juggernaut.

#4......Emmit Smith- Smith who by stats is the greatest running back to have ever played the game. I am a die hard Dallas Cowboy fan who lives in New Jersey, where I am surrounded by nothing but Giant and Eagle fans. As probably the biggest Cowboy fan in the country I rank Smith at #4. Smith had a punishing offensive line who gave him gaping holes all day and he also had two elite teammates in Aikman and Irvin. Smith leads all running backs in yards, touchdowns, and super bowls. Smith was a dominant force and probably the most consistent back of all time.

#3......Jim Brown- Brown who played for the good old Cleveland Browns ranks #3 on my list. Many say he should be #1. Brown upon retiring before the '66 season was the leader in yards (12,312), All purpose yards (15,549), and touchdowns (126). Brown was an elite force and nobody wanted to mess with this man on the field. He had an incredible combination of pure strength and power. Brown who has the record for yards per game (104.3) and total yards from scrimmage per game (125.5) still stands today. He was the first player to hit 100 touchdowns. Brown retired early to pursue an acting career.

#2......Walter Payton- "Sweetness" who some will say should be #1 on the list ranks #2 on mine. The 9 time pro bowler who ranked #1 in rushing yards, carries, and touchdowns when he retired was an absolute monster on the gridiron. The way he ran people over was just amazing. He ran with such anger and it showed. He was a violent runner and it payed off for him. He was the first to use a brutal stiff arm and use it effectively, he also was the first to utilize the stutter step in there running game. Payton always played on an average Bears team and yet still found tremendous success. Many say Payton was the most complete back of all time. But you can argue that for any back on this list. Especially the top 3. Payton was the #1 pick in '75 and quickly emerged as a superstar. Career stats: 16,726 yards, 110 rushing touchdowns, 492 receptions for 4,538 yards, 21,803 combined net yards, 125 touchdowns, All-pro seven times, played in 9 pro bowls, and he also had 77 games of 100 yards rushing. Enough said for my boy Payton. Much love.

And now my #1 running back of all time is......

#1......BARRY SANDERS- Barry who brought a whole different element to the game was an elusive force. The man was so elusive he got hit head on one time in his career and they made a commercial about it. "Impossible is nothing". Barry was an elusive back who shook anything and everything. Nobody ever seen a back like Barry. He was so quick and smooth in and out of his cuts. You want to talk about doing everything on your own, Barry did just that. His offensive line and Lions team were so bad every year. Watch Highlights of Barry Sanders please do me a favor. Better yet I will attach one for you. Sanders is my all time favorite back and he was a machine. Barry retired early, some say due to the respect of Payton and some say he didn't have love for the game anymore. In my opinion if you gave Barry as much time as Emmit Smith in the league or any other back he would have shattered every running back record known to man. Sanders was hands down the most electrifying back ever and the GREATEST running back to ever put on a uniform. Sanders was Detroit's first round pick 1989, his electrifying running style made him the first player to rush for 1,000 yards in his first 10 seasons. He led NFL in rushing four times, NFL MVP in '97, gained 2,053 yards including record 14 straight 100 yard games, 15,269 rushing yards, 99 touchdowns, first or second team All-NFL every year, and selected to 10 pro bowls. Barry was in a class all by himself. He basically invented the elusive running style and on my list he ranks #1. Overall, Barry and Payton should be #1, #2 on anybody's list. If not then you have no idea what you are talking about. I live and breathe football 24/7 and my list may not be exact to yours, but Payton and Sanders should be #1,#2 on everyone's list. You can't even say someone is the "best back ever" without rushing for more than 2,000 yards in a season. Both Sanders and Payton did that. Hope you enjoyed the list. Now let the arguing begin!!!!!!!