Why would a guy who rushed for only 4,700 yards in eight seasons rank so high on this list?
Because to hear eyewitnesses tell it, it wouldn't be that much of a stretch to put him at No. 1. He was that good.
When Paul Brown assembled the talent that would become pro football's dominant team in the 1940s and 1950s, the cornerstone of his backfield was Marion Motley.
Motley led the All-America Football Conference in rushing all four years of the league's existence. The Browns, not coincidentally, won all four AAFC titles.
The Browns joined the NFL in 1950 and promptly won the championship there, too. Motley led that league in rushing, too.
Mind you, this was occurring while Motley was playing in an offense that was revolutionizing the game. Paul Brown utilized the passing game like no one had before him. Even so, Motley's greatness as a runner was crucial to Cleveland's unmatched run of 10 straight title game appearances, seven of which ended in championships.
At 6'1" and 232 pounds, he was also a bruising pass blocker and played linebacker on defense, a throwback to the days when star athletes were used on both sides of the ball.
Motley rushed for 4,712 yards in eight seasons with Cleveland, but his 5.7 yards-per-carry average is an indication of how difficult he was to bring down.
He was named to the NFL's 75-year anniversary team, and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1968.
Even higher praise came when former Sports Illustrated scribe Paul Zimmerman called Motley, quite simply, the best player in the history of football.