The 2,000-yard rushing mark has been achieved by only five players. They are:
Jamal Lewis: 2,066 yards in 2003
Terrell Davis: 2,008 yards in 1998
Barry Sanders: 2,053 yards in 1997
Eric Dickerson: 2,105 yards in 1984
O. J. Simpson: 2,003 yards in 1973
All of these guys proved that the 2,000-yard barrier could be broken in one season but no one has amassed 2,106 yards.
LaDanian Tomlinson is arguably the league's best running back. He rushed for 1,815 yards in 2006, his best season yet. He led the league in 2007, rushing for 1,474 yards.
Larry Johnson amassed 1,789 yards on an amazing 416 attempts in 2006.
Adrian Peterson, the seventh-overall pick took the league by storm. He was the 2007 Rookie of the Year and the Pro Bowl MVP. He ran for 1,341 yards, which included rushing for more than 200 yards on two occasions.
He also broke the NFL single-game rushing mark by running all over the Chargers for 296 yards, despite playing in only 14 games.
In 2007, the four best per-game rushing averages were held by Adrian Peterson, who averaged 95.8 yards per game, LaDanian Tomlinson averaged 92.1 yards per game, Brandon Jacobs averaged 91.7 yards per game, and Brian Westbrook, who averaged 88.9 yards per game.
All four are worthy candidates, amongst others, to have great seasons and break the record. But to topple the mark, a running back would have to average 132 yards rushing per game.
In today’s game, I don’t think it will happen.
When Eric Dickerson set the record back in 1984, the NFL was more of a rushing league. The teams that put a lot of points on the board did so via the passing game.
The Los Angeles Rams weren’t one of the top-10 scoring teams in the league that year. The Rams, as a team, scored a total of 346 points and passed for 2,142 yards. The Rams had a very competitive team, but they were one dimensional.
In today’s NFL, your points still come from passing game, due to the fact you need to acquire big chunks of yardage, also known as big plays, to be in position to score points.
We are in the age of the two-running-back system, and for one player to average 132 yards per game for 16 weeks is almost impossible.