Ranking 10 greatest running back seasons in NFL history: Barry Sanders reigns supreme

Once upon a time, prior to quarterbacks ruled the arena, running back was hailed as the football’s premier position. The league’s greatest and brightest stars played the position, gamers who consisted of the Giants’ Frank Gifford, Chicago’s Gale Sayers, Cleveland’s Jim Brown and Green Bay’s Paul Hornung. Those gamers assisted set the phase for future generations of running backs, gamers who took the position to even higher heights. 

There have actually been ratings of respected hurrying projects for many years, from John Riggins’ MVP project in 1983 to Derrick Henry’s 2,000-yard season in 2020. Neither of these seasons, nevertheless, handled to split our list of the leading 10 hurrying seasons in league history. Neither did Jamal Lewis’ monstrous 2003 season that saw him acquire 2,066 hurrying backyards, then the second-highest overall in league history. The truth that these specific efforts were left on the cutting space flooring is a testimony to the quantity of remarkable seasons kipped down by running backs for many years. Only the very best seasons made it, and every one exists in information listed below. 

Before we break down the best hurrying seasons in history, here’s the main requirements utilized when making the list. 

  • One area allowed per RB
  • Individual data
  • Individual awards 
  • Team success 
  • Individual postseason success 
  • Enduring tradition 

1. Barry Sanders: 1997 Lions

The ’97 season was a testimony to the achievement of Sanders, who did more with less than any running back prior to or after him. Sanders ran for 53 backyards throughout the season’s very first 2 video games, then continued to run for precisely 2,000 backyards throughout the last 14 video games. He eclipsed over 100 backyards in each of those video games while leading the Lions to the playoffs. The ever-elusive Sanders ended up the season with 2,053 backyards (then the second-highest overall in NFL history) while balancing a massive 6.1 backyards per bring. 

2. Eric Dickerson: 1984 Rams

Dickerson’s 2,105 hurrying backyards in ’84 are still the league’s standard. Using his ravaging mix of size and speed, Dickerson ran “47 Gap” with controling result that season while running behind a gifted Rams line that consisted of Hall of Fame take on Jackie Slater. The previous SMU standout tallied a lots 100-yard video games that season that included his 215-yard effort versus Houston in Week 15, the video game where he set the all-time hurrying record. 

3. Terrell Davis: 1998 Broncos

Fresh off an MVP efficiency in the Super Bowl, Davis won league MVP honors in ’98 after hurrying for 2,008 backyards and 21 goals in the routine season. But Davis was simply starting. An effective (yet deceivingly quick) lowering runner, Davis hurried for an extra 468 backyards and 3 goals in 3 championship game as the Broncos won back-to-back titles. Davis’ integrated 2,476 hurrying backyards that season are the most ever for a running back. 

4. O.J Simpson: 1973 Bills

By ending up being the very first gamer to hurry for 2,000 backyards, Simpson achieved an accomplishment that resembled Babe Ruth’s 60 crowning achievement season in 1927. The truth that Simpson reached 2,000 backyards in 14 video games makes the task that far more noteworthy. But Simpson did not achieve this alone. He was assisted by a gifted offending line nicknamed “The Electric Company.” Simpson balanced an exceptional 143.1 backyards per video game that year while balancing 6 backyards per bring. 

5. Jim Brown: 1963 Browns

The finest hurrying season of the league’s very first 50 years was authored by probably the best runner in league history. In his seventh season, Brown’s 1,863 hurrying backyards, 12 goal runs and 6.4 backyards per bring were league highs. He likewise captured 3 goals while acquiring 2,131 overall backyards in a 14-game routine season. Brown won his fifth of 7 hurrying titles that season prior to leading the Browns to the franchise’s newest NFL champion in 1964. 

6. LaDainian Tomlinson: 2006 Chargers

The league’s MVP that season, Tomlinson led the league with 1,815 hurrying backyards and 28 hurrying goals. Tomlinson’s 31 overall ratings that season broke Shaun Alexander’s year-old record by 3 goals. Along with his hurrying and scoring expertise, Tomlinson captured 56 passes for 508 backyards. His build-up of backyards and goals that season assisted the Chargers go 14-2 throughout the routine season while concurrently making ratings of dream football gamers delighted. 

7. Walter Payton: 1977 Bears

Similar to Sanders, Payton was typically a one-man band. Despite not having much of a supporting cast, Payton led the NFL with 1,852 backyards, 14 hurrying goals and a 5.5 yards-per-carry average in a 14-game ’77 season. His magnum opus can be found in Week 10, when, regardless of having fun with a 101-degree fever, Payton ran for a then-NFL record 275 backyards in a 10-7 win over the Vikings’ powerful defense. “Sweetness” willed Chicago into the postseason for the very first time considering that 1963. 

Peterson turned up 9 backyards except breaking Dickerson’s record with his 2,097-yard effort in 2012. He went into the Vikings’ regular-season ending with 1,898 backyards. Needing a win over the Packers to make the playoffs, “AD” rumbled for 199 backyards and a rating that day while leading Minnesota to a last-second win over its competitor. Peterson withstood a sluggish start to the season (he had simply one 100-yard video game throughout his very first 6 video games) prior to balancing 141 backyards per video game throughout the season’s last 10 video games. 

9. Earl Campbell: 1979 Oilers

The “Tyler Rose” took the league by storm soon after getting here in Houston. He led the NFL in entering each of his very first 3 seasons and was called league MVP in 1979. In 1980, Campbell barreled over protectors to the tune of 1,934 backyards and 13 goals with a 5.2 yards-per-carry average. He had 4 200-yard getaways while leading the Oilers to a wild card playoff berth. 

Johnson parlayed his blazing speed into a work of art season in 2009. He hurried for 2,006 backyards while leading the NFL with 358 brings and 408 overall touches, a ridiculous work for any gamer, not to mention somebody who signed in at 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds. His 91-yard goal run versus the Texans was his signature minute that season, however an ignored part of Johnson’s ’09 season was the truth that he likewise captured 50 passes for 503 backyards. 

Honorable Mention: Emmitt Smith, Cowboys (1995) 

The league’s MVP in 1993, Smith had an even much better project in 1995. He ran for a league-high 1,773 backyards while hurrying for a then-NFL record 25 goals. Smith, who likewise captured 62 passes throughout the routine season, ran for almost 300 backyards and 6 goals in the playoffs as the Cowboys won their 3rd Super Bowl of the ’90s. 



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