These Are Unarguably The 10 Greatest Running Backs Of All Time

These Are Unarguably The 10 Greatest Running Backs Of All Time

Who's the GOAT?

There has been a lot of good running back performances recently. Saquon Barkley's season at Penn State, Georgia's running backs against Oklahoma in the CFB Playoff, and Todd Gurley's potential MVP season have all been outstanding. So outstanding in fact that I think it's time to revisit a series of articles I promised some time back.

It is time to return to the G.O.A.T. series.

From the intro it is pretty obvious what the subject will be this time around, the running backs; a position that has become undervalued in football, but it has become pretty clear between the college bowl season and the NFL season that it is still important. No jokes this time around, just straight numbers and analysis, so let's get started.

10. Marshall Faulk

Stats/Records: 2,836 Rushing Attempts (16th all-time), 12,279 Rushing Yards (11th), 100 Rushing TDs (T-7th), 4.3 Yards per Attempt (T-73rd), 69.8 Yards per Game (40th), 19,190 All-Purpose Yards (6th), and 136 Total TDs (7th)

Awards: 7× Pro Bowler (1994, 1995, 1998–2002), 3× First-team All-Pro (1999–2001), 3× Second-team All-Pro (1994, 1995, 1998), AP NFL Most Valuable Player (2000), Bert Bell Award (2001), 3× NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1999–2001), NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (1994), NFL Hall of Fame, Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor, and Los Angeles Rams No. 28 retired

Championships: One AFC Championship, Two NFC Championship, and One Super Bowl (XXXIV)

Faulk's placement on this list is a bit weird because you could make a case for him to have a higher placement due to those last two stats, but this list is for best running backs, so rushing stats are weighted more than receiving stats. That said, even as a pure rusher, Faulk still has respectable numbers. His total stats secure his placement at number 10, especially since "The Greatest Show on Turf" loves passing so much that Faulk had to play the receiving role more in that Rams' system.

9. Earl Campbell

Stats/Records: 2,187 Rushing Attempts (T-33rd all-time), 9,407 Rushing Yards (37th), 74 Rushing TDs (T-26th), 4.3 Yards per Attempt (T-73rd), 81.8 Yards per Game (13th), 10,213 All-Purpose Yards (143rd), and 74 Total TDs (81st)

Awards: 5× Pro Bowler (1978–1981, 1983), 3× First-team All-Pro (1978–1980), AP NFL Most Valuable Player (1979), 3× NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1978–1980), Bert Bell Award (1979), NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (1978), NFL Hall of Fame, and Tennessee Titans No. 34 retired

Championships: None at the professional level.

With these lists, I limit myself to the professional success for the sake of fairness because as we've seen in this year's college football season, not all conferences are equal. If it wasn't for the limitation, a case could be made for Earl Campbell to be in the top three because he was one of the best players since high school. Still, Earl Campbell had amazing success at the professional level and is considered one of, if not the greatest, power backs of all-time (basically he hit really hard, really well as a running back).

8. Gale Sayers

Stats/Records: 991 Rushing Attempts (206th all-time), 4.956 Rushing Yards (140th), 39 Rushing TDs (T-121st), 5.0 Yards per Attempt (T-8th), 72.9 Yards per Game (31st), 9,435 All-Purpose Yards (175th), and 56 Total TDs (195th)

Awards: 4× Pro Bowler (1965–1967, 1969), 5× First-team All-Pro (1965–1969), NFL Comeback Player of the Year (1969), NFL Rookie of the Year (1965), NFL 1960s All-Decade Team, NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, NFL Hall of Fame, and Chicago Bears No. 40 retired

Championships: None at the professional level.

If you look just at the numbers with Gale Sayers, you wonder how he even made this list, but this goes deeper than his stats and awards. Gale Sayers had a seven-year career, and he only played about five and a half of those years due to injury, which is why most of his numbers are small in relation to others on this list. For those five and a half years in the late 60's and early 70's (making him one of the oldest players on this list), Gale Sayers was the best player on the planet, and had he stayed healthy and played longer, he'd probably be even higher.

7. Orenthal James "O.J." Simpson

Stats/Records: 2,404 Rushing Attempts (27th all-time), 11,236 Rushing Yards (21st), 61 Rushing TDs (T-46th), 4.7 Yards per Attempt (T-17th), 83.2 Yards per Game (11th), 14,368 All-Purpose Yards (46th), 76 Total TDs (T-72nd), and NFL Record 143.1 yards per game in a season.

Awards: 5× Pro Bowler (1972–1976), 5× First-team All-Pro (1972–1976), NFL Most Valuable Player (1973), NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1973), Bert Bell Award (1973), AP Athlete of the Year (1973), AFL All-Star (1969), NFL 1970's All-Decade Team, NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, and NFL Hall of Fame

Championships: None at the professional level.

This list is based on what these players have done on the field, and disregards any off-the-field exploits, hence O.J.'s placement on here at all. That said, "The Juice" was a beast of a running back during his playing career, and his number could be even greater if, like some of the other players on this list, he played seasons with a full 16 games. In fact, O.J. was on pace to have the greatest single season for any running back in history, but he only had a 14 game season vs the 16 game season that started in 1978 during the twilight of his career.

6. LaDainian Tomlinson (L.T.)

Stats/Records: 3,174 Rushing Attempts (6th all-time), 13,684 Rushing Yards (6th), 145 Rushing TDs (2nd), 4.3 Yards per Attempt (T-73rd), 80.5 Yards per Game (17th), 18,456 All-Purpose Yards (9th), 162 Total TDs (3rd), and NFL record 28 rushing touchdowns in a season, 31 touchdowns from scrimmage in a season, and 18 consecutive games with a touchdown

Awards: 5× Pro Bowler (2002, 2004–2007), 3× First-team All-Pro (2004, 2006, 2007), 3× Second-team All-Pro (2002, 2003, 2005), NFL Most Valuable Player (2006), NFL Offensive Player of the Year (2006), Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year (2006), NFL 2000's All-Decade Team, NFL Hall of Fame, Los Angeles Chargers No. 21 retired, and Los Angeles Chargers Hall of Fame

Championships: None at the professional level.

It hurts a little placing L.T. outside the top five because he was one of my favorite players when I was growing up in California, but I set personal bias aside (for the most part) when making these lists. L.T. still has the stats and records to warrant a place on this, and his recent induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame pretty much secured his place. For years, L.T. carried the San Diego Chargers and he and Phillip Rivers came so close to bring a championship to San Diego, but never could, despite Tomlinson being a TD machine.

5. Eric Dickerson

Stats/Records: 2,996 Rushing Attempts (10th all-time), 13,259 Rushing Yards (8th), 90 Rushing TDs (T-13th), 4.4 Yards per Attempt (T-51st), 90.8 Yards per Game (5th), 15,411 All-Purpose Yards (30th), 96 Total TDs (25th), and NFL record 2,105 rushing yards in a season and 1,808 rushing yards in a rookie season

Awards: 6× Pro Bowler (1983, 1984, 1986–1989), 5× First-team All-Pro (1983, 1984, 1986–1988), NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1986), 3× NFC Offensive Player of the Year (1983, 1984, 1986), NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (1983), NFL 1980's All-Decade Team. NFL Hall of Fame, Los Angeles Rams No. 29 retired, and Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor

Championships: None at the professional level.

Oh look, a third running back from the state of Texas, well isn't that interesting. Like his fellow Texans, Earl Campbell (Tyler, TX and UT) and L.T. (Rosebud, TX and TCU), Eric Dickerson (Sealy, TX and SMU) was drafted in the top five picks of the first round, became an amazing running back in the NFL, and could never win a championship. Dickerson has the greatest rookie and single-season rushing performances, but like most great running backs, he doesn't have a ring to show for it.

4. Emmitt Smith

Stats/Records: 4,409 Rushing Attempts (1st all-time), 18,355 Rushing Yards (1st), 164 Rushing TDs (1st), 4.2 Yards per Attempt (T-109th), 81.2 Yards per Game (15th), 21,564 All-Purpose Yards (4th), 175 Total TDs (2nd), and NFL record 18,355 rushing yards in a career, 164 rushing touchdowns in a career, and 4,409 rushing attempts in a career

Awards: 8× Pro Bowler (1990–1995, 1998, 1999), 4× First-team All-Pro (1992–1995), Second-team All-Pro (1991), AP NFL Most Valuable Player (1993), Bert Bell Award (1993), NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (1990), NFL 1990's All-Decade Team, NFL Hall of Fame, and Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor

Championships: Three NFC Championships (1992, 1993, and 1995), Three Super Bowls (XXVII, XXVIII, and XXX), and One Super Bowl MVP (XXVIII)

Thank you, Emmitt Smith, for being so great that I could justifiably put a Dallas Cowboy on this list because I would not enjoy doing it otherwise. In all seriousness, Emmitt Smith was a workhorse for the Cowboys while his fellow "Triplets," Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin, were coming into their own before the Cowboys' Super Bowl runs. I said L.T. was a TD machine, well, Emmitt Smith was an entire TD factory, and he holds so many other records, but he stays at four because his numbers are largely a result of sheer volume, whereas the top three had more rare ability to go with the numbers.

3. Barry Sanders

Stats/Records: 3,062 Rushing Attempts (7th all-time), 15,269 Rushing Yards (3rd), 99 Rushing TDs (T-9th), 5.0 Yards per Attempt (T-8th), 99.8 Yards per Game (2nd), 18,308 All-Purpose Yards (10th), 109 Total TDs (18th), and NFL record five 1,500 yard seasons, with a NFL record four consecutively

Awards: 10× Pro Bowler (1989–1998), 6× First-team All-Pro (1989–1991, 1994, 1995, 1997), 4× Second-team All-Pro (1992, 1993, 1996, 1998), NFL Most Valuable Player (1997), 2× NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1994, 1997), 2× Bert Bell Award (1991, 1997), NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (1989), NFL 1990's All-Decade Team, NFL Hall of Fame, and Detroit Lions No. 20 retired

Championships: None at the professional level.

Well, we've got our second running back out of Wichita, Kansas, and like Gale Sayers before him, Barry Sanders went to a team in the north and dominated the league. Barry Sanders had an elusiveness and explosiveness that was unparalleled in his day, which led to him being a dominant player during an era of dominant players with a career of yards per game near 100. The thing that holds Barry Sanders back is his decision to retire early, because he could realistically hold some of the records that belong to others on this list, but I will not blame a guy for retiring in his prime when he feels like there is nothing left to prove or risk his health for.

2. Walter Payton

Stats/Records: 3,838 Rushing Attempts (2nd all-time), 16,726 Rushing Yards (2nd), 110 Rushing TDs (4th), 4.4 Yards per Attempt (T-51st), 88.0 Yards per Game (6th), 21,803 All-Purpose Yards (3rd), 125 Total TDs (11th), and NFL record 170 consecutive career starts for a running back

Awards: 9× Pro Bowler (1976–1980, 1983–1986), 7× First-team All-Pro (1976–1980, 1984, 1985), Second-team All-Pro (1986), AP NFL Most Valuable Player (1977), Bert Bell Award (1985), 2× NFC Offensive Player of the Year (1977, 1985), NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1977), NFL Man of the Year (1977), NFL 1970's All-Decade Team, NFL 1980's All-Decade Team, NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, NFL Hall of Fame, and Chicago Bears No. 34 retired

Championships: One NFC Championship (1985) and One Super Bowl (XX)

Everything about Walter Payton can be summed by his motto, which was also the title of his posthumously published autobiography, "Never Die Easy." Walter Payton could do it all, and he did it all while making sure that every team he faced respected him and feared him and his patented "stutter-step," which you see people still using today. I honestly believe that his most important legacy to the league was his dedication to community, which is why the "NFL Man of the Year" award is now the "Walter Payton Man of the Year" award, and while that does not change his ranking, it is worth mentioning.

Before we get to number one, I have a few honorable mentions, two that are active running backs and two that are retired.

Honorable Mentions:


Adrian Peterson: It was a tough call between AP and Faulk, and while I would have loved having a fourth guy from the state of Texas, Faulk's one ring and all-purpose yards total lifted him just above AP and his amazing rushing and lack of other success.

Ezekiel Elliott: I was between Zeke and Gurley over who I would give the other active honorable mention to, but Zeke's totals over the past two years are just better than Gurley's. Zeke is on pace to have one of the all-time great careers in the NFL, and I hope it happens. Gurley winning the MVP or having more years like this one could change who holds this spot.


Curtis Martin: Martin is one of the most underrated running backs of all-time. He is top 5 in rushing attempts and yards. Martin suffers from the fact that his career overlapped with other greats who just outperformed him. Martin's stats fall short of Emmitt Smith and Barry Sanders who preceded him, Faulk and Jerome Bettis who played with him, and L.T. who succeed him, so he falls out of the top 10 because he could be argued out of being the top five of his era.

Tony Dorsett: This spot was between Dorsett, Franco Harris, and John Riggins, but the fullbacks stats can't match those of the halfback in Dorsett. Dorsett sits around number 10 in most running back categories, but he doesn't have the touchdowns to pass Faulk. Still, I guess the halfback is just better than the fullback.

1. James "Jim" Brown

Stats/Records: 3,838 Rushing Attempts (2nd all-time), 16,726 Rushing Yards (2nd), 110 Rushing TDs (4th), 4.4 Yards per Attempt (T-51st), 88.0 Yards per Game (6th), 21,803 All-Purpose Yards (3rd), 125 Total TDs (11th), and NFL record 170 consecutive career starts for a running back

Awards: 9× Pro Bowler (1976–1980, 1983–1986), 7× First-team All-Pro (1976–1980, 1984, 1985), Second-team All-Pro (1986), AP NFL Most Valuable Player (1977), Bert Bell Award (1985), 2× NFC Offensive Player of the Year (1977, 1985), NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1977), NFL Man of the Year (1977), NFL 1970's All-Decade Team, NFL 1980's All-Decade Team, NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, NFL Hall of Fame, and Chicago Bears No. 34 retired

Championships: One NFC Championship (1985) and One Super Bowl (XX)

Or maybe it is just because THE GREATEST RUNNING BACK OF ALL-TIME played fullback for the Cleveland Browns. Jim Brown might even be the greatest player in the history of pro-football (Don't worry, I'll get to that list eventually), but there is one absolute fact, his career average yards per page is 104.3 y/g. Not only does he hold that record, among others, but he holds it by four and a half yards over Barry Sanders and is twelve yards per game better than number four, which basically means Jim Brown is the G.O.A.T.

All data was pulled from,, and

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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10 Reasons Cheerleading Is One Of The Hardest Sports In The U.S

The truth behind what actually goes into cheerleading and what us cheerleaders go through on a daily basis.

"Cheerleading isn't a sport. No team that gets to prance around in a skirt all day could ever be considered a sport!"

"You cheerleaders do realize that you're not actually helping the football team win, right? Nobody needs you."

As someone who has consistently cheered for eight years, these are the comments that I hear from others when I openly talk about my sport and my life as an athlete. The lack of respect and recognition cheerleaders get on a daily basis is truly uncanny, and nothing breaks my heart more than meeting people who don't understand the amount of hard work, determination, commitment, money, blood, sweat, and tears that all comes along with being on a competitive cheer team.

For those of you who don't know very much about cheer and the nature of the sport, here are 10 reasons why it is considered to be one of the hardest sports in the U.S.

I believe that many will find these facts both shocking and interesting as they may want to reconsider the next time they think about ridiculing a cheerleader and planting the false ideas in their minds that what they do is in any way "not a sport."

1. You need extensive gymnastics and tumbling experience.

The majority of Cheer teams today require a certain level of tumbling ability.

Most High School Cheer teams require at least a back handspring to even be considered for a spot on the team. It is a very common thing for Gymnasts to go into Cheerleading since they can integrate lots of their Gymnastics experience into Cheer including their tumbling, jumps, and overall energy and precision.

Back handsprings, back tucks, and fulls can take years to master; sometimes even longer depending on when the athlete began.

2. Cheerleading has more reported injuries than any other sport.

You heard that right!

Not only is Cheerleading considered to be one of the hardest sports, but a recent study in the Journal of Pediatrics found that Cheerleading is the most dangerous sport for females due to the high risk of severe injuries including concussions, broken bones, permanent disabilities and paralyzation, and risk of injuries causing a shorter lifespan.

Believe me when I tell you that Cheerleading is most definitely not for the faint-hearted. Speaking from experience, nearly every practice consists of at least one person getting hurt in some shape or form. From a bloody nose, a sprained ankle, countless bruises, and black eyes, you can pretty much count on witnessing one of these injuries happening to you or one of your team-mates at some point or another.

These injuries generally happen while stunting. Bases more often than even the flyers are constantly experiencing injuries that simply don't happen nearly as often as any other sport.

Flyers, on the other hand, must deal with the risk of getting dropped on the ground (in which case most teams will make the entire team run countless miles if a flyer EVER touches the ground), getting caught and landing in extremely uncomfortable positions, or even head-butting their bases and or back spot.

Those who can recover from a fatal injury and return to Cheer with grace and integrity are the ones who sincerely deserve utmost admiration and respect among their peers. Many quit after getting hurt and realizing how dangerous of a sport cheer really is.

3. The time commitment is no joke.

Cheerleaders are supposedly considered to be what our day and age deem "popular," however, the fact of the matter is that if you are on a highly prestigious and competitive cheer team for all-star or even some High-school teams, you can practically say goodbye to any chance of a social life.

Most teams have practices at least five days a week and then have games and/or competitions on weekends. Practices generally last about two to as long as four hours, not to mention the countless hours spent at cheer camp in the summer.

4. It's a serious investment.

The cost of being on a competitive Cheer team averages out to be an outstanding balance of about $1,000 - $3,000.

This includes but is not limited to the cost of the season, the cost of competition, the cost of cheer uniforms, warm-up outfits, bows, jackets, Poms, and Cheer shoes.

Not to mention the cost of the trips to the different competitions and conferences in prestigious locations that include Disney World, Los Angeles, California, etc.

5. Competitions are simply indescribable.

You heard it here folks! Believe it or not, most Cheerleaders don't just cheer for basketball and football games as their only source of performance.

We live and breathe for our competitions and spend countless hours practicing for them to ensure a flawless routine. These events are judged extensively and even the smallest mistake made by one team-mate can bring the score of the entire team down.

These events are also very competitive in the sense that hundreds and sometimes thousands of teams nationwide come together with only one goal on their mind: take first place.

6. Strength, cardio, and conditioning are paramount.

Again you must believe me when I say that Cheer is not for the faint-hearted. I have been on about seven different competitive teams and not one of them failed to exclude the long and extraneous hours of conditioning.

This includes push-ups, sit-ups, stretches, running countless miles, etc. This prepares us for the incredible amount of endurance and cardio required for competition where we are expected to hit our jumps, dance motions, cheer, tumbling, and stunts full out and all in the three-to-seven-minute time limit.

All of this is done with immaculate facials, energy, and voice projection. imagine you are expected to run an eight-minute mile and as soon as you cross the finish line, you are then expected to yell a long cheer as loud as you can for an audience of hundreds to hear.

This is a similar feeling to those of us who are expected to run across the entire mat while avoiding hitting anyone in just a few seconds, throw perfectly timed tumbling passes, jumps, stunts, and all in such a short amount of time. There are no breaks while you are competing. One missed tumbling pass or failed stunt can result in the difference between first and last place during a competition.

It is essential to ensure that all team-mates are in tip-top shape physically before they even begin to create a routine for competition, this is also to prevent injuries.

7. Advanced stunts require insane amounts of skill to perform without serious injury.

Need I even say more? Cheerleaders perform stunts that require an extensive amount of time, patience, and overall teamwork. Although these stunts may LOOK easy, people have no idea the amount of strength and endurance these stunts actually take to make them appear this way.

Men are strongly encouraged to join cheer for this exact reason.

Often girls are not strong enough for certain stunts such as partner stunting. A flyer must learn to be perfectly balanced and tighten every muscle of their body for these types of stunts especially. A man must spend hours a day in the gym working on his upper body strength in order to be capable of tossing their flyer into their hands as high as they do.

One loose muscle or bend of the knee could leave that flyer flat on the ground.

Something that I found interesting in my experience in cheer was that a male cheerleader from CU Boulder stated:

"I initially joined cheer as a joke. I had wrestled all my life and I can honestly say that Cheerleading is by far the hardest sport that I have ever done. It is incredible how much upper body strength some of the stunts really do need. I now have cheered for over 7 years and I will never go back to anything else."

8. Dance experience overlaps all the time and is necessary at the elite level.

Although cheer dance isn't as rigorous and flexibility centered as your typical style of dance (hip-hop, ballet, lyrical, etc.) it does still require a natural dancing ability. Not everyone has the natural capability of maintaining both tight and solid motions while also integrating jumps and facials.

Cheerleaders often have full-length practices in which they critique every motion to ensure that everyone does every motion exactly the same. The team must be 100 percent uniform and synchronized to each count, and people are unaware nowadays just how long even this takes to perfect.

9. Out-of-this-world flexibility is common in a competitive cheerleader.

It's not enough to just have your splits anymore. Flyers must maintain a heel stretch, a scorpion, and immaculate balance on both right and left legs in order to perform one-legged stunts. This amount of flexibility simply doesn't happen overnight.

10. Dealing with the lack of respect is tough on anyone.

I think that all Cheerleaders can relate to this one. Although not all cheer teams are run exactly the same, one thing is still for certain. We all go through the countless hours of extraneous workouts and effort that goes into perfecting our routines and at the end of the day, we have nothing to show for it.

People in today's society don't even give us enough respect to even see us a sport, yet alone consider us as one of the hardest sports in the U.S. We have to deal with the stereotypes, the gossip, and the social standards that society puts on us and for some of us this is in addition to the drama and pressure that High School already inflicts upon us.

This is a lot of stress to put on young individuals who are still trying to find their identity and it just gets buried and spit on by those who don't even know the HALF of what we really do.

NFL Cheerleaders and the Cheerleaders you see on television don't help this image either. They are highly sexualized and give society a completely false image of what we actually stand for. This, my friends, ends today! Cheerleaders and others who do understand the vigor of the sport please share this article with your friends and help us let it be known how much time and effort really goes into everything that we do!

Cover Image Credit: Wikipedia

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ASU Baseball Is Already Knocking It Out Of The Park

All eyes are on the Sun Devils as they enter the national poll this previous week. The Sun Devils are the last unbeaten team left in the NCAA.


Starting off the season 18-0? Not bad, considering the Sun Devils' haven't gone undefeated at the start of the NCAA baseball season since 2010 when they went 24-0, but honestly where did this come from? In the 2017-18 season, the Devils finished off with 23-32, sitting towards the bottom of the Pac-12. Now they're the top of the conference, past the usual Pac-12 baseball powerhouse, Oregon State.

On a team with only 27 on the roster, which makes it the smallest team in the Pac-12, you wouldn't really expect such an explosive start to the season. Take a look at the improvements made, though, and you'll see why.

For starters, catcher Sam Ferri is back healthy and ready for this season to start with both pitchers Alec Marsh and RJ Dabovich, who've both thrown some great games, but if we're being honest here, have been a little inconsistent with a few errors, but have been backed up by the offense to get the job done.

On offense, Hunter Bishop and Spencer Torkelson are the ones to watch out for. Torkelson was named Pac-12 freshman of the year last year, after setting the Pac-12 freshman record of home runs. Now he's back with some deadly at-bat presence, as you can always expect a few RBIs from him, and also doing a great job at infield (#TorkBomb). Bishop's following suit, with major at-bats against Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Xavier.

Safe to say being ranked #23 right now is huge for a program that struggled majorly in the past seasons and has had some great players transfer out recently. Despite being faced with huge adversity before the season, this lineup is really producing some good stuff this year, and by being undefeated through the first month of play really exemplified that.

Hats off to Head Coach Tracy Smith for helping these young men after having the program suffer for a while.


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