The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time Football Players (American)

The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time

5 2 of 13
177k votes 18k voters 414k views 196 items tags f p @

List Criteria: Only running backs. Rank the players based on their career achievements in the NFL

This list of top NFL running backs of all time is ranked by football fans worldwide. Who are the best NFL running backs of all time? The goal is to determine the greatest running backs to ever play the game.

They are some of the fastest, most athletic sports stars in the game. These top athletes have been wowing fans across the country for years. Some of them currently play in the league, others are long-retired legends whose legacy will be remembered on and off the field for a long time. 

The list establishes individual rankings of specific running backs and helps answer the question, "Who is the best NFL running back in the world?" This list includes some legendary famous football players with a lot of rushing yards under their belt. Anyone can vote on the top running backs in history, which means these players are truly fan favorites.

List Photo: user uploaded image
Collection Photo: user uploaded image
  • 223 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
Z
G Options B Comments & Embed 2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 7,681
    - 2,176
    Barry Sanders is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time
    Photo: user uploaded image

    Barry Sanders is a former American football running back who spent his entire professional career with the Detroit Lions of the National Football League. A member of both the college and professional football halls of fame, he was ranked by NFL Top 10 as the most elusive runner in NFL history, and also ...more

    more ABOUT
    • Teams: Oklahoma State Cowboys football, Detroit Lions
    • Position: Running back
    • Birthplace: Wichita, Kansas, United States of America
    • Age: age 47
  2. 2
    + 7,044
    - 2,150
    Walter Payton is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time
    Photo: Freebase

    Walter Jerry Payton was an American football running back who played for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League for thirteen seasons. Walter Payton was known around the NFL as "Sweetness". He is remembered as one of the most prolific running backs in the history of the NFL. Payton, a ...more

    more ABOUT
    • Teams: Chicago Bears
    • Position: Running back
    • Birthplace: Columbia, Mississippi, USA
    • Age: Died at 45 (1954-1999)
  3. 3
    + 5,402
    - 1,901
    Jim Brown is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    James Nathaniel "Jim" Brown is an American former professional football player and actor. He is best known for his exceptional and record-setting nine year career as a running back for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League from 1957 to 1965. In 2002, he was named by Sporting News as the ...more

    more ABOUT
    • Teams: Cleveland Browns, Syracuse Orange football
    • Position: Running back, Fullback
    • Birthplace: St. Simons, Georgia, United States of America
    • Age: age 79
  4. 4
    + 4,064
    - 2,081

    Earl Christian Campbell, nicknamed The Tyler Rose, is a former professional American football running back. He, Paul Hornung, and O. J. Simpson are the only Heisman Trophy winners to have also been first overall National Football League draft picks and members of both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and ...more

    more ABOUT
    • Teams: New Orleans Saints, Houston Oilers, Texas Longhorns football
    • Position: Running back
    • Birthplace: Tyler, Texas, United States of America
    • Age: age 60
  5. 5
    + 3,172
    - 1,809
    Eric Dickerson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Eric Demetric Dickerson is a former American college and professional football player who was a running back in the National Football League for eleven seasons during the 1980s and 1990s. Dickerson played college football for Southern Methodist University, and was recognized as an All-American. He was ...more

    more ABOUT
    • Teams: Los Angeles Rams, Indianapolis Colts, Oakland Raiders, SMU Mustangs football, Atlanta Falcons
    • Position: Running back
    • Birthplace: Sealy, Texas, United States of America
    • Age: 55
  6. 6
    + 4,192
    - 1,813
    Bo Jackson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time
    Photo: user uploaded image

    Vincent Edward "Bo" Jackson is a retired American baseball and football player. He is the only athlete to be named an All-Star in two major American sports. He was named the greatest athlete of all time by ESPN. While at Auburn University, Jackson won the 1985 Heisman Trophy, annually awarded to the ...more

    more ABOUT
    • Teams: Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox, Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    • Position: Running back
    • Birthplace: Bessemer, Alabama, United States of America
    • Age: age 53
  7. 7
    + 4,335
    - 2,893
    Emmitt Smith is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time
    Photo: user uploaded image

    Emmitt James Smith, III is an American former college and professional football player who was a running back in the National Football League for fifteen seasons during the 1990s and 2000s. Smith played college football for the University of Florida, where he was a unanimous All-American. A first-round ...more

    more ABOUT
    • Teams: Florida Gators football, Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys
    • Position: Running back
    • Birthplace: Pensacola, Florida, United States of America
    • Age: age 46
  8. 8
    + 4,569
    - 2,472

    Adrian Lewis Peterson is an American football running back for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Vikings seventh overall in the 2007 NFL Draft. He played college football at Oklahoma. Peterson set the NCAA freshman rushing record with 1,925 yards as a true ...more

    more ABOUT
    • Teams: Minnesota Vikings
    • Position: Running back
    • Birthplace: Palestine, Texas, United States of America
    • Age: age 30
197 +

Something missing? Add it!

L List Options 2 Rerank List B Comments & Embed z Share Next List >