The Top 25 Greatest Running Backs Of All Time Football Players (American)

The Top 25 Greatest Running Backs Of All Time

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I guess the way I list these guys are by who I would take if I was starting a team today. In all ranking is a little stats, awards and opinions. The latter is where the arguments start. Here is my try at running backs! Enjoy and complain, BT


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  1. 1

    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

  5. 5
    Eric Dickerson
    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

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    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

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    Orenthal James "O. J." Simpson, also nicknamed "The Juice", is a retired American football player, broadcaster, actor, and convicted felon currently incarcerated in Nevada. Simpson played college football at the University of Southern California, where he won the Heisman Trophy in 1968. He then played ...more

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    Bronislau "Bronko" Nagurski was a Canadian-born American football player. He was also a successful professional wrestler, recognized as a multiple-time world heavyweight champion.more

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    LaDainian Tramayne Tomlinson is a former American college and professional football player who was a running back in the National Football League for eleven seasons. He played the majority of his 11-year career with the San Diego Chargers, who selected him with the fifth overall pick in the 2001 NFL ...more

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    Harold Edward "Red" Grange, nicknamed "The Galloping Ghost", was a college and professional American football halfback for the University of Illinois, the Chicago Bears, and for the short-lived New York Yankees. His signing with the Bears helped legitimize the National Football League. He was a charter ...more

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    Marion Motley was an American Football fullback and linebacker who played for the Cleveland Browns in the All-America Football Conference and National Football League. He was a leading pass-blocker and rusher in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and ended his career with an average of 5.7 yards per carry, ...more

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    Gale Sayers
    Photo: Freebase/Fair use

    Gale Eugene Sayers, also known as "The Kansas Comet", is a former American college and professional football player who was a running back in the National Football League for seven seasons during the 1960s and early 1970s. He played college football for the University of Kansas, and was twice recognized ...more

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    Franco Harris is a former American football player. He played his NFL career with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks. In the 1972 NFL Draft he was picked up by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round, the 13th selection overall. His selection by the team was considered controversial at the ...more

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    Jerome Abram Bettis Sr., nicknamed "The Bus," is a former American football halfback who played for the Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League. Bettis is sixth on the list of NFL rushing yards leaders. He retired in 2006 after the Steelers won Super Bowl XL in ...more

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    James Charles "Jim" Taylor is a former professional American football fullback in the National Football League. Taylor played for ten seasons, from 1958-67. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, inducted in the summer of 1976. He was a running back for the Green Bay Packers from 1958-66, and ...more

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    Robert John Riggins, nicknamed "The Diesel" and "Riggo", is a former American football running back in the National Football League for the New York Jets and Washington Redskins. Riggins was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992.more

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    Marshall William Faulk is an American former college and professional football player who was a running back in the National Football League for twelve seasons. He played college football for San Diego State University, and was a two-time consensus All-American. He was selected by the Indianapolis Colts ...more

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    Marcus LeMarr Allen is a former American football running back and football analyst for CBS. As a professional, Allen ran for 12,243 yards and caught 587 passes for 5,412 yards during his career for both the Los Angeles Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs from 1982 to 1997. He scored 145 touchdowns, ...more

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    Terrell Lamar Davis is a former American football running back who played for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League from 1995 to 2001. Davis was drafted by the Broncos in the sixth round of the 1995 NFL Draft. He is the Denver Broncos all-time leading rusher, with 7,607 rushing yards. As a ...more

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    Anthony "Tony" Drew Dorsett is a former American football running back in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos. After graduating from Hopewell High School, Dorsett attended the University of Pittsburgh, where he won the Heisman Trophy. He was a first round draft choice ...more

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