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38.9k voters

The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time

Updated July 31, 2020 351.2k votes 38.9k voters 635.4k views206 items

List RulesOnly 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.
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  • 1
    13,153
    4,935

    Barry Sanders

    Oklahoma State Cowboys football, Detroit Lions
  • 2
    11,513
    4,346

    Walter Payton

    Chicago Bears

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  • 3
    9,883
    3,724

    Jim Brown

    Cleveland Browns, Syracuse Orange football

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  • 4
    7,479
    3,929

    Bo Jackson

    Los Angeles Raiders

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    #34 of 150 Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative#427 of 708 The Best Hitters in Baseball History

  • 5
    7,662
    4,440

    Adrian Peterson

    Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints

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  • 6
    5,200
    2,972

    Gale Sayers

    Chicago Bears, Kansas Jayhawks football
  • 7
    6,610
    3,830

    LaDainian Tomlinson

    TCU Horned Frogs football, New York Jets
  • 8
    5,930
    3,482

    Eric Dickerson

    Los Angeles Rams, Indianapolis Colts
  • 9
    5,768
    3,361

    Marshall Faulk

    Indianapolis Colts, St. Louis Rams
  • 10
    6,315
    3,744

    Earl Campbell

    New Orleans Saints, Houston Oilers
  • 11
    7,932
    5,079

    Emmitt Smith

    Florida Gators football, Arizona Cardinals

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    #1 of 85 The Best University of Florida Football Players of All Time#62 of 106 The Fastest NFL Players of All Time

  • 12
    4,131
    2,494

    Marcus Allen

    USC Trojans football, Oakland Raiders
  • 13
    4,015
    2,663

    Tony Dorsett

    Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Panthers football

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  • 14
    3,261
    2,178

    Jim Thorpe

    Cleveland Indians, Oorang Indians

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  • 15
    2,912
    2,112

    Thurman Thomas

    Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins
  • 16
    3,267
    2,342

    Herschel Walker

    Georgia Bulldogs football team, New Jersey Generals
  • 17
    3,255
    2,449

    Terrell Davis

    Denver Broncos, Georgia Bulldogs football team
  • 18
    2,658
    1,810

    Frank Gore

    San Francisco 49ers, Indianapolis Colts

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  • 19
    3,514
    2,772

    Jerome Bettis

    Pittsburgh Steelers, St. Louis Rams
  • 20
    2,653
    2,056

    John Riggins

    Washington Redskins, New York Jets

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  • 21
    3,393
    2,565

    Marshawn Lynch

    Seattle Seahawks, Buffalo Bills
  • 22
    2,938
    2,312

    Franco Harris

    Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers
  • 23
    4,950
    3,988

    O. J. Simpson

    Buffalo Bills, San Francisco 49ers

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  • 24
    2,294
    1,805

    Larry Csonka

    Syracuse Orange football, Miami Dolphins
  • 25
    2,481
    2,154

    Curtis Martin

    New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Panthers football