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38.1k voters

The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time

Updated July 31, 2020 365.0k votes 38.1k voters 630.3k 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
    Jim Brown
    10,358
    3,820

    Jim Brown

    Cleveland Browns, Syracuse Orange football

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  • 2
    Walter Payton
    12,088
    4,561

    Walter Payton

    Chicago Bears
  • 3
    Barry Sanders
    13,731
    5,270

    Barry Sanders

    Oklahoma State Cowboys football, Detroit Lions
  • 4
    Adrian Peterson
    8,030
    4,562

    Adrian Peterson

    Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints
  • 5
    Bo Jackson
    7,894
    3,906

    Bo Jackson

    Los Angeles Raiders
  • 6
    Marshall Faulk
    6,071
    3,457

    Marshall Faulk

    Indianapolis Colts, St. Louis Rams

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  • 7
    Gale Sayers
    5,383
    3,025

    Gale Sayers

    Chicago Bears, Kansas Jayhawks football
  • 8
    LaDainian Tomlinson
    6,960
    3,982

    LaDainian Tomlinson

    TCU Horned Frogs football, New York Jets
  • 9
    Eric Dickerson
    6,185
    3,691

    Eric Dickerson

    Los Angeles Rams, Indianapolis Colts
  • 10
    Earl Campbell
    6,525
    3,989

    Earl Campbell

    New Orleans Saints, Houston Oilers

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  • 11
    Marcus Allen
    4,319
    2,592

    Marcus Allen

    USC Trojans football, Oakland Raiders
  • 12
    Emmitt Smith
    8,249
    5,379

    Emmitt Smith

    Florida Gators football, Arizona Cardinals

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  • 13
    Tony Dorsett
    4,193
    2,739

    Tony Dorsett

    Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Panthers football
  • 14
    Jim Thorpe
    3,380
    2,286

    Jim Thorpe

    Cleveland Indians, Oorang Indians

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  • 15
    Thurman Thomas
    3,044
    2,136

    Thurman Thomas

    Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins
  • 16
    Frank Gore
    2,785
    1,800

    Frank Gore

    San Francisco 49ers, Indianapolis Colts
  • 17
    Herschel Walker
    3,408
    2,417

    Herschel Walker

    Georgia Bulldogs football team, New Jersey Generals
  • 18
    Terrell Davis
    3,423
    2,530

    Terrell Davis

    Denver Broncos, Georgia Bulldogs football team

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    #47 of 143 Athletes Whose Careers Ended Too Soon#15 of 44 The Best University of Georgia Football Players of All Time

  • 19
    Jerome Bettis
    3,677
    2,870

    Jerome Bettis

    Pittsburgh Steelers, St. Louis Rams

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  • 20
    Franco Harris
    3,037
    2,363

    Franco Harris

    Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers

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  • 21
    Marshawn Lynch
    3,543
    2,660

    Marshawn Lynch

    Seattle Seahawks, Buffalo Bills

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  • 22
    O. J. Simpson
    5,145
    4,208

    O. J. Simpson

    Buffalo Bills, San Francisco 49ers

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  • 23
    John Riggins
    2,761
    2,141

    John Riggins

    Washington Redskins, New York Jets
  • 24
    Larry Csonka
    2,388
    1,870

    Larry Csonka

    Syracuse Orange football, Miami Dolphins

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    #7 of 27 The Best NFL Running Backs of the 70s#10 of 47 The Best Super Bowl MVPs of All Time

  • 25
    Eddie George
    1,688
    1,355

    Eddie George

    Tennessee Titans/Oilers, Ohio State Buckeyes football

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