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List of Famous Football Halfbacks

Updated June 14, 2019 8.5k views447 items

List of the most famous (American) football halfbacks in the history of the sport, listed by popularity with photos of the players when available. There have been many legendary halfbacks in the NFL and NCAA, and you'll find all of them on this list below. Some of these men are considered to be the best halfbacks to ever play the game, and if you're looking for a specific football player you can look for them by using the "search" function on this list. These amazing halfbacks may currently be active while others have been retired for quite sometime. This list of the top halfbacks in American football includes all the greats from both the NFL and college football.

The list you're viewing is made up of many different items, like Burt Reynolds and Joe Biden.

This list answers the questions, "Who is the greatest halfback of all time?" and "Who are the best halfbacks of all time?"
  • Floyd Little1

    Floyd Little


    BirthplaceNew Haven, Connecticut


    TeamsDenver Broncos, Syracuse Orange football

    Floyd Douglas Little (born July 4, 1942 - January 1, 2021) was an American football halfback,...  more


    #16 of 27 The Best NFL Running Backs of the 70s#10 of 35 Undeserving Members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame

  • Frank Gifford2

    Frank Gifford

    Running back, Cornerback

    BirthplaceSanta Monica, California, United States of America


    TeamsUSC Trojans football, New York Giants

    Francis Newton Gifford (August 16, 1930 – August 9, 2015) was an American football player,...  more

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    #88 of 150 Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative#96 of 214 The Best Wide Receivers of All Time

  • Ollie Matson3

    Ollie Matson

    Running back, Return specialist

    BirthplaceTrinity, Texas

    AgeDec. at 81 (1930-2011)

    Ollie Genoa Matson II (May 1, 1930 – February 19, 2011) was an American Olympic medal winning...  more
  • Doak Walker4

    Doak Walker

    Running back, Return specialist

    BirthplaceDallas, Texas

    AgeDied at 71 (1927-1998)

    TeamsSouthern Methodist University Mustang football, Southern Methodist University Mustangs football, Detroit Lions

    Ewell Doak Walker II (January 1, 1927 – September 27, 1998) was an American football player. ...  more


    #19 of 83 The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time#16 of 119 The Best Detroit Lions of All Time

  • Mercury Morris5

    Mercury Morris

    Running back, Halfback

    BirthplacePittsburgh, Pennsylvania


    TeamsMiami Dolphins, San Diego Chargers

    Eugene Edward "Mercury" Morris (born January 5, 1947) is a former American football running...  more


    #15 of 30 Athletes Famous Only for Off-Court Behavior#12 of 246 The Best Miami Dolphins of All Time

  • Bobby Mitchell6

    Bobby Mitchell

    Running back, Return specialist

    BirthplaceHot Springs, Arkansas


    Robert Cornelius Mitchell (born June 6, 1935) is a former American football halfback and...  more

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    #20 of 115 The Greatest Washington Redskins of All Time#25 of 150 The Best Cleveland Browns of All Time

  • Mike Tolbert7

    Mike Tolbert

    Running back, Halfback

    BirthplaceDouglasville, Georgia


    TeamsCoastal Carolina Chanticleers football, Carolina Panthers, San Diego Chargers

    William Michael Tolbert (born November 23, 1985) is an American football fullback who is...  more
  • Johnny Lattner8

    Johnny Lattner

    Running back, Halfback

    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois


    John Joseph Lattner (October 24, 1932 – February 12, 2016) was an American football player. ...  more
  • Charley Trippi9

    Charley Trippi

    Running back, Return specialist

    BirthplacePittston, Pennsylvania


    Charles Louis Trippi (born December 14, 1921) is a former American football player. He played...  more

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    #51 of 904 Celebrity Death Pool 2021#35 of 225 The Best Arizona Cardinals of All Time

  • Billy Vessels10

    Billy Vessels

    Running back, Halfback

    BirthplaceCleveland, Oklahoma

    AgeDied at 70 (1931-2001)

    Billy Dale Vessels (March 22, 1931 – November 17, 2001) was a gridiron football player. He...  more
  • Jim Kiick11

    Jim Kiick

    Running back, Halfback

    BirthplaceLincoln Park, New Jersey


    James Forrest Kiick (born August 9, 1946) is a former professional American football player, a...  more
  • Vic Janowicz12

    Vic Janowicz

    Running back, Halfback

    BirthplaceElyria, Ohio

    AgeDec. at 66 (1930-1996)

    Victor Felix "Vic" Janowicz (February 26, 1930 – February 27, 1996) was an American football...  more

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    #44 of 83 The Best Ohio State Buckeyes of All Time#34 of 42 The Best Washington Redskins Kickers Of All Time

  • George Gipp13

    George Gipp

    Running back, Halfback

    BirthplaceLaurium, Michigan

    AgeDec. at 25 (1895-1920)

    TeamsNotre Dame Fighting Irish football

    George Gipp (February 18, 1895 – December 14, 1920), nicknamed "The Gipper", was a college...  more
  • Clem Daniels14

    Clem Daniels

    Running back, Return specialist

    BirthplaceMcKinney, Texas


    Clemon C. Daniels Jr. (October 3, 1937 – March 23, 2019) was an American professional football...  more
  • Alex Webster15

    Alex Webster

    Running back, Halfback

    BirthplaceKearny, New Jersey

    AgeDec. at 81 (1931-2012)

    Alexander "Red" Webster (April 19, 1931 – March 3, 2012) was an American football fullback and...  more
  • John Kuhn16

    John Kuhn

    Running back, Halfback

    BirthplaceDover, Pennsylvania


    TeamsPittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers

    John Allen Kuhn (born September 9, 1982) is a former American football fullback. After playing...  more

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    #537 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever#57 of 86 The Best NFL Players From Pennsylvania

  • Emil Sitko17

    Emil Sitko

    Running back, Halfback

    BirthplaceFort Wayne, Indiana

    AgeDec. at 50 (1923-1973)

    Emil "Red" Sitko (September 7, 1923 – December 15, 1973) was an American football player. Born...  more
  • Jack Concannon18

    Jack Concannon

    Running back, Halfback

    BirthplaceDorchester, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America

    AgeDec. at 62 (1943-2005)

    John Joseph "Jack" Concannon, Jr. (February 25, 1943 – November 28, 2005) was an American...  more

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    #23 of 66 The Best Chicago Bears Quarterbacks of All Time#25 of 29 The Best NFL Players From Massachusetts

  • Kyle Rote19

    Kyle Rote

    Running back, Halfback

    BirthplaceSan Antonio, Texas

    AgeDec. at 75 (1927-2002)

    William Kyle Rote, Sr. (October 27, 1928 – August 15, 2002) was an American football player, a...  more
  • Harry Gilmer20

    Harry Gilmer

    Halfback, Quarterback

    BirthplaceBirmingham, Alabama


    Harry Vincent Gilmer Jr. (April 14, 1926 – August 20, 2016) was an American football halfback...  more

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    #72 of 91 The Best Alabama Crimson Tide Football Players of All Time#104 of 119 The Greatest College Football Quarterbacks of All Time

  • Johnny Morris21

    Johnny Morris

    Running back, Halfback

    BirthplaceLong Beach, California


    Johnny Edward Morris (born September 26, 1935) is a former American football running back/wide...  more
  • Johnny Cain22

    Johnny Cain

    Running back, Halfback

    BirthplaceMontgomery, Alabama

    AgeDec. at 69 (1908-1977)

    John Lewis "Hurri" "Sugar" Cain (November 17, 1908 – August 18, 1977) was an American football...  more
  • Howard Cassady23

    Howard Cassady

    Running back, Halfback

    BirthplaceColumbus, Ohio


    Howard Albert "Hopalong" Cassady (born March 2, 1934) is a former professional American...  more

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    #73 of 80 The Best NFL Player Nicknames#9 of 31 The Best Ohio State Buckeyes Running Backs of All Time

  • Bruce Smith24

    Bruce Smith

    Running back, Halfback

    BirthplaceFaribault, Minnesota, United States of America

    AgeDied at 47 (1920-1967)

    Bruce Phillip Smith (February 8, 1920 – August 28, 1967), nicknamed "Boo", was an American...  more
  • Jim Crowley25

    Jim Crowley

    Running back, Halfback

    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois

    AgeDec. at 84 (1902-1986)

    James Harold "Sleepy Jim" Crowley (September 10, 1902 – January 15, 1986) was an American...  more