The NFL has had many great running back players in the last century and this century as well. Running back is a position that has an immense impact on the overall game. There is a long list of great running backs who served their respective teams for several years. In this article, we will list down the top 10 NFL running backs of all time.
10. LaDainian Tomlinson: San Diego Chargers 2001–2009, New York Jets 2010–2011
LaDainian Tomlinson is a big name in the history of the NFL. He is one of only three running back in the NFL who secured 100 receptions in a season. He did this in 2003. The same year, he also completed 1,645 yards and 13 scores on the ground. Tomlinson has an MVP award, three first-team All-Pro selections, and five Pro Bowls to his name.
9. Franco Harris: Pittsburgh Steelers 1972–1983, Seattle Seahawks 1984
Franco Harris played for the Pittsburgh Steelers for 12 consecutive seasons. During his career as a running back, he cleared the 1,000-yard mark eight times and also completed 12,120 rushing yards, and 91 touchdowns during 13 NFL seasons. Moreover, Harris also managed 307 catches in his career. During the 1972 playoffs, he outperformed every competitor.
8. Tony Dorsett: Dallas Cowboys 1977–1987, Denver Broncos 1988
Tony Dorsett played as a running back in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos. The Cowboys first got him in 1977. He won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and played for Dallas for 11 consecutive seasons till 1987. After that, he played for Denver. He had 12,739 yards in his entire career. Moreover, he is a 4x Pro Bowl and Super Bowl champion (XII).
7. Marshall Faulk: Indianapolis Colts 1994–1998, St. Louis Rams 1999–2006
Marshall Faulk played the NFL for 13 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and St. Louis Rams. He ranked 12th with 12,279 rushing yards. As a running back, he has the most receiving yards (6,875) and second-most receptions (767). Faulk won AP Offensive Player of the Year for three consecutive years. He also got seven Pro Bowl nods and three first-team All-Pro appearances.
6. Eric Dickerson: Los Angeles Rams 1983–1987, Indianapolis Colts 1987–1991, Los Angeles Raiders 1992, Atlanta Falcons 1993
Eric Dickerson started his NFL career with the Los Angeles Rams and completed 1,808 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground with 51 catches for 404 yards and two more scores. In 1986, Dickerson won Offensive Player of the Year along with his six Pro Bowl nods and first-team All-Pro appearances. He ended his career with 13,259 rushing yards and made his way to the Top 10 NFL running backs of all time.
5. Adrian Peterson: Minnesota Vikings 2007–2016, New Orleans Saints 2017, Arizona Cardinals 2017, Washington Redskins 2018–2019, Detroit Lions 2020–present
Adrian Peterson is an amazing running back, playing for the Detroit Lions in the NFL. He started his career with Minnesota Vikings and became the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. After that, he won the MVP award for his performance in the Pro Bowl. Peterson is already among the top-10 rushers in league history. He played for several NFL teams and holds seven Pro Bowls and four first-team All-Pro nods.
4. Barry Sanders: Detroit Lions 1989–1998
Barry Sanders was a running back for the Detroit Lions in the NFL. He made it into the Pro Bowl for ten NFL seasons and won the NFL Offensive Player of the Year two times. Sanders was considered as one of the best running back in the NFL for his pace. In 2007, he made into the NFL Network’s NFL Top 10 series as the most elusive runner in NFL history.
3. Jim Brown: Cleveland Browns 1957-1965
Jim Brown was a running back for the Cleveland Browns in the NFL from 1957 to 1965. He is also considered as one of the greatest running back the NFL ever had. He made it into the Pro Bowl every season he played. Moreover, he won the NFL Most Valuable Player three times. Brown won the NFL championship with the Browns in 1964. Brown was inducted into the hall of fame in 1971.
2. Emmitt Smith: San Diego Chargers 2001–2009, New York Jets 2010–2011
Emmit Smith was a running back for 15 seasons in the NFL from the 1990s to the 2000s. He mostly had his career with Dallas Cowboys but ended his career with the Arizona Cardinals. He had an outstanding career and became a three-time Super Bowl champion with the Cowboys. Moreover, he is a 4x All-Pro, and 8x Pro Bowler. These extraordinary stats make him one of the greatest running backs of all time.
1. Walter Payton: Chicago Bears 1975–1987
Walter Payton was a running back for the Chicago Bears in the NFL for 13 consecutive seasons. He has 9x Pro Bowl. Payton made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993. He was also selected in the 75th and 100th NFL Anniversary All-Time Teams in 1994 and 2019. In 1977, Payton won the MVP with 1,852 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. Moreover, Payton has 16,726 rushings, nine Pro Bowls, and five first-team All-Pro nods.
This was our top 10 list of Top 10 NFL running backs of all time. Which one is your favourite?