Ranking of the 10 Greatest Running Seasons in NFL History: Barry Sanders Reigns Supreme

Once upon a time, before quarterbacks ruled the grid, the back-back was hailed as a leader in football. The biggest and brightest stars in the league played in the position, players including Frank Gifford of the Giants, Gail Sayers of Chicago, Jim Brown of Cleveland and Paul Hornung of Green Bay. These players helped set the stage for future generations of defenders, players who took the position at even greater heights.

There have been dozens of fruitful rush campaigns over the years, from John Riggins’ MVP campaign in 1983 to Derrick Henry’s 2,000-yard season in 2020. However, none of those seasons have broken our list of top 10 seasons. to rush into league history. Nor did Jamal Lewis’s monstrous season in 2003, in which he accumulated 2,066 yards, which was then the second largest total in the league’s history. The fact that these individual efforts were left on the floor of the formwork room is proof of the number of impressive seasons realized by running over the years. Only the best seasons were ranked and each of them is presented in detail below.

Before we break down the biggest fast seasons in history, here are the official criteria used in compiling the list.

  • One RB seat is allowed
  • Individual statistics
  • Individual confessions
  • Team success
  • Individual success after the season
  • A lasting legacy

1. Barry Sanders: The Lions of 1997

The ’97 season was a testament to the greatness of Sanders, who did more with less than each return before or after. Sanders ran 53 yards during the first two games of the season, then continued to run exactly 2,000 yards in the last 14 games. He overshadowed more than 100 yards in each of those games as he led the Lions to the playoffs. The elusive Sanders finished the season with 2,053 yards (then the second highest in NFL history), averaging a whopping 6.1 yards on carry.

2. Eric Dickerson: 1984 Aries

Dickerson’s 2105 yards in ’84 are still the benchmark for the league. Using his devastating combination of size and speed, Dickerson performed the “47 Gap” with dominance this season as he ran behind Rams’ talented line, which included tackling Jackie Slater’s Hall of Fame. The former excellent SMU has listed a dozen 100-yard games this season, which include his 215 yards against Houston in Week 15, the game in which he set the all-time rush record.

3. Terrell Davis: The Broncos of 1998

After performing for the MVP in the Super Bowl, Davis won the league’s MVP award in ’98 after rushing with 2008 yards and 21 touchdowns in the regular season. But Davis was just beginning. A powerful (yet deceptively fast) running runner, Davis rushed for an additional 468 yards and three touchdowns in three playoff games while the Broncos won consecutive titles. Davis’ combined 2476 yards this season are the most for a running back.

4. OJ Simpson: 1973 bills

Becoming the first player to rush 2,000 yards, Simpson achieved a feat similar to the Babe Ruth season of 60 home runs in 1927. The fact that Simpson reached 2,000 yards in 14 games makes the feat much more noticeable. But Simpson did not achieve this alone. He was aided by a talented offensive line nicknamed the Electric Company. The Simpsons averaged a remarkable 143.1 yards per game this year, while averaging 6 yards per carry.

5. Jim Brown: The Browns of 1963

The best fast season in the first 50 years of the league was created by perhaps the greatest runner in the history of the league. In his seventh season, Brown’s 1,863 running yards, 12 touchdown runs and 6.4 carrying yards were the highest in the league. He also caught three touchdowns while amassing a total of 2,131 yards in a regular season of 14 games. Brown won his fifth of seven quick titles this season before leading the Browns to the last NFL franchise championship in 1964.

6. LaDainian Tomlinson: 2006 Chargers

MVP of the league this season, Tomlinson led the league with 1,815 yards and 28 quick touchdowns. Tomlinson’s total of 31 results this season broke Sean Alexander’s annual record with three touchdowns. Along with his ability to rush and score, Tomlinson caught 56 ​​passes for 508 yards. His accumulation of yards and touchdowns this season has helped the Chargers go 14-2 during the regular season, while making dozens of fantasy footballers happy.

7. Walter Peyton: Bears from 1977

Like Sanders, Peyton was often a group of people. Although he did not have much of a supporting cast, Peyton led the NFL with 1,852 yards, 14 quick touchdowns and an average of 5.5 yards per car in a 14-game ’77 season. His magnum opus came in week 10, when, despite playing with a fever of 101 degrees, Peyton ran for the then-NFL record of 275 yards in a 10-7 victory over the Vikings’ great defense. Sweetness introduced Chicago to the postseason for the first time since 1963.

Peterson reached 9 yards to break Dickerson’s record with his 2097 yard effort in 2012. He entered the final of the Viking regular season with 1,898 yards. Needing a victory over the Packers to advance to the playoffs, AD lost 199 yards and a score that day as they led Minnesota to a last-second victory over their rival. Peterson endured a slow start to the season (he had only one game per 100 yards in his first six games) before reaching an average of 141 yards per game in the last 10 games of the season.

9. Earl Campbell: 1979 Oilers

Tyler Rose stormed the league shortly after arriving in Houston. He led the NFL in the rush in each of his first three seasons and was named MVP of the league in 1979. In 1980, Campbell overcame defenders with a 1934-yard tune and 13 touchdowns averaging 5.2 yards per square. He had four Take off 200 yards as they lead the Oilers to a place in the playoffs with wild cards.

Johnson used his incredible speed in a masterpiece season in 2009. He rushed to 2006 yards while leading the NFL with 358 curries and 408 total touches, an insane load for every player, not to mention someone checking in at 5 feet 11 and 195 pounds. His 91-yard touchdown running against the Texans was his landmark moment this season, but a neglected part of Johnson’s ’09 season was the fact that he also caught 50 passes for 503 yards.

Honorable Mention: Emit Smith, Cowboys (1995)

MVP of the league in 1993, Smith had an even better campaign in 1995. He ran for the high in the league 1773 yards, while rushing to the record for the then NFL 25 touchdowns. Smith, who also caught 62 passes in the regular season, ran nearly 300 yards and six touchdowns in the playoffs as the Cowboys won their third Super Bowl since the 1990s.

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