Jay C. Brandriet

I found myself soaking in the level of Titans back Derrick Henry.

He’s flirting with legendary status, in real time.

In attempting to put together my 30 greatest running backs, I noticed a dividing line.

Ranking 19 to 30 was a subjective nightmare.

Picking 1 through 18 was a bit dreamier.

I feel so good about this group, I wanted to stop the count right there.

Here are my 18 best running backs in NFL history.

#18- JEROME BETTIS- His NFL journey, unique size and feet, gives him my tie breaker over 4 others.

#17- GAYLE SAYERS- Watch some Sayers. Everyone else was stuck in the mud.

#16- CURTIS MARTIN- He carved up defenses, 4 yards at a time. “A Bill Parcells guy.”

#15- FRANCO HARRIS- Just 30 rushing yards short of having the highest playoff total ever.

#14- TONY DORSETT- Game breaker. Freakish vision. My first poster.

#13- TERRELL DAVIS- His peak equaled the most impactful player in the league for 3 years. The Gayle Sayers of the post season.

#12-EARL CAMPBELL- The bully among the bullies.

#11-THURMAN THOMAS- Special all-around production. Incredible balance.

#10- MARCUS ALLEN– A glider, who had a nose for the goal line. Put in work as a fullback.

#9- ERIC DICKERSON- “Eric’s style, was boom, he’s gone!” (Joe Theismann)

#8- O.J. SIMPSON- Greatest offensive force of the 1970’s.

#7- ADRIAN PETERSON- I was in the stadium for his 6th pro game. He’s so awesome, I wanted to mention it.

#6- LADAINIAN TOMLINSON- I underrated L.T. while he was active. 87 touchdowns over a 4-year stretch.

#5- EMMITT SMITH- Most accomplished, complete, resume for any RB that’s lived.

#4- MARSHALL FAULK- No way to know who “the smartest” is. I’d choose him.

#3- BARRY SANDERS- The most exciting. Born to make you miss.

#2- WALTER PAYTON- The best overall football player.

#1- JIM BROWN- Dominant on the Tom Brady/Jerry Rice level.

Jay C. Brandriet

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