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