Best Football Running Backs of All Time « see full list

Barry Sanders

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Barry Sanders is easily the best ever. Only he and Jim brown had a full career average of 5.0 ypc lifetime. Barry ran for 19 yards in his first every carry in his long career. If he had played for a team with an offensive line he would have no doubt ran for multiple 2000 yard seasons and probably have 1 or 2 close to 3000. He crated his own holes, got out of more situations than I can think of, he was more exciting to watch lose 3 yards than watching most great backs run forward for 70. Most electrifying, and yet with his greatness was by far the most humble I have ever seen. No TD celebrations, never. He could have had more records but he didn't care for records at all. He had 4 years left when he walked away, he would have had 20,000 yards for his career if he hadn't left as he was still in prime condition.
In 9 years Barry sanders did what it took Walter payton 12 years and emmit smith 12 years to do with no offensive line to speak of. Emmit played 6 years longer and only got 3,000 more yards Barry had averaged 1500 a year his whole career and could have broken the record in 1 year beat the new record in 2 and at the end of 6 be well over 20,000 yds but he quit because winning was more important and they weren't doing that no troy aikman, no deion sanders, so the wins and superbowls in a sport like this are useless to compare he was the greatest accept it emmit smith would be the first to tell you.
none you have clue 8 rush titles 9 yrs domination 12 games 1st2-3yrs no blocking with hands no FAKE turf speed power great moves JIM BROWN beat all one more thing he quit in his prime LEROY KELLY Sayers OJ all better that smith payton

sanders not to put them down just let you know you need some history. BIG JIM had A 5.2 YDS A POP career STAT THINK ABOUT THAT, THAT MEANS JUST OVER 15 FEET PER CARRY IN "63" 305 CARRIES 1863 YDS THATS 18 FEET, 12,312 IN 9 YRS 2359 CARRIES, ERA NEEDS TO SPOKEN ABOUT, BABE RUTH 154 GAMES, BASKETBALL YOU CAN TRAVEL WITH THE BALL NOW TAKE A LOOK AT SOME HISTORY. PAYTON, SMITH

GOOD BACKS GOOD THING FOR THEM THAT BROWN RETIRED YOUNG NOE GO COMPARE THEIR CARRIES TO BROWN AND YRS TO YRD TO GET WHAT THEY GOT, NOW TELL ME WHOS THE BEST
This was difficult because I love Payton too, but Barry Sanders was simply the most entertaining back to watch play. In fact, I say he's the single most entertaining athlete I've ever watched in any sport. He made opposing defenses nervous before the game, not that he would beat them, but that he would make them look stupid on national TV. If he had kept playing he would have beat out Emmitt for the rushing records, easily... Not even a contest Dallas fans. In fact, I'm surprised Emmitt is in the top 5.
If you were coaching in a superbowl tomorrow and could choose any rb in history to play for you...U... That's right, no doubt, barry!
Barry Sanders was like Houdini when running the football. He would be in one spot with the defense coming at him, and all of a sudden he would be somewhere else running the ball. He could change direction and never lose a step or drop momentum. Very hard skills to find in todays players. The closest I've seen is my #2 pick Marshall Faulk, and Priest Holmes looked like he was heading in the direction. It's too bad we never got to see what he had for a full career.
I watched barrys games religously for the ten years he graced a lions uniform. The day he left us was an end 2 my enjoyment of the nfl. We've not had anything close 2 cheer for in detroit in all these years. Indeed, I doubt I will ever see another so utterly electrifying on the gridiron in my lifetime. He is the greatest runner ever. If you don't know this then you didn't get to see barry run run run like no other!
he and jim brown in my book are in my book a dead tie, I mean just look at sanders

only 10 years- over 15,000

Terrible team

No o-line

Retired at his prime, i figured it out if barry and emmitt both had the same number of attempts, by taking emmitt's first 3,000 some attempts, his total would only be around 12,300 and well barry's would be 15,000 +
Barry was bar-none the most electrifying running back ever to play the game. The way he juked, spun, and head-faked his way out of closing holes made you doubt everything Sir Issac Newton ever said about inertia. Were it not for the single-back setup Detriot employed throughout most of Sanders' career, he would probably own most, if not all, of the NFL's rushing records.
emmitt and barry will alway have the comparisons being probably the best backs of their generation. Barry had a lot less talent around him in detroit then emmitt in dallas. Watching barry run is like watching an artist paint a canvas. Watching him make his cuts, like watching a skilled dancer, a true artform. Guy was amazing and in my opinion best of all time.
Not even close. Barry is the best runner in NFL history "hands down:Barry Sanders never had an o-line at Detroit. Played with a relatively weak team in a one back set. If he had not retired early he would have easily passed Emmet Smith who was surrounded by great players at every position with the cowboys!
Look at Barry's average yards gained per carry. He is at 5.0 which is close to Jim Brown's 5.2 which Jim earned against many defenders who were smaller than him. Considering the teams Barry played on his career stats are even more impressive. Every defense was geared directly toward Barry unlike what Emmitt had to deal with.
Every Thanksgiving, He Would Run His Ass Off. I Believe They Played Green Bay Every Year. The Fact Is That He Could Of Broke The Rushing Yard Record! Out Of A Deep Rooted Respect For Walter Payton. Humility Is Something Everyone Should Learn! Thank You Mr. Sanders For The Great Memories!
During the time of the great runners, Barry Sanders showed the skill set that could not be matched.When you look at how he gained the yards and the skill to make defenders miss it was truly my honor to watch. I herd someone saw god didn't know what he made when he made him. I will say god allowed us the pleasure to amaze at such a running back that was truly a humbled person. He was the graetest of all time.
Hands down the best of all time. From the day he walked into the league to the day he retired he was the top back. Even though he played for one of the worst teams of his time and the defense knew what was coming he still managed to eclipse 1000 yards with ease every year. Barry You the Man
Had no fullback. Had no quarterback. Had no wide receivers. He was it, on offense.
Could not tackle him in the open field. He made defenders look ridiculous, and confused.
Averaged 1500 yards a season, retired 2nd in all time rushing yards, while in his prime.
Barry Sanders GREATEST of all time!
Nobody could run like Barry. If only he played on a better team he would probably get 90% of the votes. He changed whole defencive scheme's to stop him. Quit in the prime of his career because he got tired of loosing with the lions or he would have ran for 20, 000 yards. Never carried a huge ego, always had a team first mentality, classiest player ever.
selected sanders only because I thought I could make more than one selection. if I had realized I could only make one pick I'd likely have selected jim brown or OJ. given some of the whacky names here, why isn't William "The Refrigerator" Perry somewhere on this list?
Could've easily won the all-time rushing record. 1,457 yards is a season's worth. Emmitt Smith would hang up the cleats trying to beat this guy. If he played the amount of seasons Payton played, he has 20,000 yards rushing EASILY. It's good to see him number 1 like he should be.
Jim Brown is a legend. Emmitt is the record holder. Walter can never be overlooked. But Barry Sanders always made your jaw drop with what he could do. Every time he got the ball he amazed every person watching. Whether you were a lions fan or not, you loved to see him run.
Definitely tied as best ever with good old jim brown.... Thing is it only gonna last a good 3-5 years longer than LT is going to take that title away from both of them at the same time... By the way Reggie Bush better than any of the top ten guys listed,HAHAHA quit kiddin yourself. hes descent not great
First off, Im a huge Jim Brown fan, but my number 1 vote goes to Barry Sanders. With some of the worst offense the NFL has ever seen. Barry Sanders looked like a gazelle in a heard of elephants. Barry is and amazing player to watch. Thank you for the memories Barry.
Gimme a break with the "touchdown" statistics. Some backs play for good teams, so do not. Another thing, don't say "best back ever" if the guy didn't break 2000 yards. Barry Sanders and Walter Payton should be #1 and #2. Both played behind terrible offensive lines.
if he would have had the supporting cast that emmit, walter, thurman, oj and many of the other running bcks have had throughout history he would have finish with at least 20,000 yards. explosive, untouchable, and a hurricane on the field. loved him.
Better stats then almost any other running back of all time and he earned those stats playing on the worst team in the nfl.. He has the best instincts of anbody to ever play the game

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