Posts Tagged ‘barry sanders’

For the first time in my blog I am not concerned about NFL stats; I am concerned about how the players played in college.  College football has had almost 150 seasons of different players from all around the country.  Obviously its hard to really say who the best college football players are/were, so the way I am doing this is I am just going to list players who I feel had incredible college careers.  It doesn’t matter what school you went to, what years you played, or how many championships you won; all I care about is how did you perform in those short years that they were in college.  I am sure there will be players that are not on this list, but I will do my best to outline who I feel had the best college careers.

Herschel Walker RB Georgia – From the first time he touched the ball he was impressive.  Just in his freshman year he rushed for 1,891 yards and 18 TDs.  Also, as a freshman he finished second in the Heisman race being beat out by Marcus Allen.  As a freshman he was a huge part in leading the Bulldogs to a National Title.  There was not a time where Walker failed to impress; even his work ethic was better than you could find in any other player.  As a junior he won the Heisman Trophy by rushing for 1,752 yards and 16 TDs.  There are few players who could even come close to the career that Walker had and earned his spot in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Archie Griffin RB Ohio State – Griffin is the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner and he delivered some epic performances.  Between the years of 1972 and 1975 Griffin rushed for more than 1,400 yards in 3 seasons; just in his junior year he rushed for 1,695 yards and 12 TDs.  By the time he ended his college career he totaled up 36 TDs, 5,589 rushing yards, and averaged 6 yards per carry.  There is still yet to be another player to win two Heisman trophies and during his time; there was no better RB than Griffin.

Barry Sanders RB Oklahoma State – Obviously cant have this list without including Barry.  All I need to say is “The 1988 season” and people will know what I am taking about.  Just in 1988, Sanders rushed for an amazing 2,850 yards, 37 TDs, averaged 7.6 yards per carry, and averaged 237.5 rushing yards per game.  He also easily won the Heisman Trophy during the 1988 season and it was well deserved.  I dare you to find a better season for a RB then that; and after that season Barry went pro. 

Tony Dorsett RB Pittsburgh – He was not the biggest guy on the field, but he knew how to make people miss.  Tony led the Panthers to the 1976 National Title and won the Heisman Trophy in the process.  Dorsett made first-team All-American three times and when he graduated he had rushed for 6.082 yards which was a record that stood until 1998.  Dorsett also still hold numerous team records and made the College Football Hall of Fame. 

Bo Jackson RB Auburn – “Bo Knows”.  Between the years of 1982 and 1985; Jackson terrorized defenses across the country.  In the 4 years Bo played at Auburn he totaled up 4,303 rushing yards, 43 TDs, and averaged 6.6 yards per carry.  His best season came in 1985 when he rushed for 1,786 yards in a season which earned him the Heisman Trophy.  After he retired the University of Auburn retired his number and named him to the college Hall of Fame.

When it comes to an offense many people think of the QB; I on the other hand always look at the running backs.  Even though the NFL is more of a passing league now; you cannot be an effective team without a solid running game.  I am taking each team and I am going to put who I think was the best running back for that team.  I am basing this on what they did for that team; not just how many yards they got.  Some teams are kind of a no-brainer; but there are a few teams where it will be really hard to choose who was the greatest of all time.  I know that people will have different opinions than me so feel free to put who you think were the best for each team if you think I have over looked someone.

Buffalo Bills – Thurman Thomas: I chose Thomas because he was an integral part of the Bills offense for a long time and he did help get the Bills to 4 straight Super Bowls.  OJ Simpson was a close second.  Thomas totaled up 11,938 yards in his time with the Bills and is now in the Hall of Fame.

Miami Dolphins – Larry Csonka: Tough running and strength is what separates Csonka from other Miami running backs.  He rarely ever fumbled the ball and he was one of the toughest running backs to tackle.  He totaled up 6,737 yards as a Dolphin and won 2 Super Bowls.  He was also part of the 1972 Dolphins that went 14-0.  Mercury Morris and Ricky Williams were in the running for best Dolphin RB as well.

New England Patriots – Sam Cunningham: I know most people will vote for Curtis Martin, but Cunningham is the Patriots all-time rushing leader and his nickname was “Bam”.  He is now in the Hall of Fame and was a very tough inside runner that could deliver a hit at any time.

New York Jets – Curtis Martin: The 8 seasons he was with the Jets he had over 1,000 yards in 7 of them.  He also had a nose for the endzone and rushed for 58 touchdowns as a Jet.  When he retired he was 4th on the all-time rushing list with 14,101 rushing yards and even though he was on a few teams; I feel he made the biggest impact with the Jets.  I was considering Freeman McNeil; but Martin earned this title.

Baltimore Ravens – Jamal Lewis: The Ravens are still a young team and Ray Rice will eventually take this title, but in the mean time Jamal Lewis is the king RB for the Ravens.  He took the Ravens to the Super Bowl as a rookie and in 2003 he rushed for an astonishing 2,066 yards and 14 touchdowns.  Also in 2003 he set an NFL record by rushing for 295 yards in a single game.  Lewis was a beast to tackle and was a dominant force for the Ravens for 6 seasons.

Cincinnati Bengals – Corey Dillon: There have been numerous Bengal running backs that were in the running for this but Dillon was the best in my opinion.  Dillon was with the Bengals for 7 seasons and rushed for 1,000 yards in 6 of them.  In 2000 he set an NFL record for 278 rushing yards in a game.  Even though injuries slowed his career down he made a big impact for the Bengals franchise.

Cleveland Browns – Jim Brown:  I don’t think anyone can argue with this one.  Brown was pure power and speed and for 9 seasons he led the league in rushing for 8 of them.  Brown made the Pro Bowl 9 times and in 1964 he led the Browns to the NFL Championship and got them to the title game the following season.  He ended his career with 12,312 rushing yards and 106 rushing touchdowns.

Pittsburgh Steelers – Franco Harris:  I was really torn between Harris or Jerome Bettis; but in the end I think Harris was the best Steeler RB.  Harris rushed for over 1,000 yards 8 times and was named to 9 Pro Bowls.  He was also part of the “Immaculate Reception” which gave the Steelers their first post season victory in franchise history.  The Steelers won 4 Super Bowls with Harris in the backfield and Harris set a Super Bowl record by rushing for 158 yards in Super Bowl IX against Minnesota.

Houston Texans – Arian Foster:  The Texans are the youngest NFL team and have not had a lot of RB’s; but Foster hands down wins this title.  Any RB that plays for the Texans is going to have a tough act to follow when Foster is finished.  He has already gone over 1,000 yards in 3 seasons and has been to 3 Pro Bowls.  He is an elusive yet powerful runner that is very hard to tackle. 

Indianapolis Colts – Edgerrin James:  Yes, I considered the Baltimore Colts players as well in this.  All in all; James was a nightmare for defense while on the Colts.  I know most people would say Marshall Faulk should be the best in Colts history and they would not be wrong, but when I watched James play he added an element to the team that I don’t think Faulk did.  James had over 1,000 yards in 5 seasons and had over 10 rushing touchdowns in 4 seasons.  James holds the franchise record for most rushing yards in a season with 1,709.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Fred Taylor:  I know that Maurice Jones-Drew has become a huge part of the Jaguars, but Taylor was a beast while he was on the Jaguars.  As a rookie Taylor rushed for 1,223 yards and 14 touchdowns.  He also had 7 seasons of at least 1,000 yards; and he totaled over 11,000 yards while he was with the Jaguars.

Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans – Earl Campbell:  This one was really tough to decide on.  Eddie George gained more yards for the franchise, but Campbell was more of a dominant runner by far.  He led the Oilers to the AFC Championship Game and was one of the toughest runners that the league has ever seen.  Campbell had 5 seasons where he had over 1,000 yards and has been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Denver Broncos – Terrell Davis: There have been few Bronco running backs that were as impressive as Davis.  His career was cut short by injuries, but during his time he led the Broncos to 2 Super Bowls.  In 1998 he eclipsed 2,008 yards in the season and 21 touchdowns and was the league MVP.  Even though Davis may never make the Hall of Fame he is still the record holder for most rushing yards and rushing touchdowns for the Broncos.  He had 7,607 rushing yards and 60 rushing touchdowns.

Kansas City Chiefs – Priest Holmes: For the Chiefs; there has never been a better runner than Holmes.  He was another running back that was plagued by injuries, but he was a power back who had amazing speed.  Holmes was the first undrafted player to win a league rushing title in 2001.  In 2002 he had an NFL record 27 touchdowns and he also led the league in rushing yards. 

Oakland Raiders – Marcus Allen:  I really wanted to put Bo Jackson up for this, but in reality Allen was a huge part of the Raiders for a long time.  Not only was Allen a great runner; but he had excellent hands.  He was a key piece in the Raiders Super Bowl victory over the Redskins when he rushed for 191 yards and 2 touchdowns.  As a Raider Allen totaled up 8,545 yards and was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

San Diego Chargers – LaDainian Tomlinson:  I really do not think there will be another like LT.  In the 9 seasons he was with the Chargers he had an amazing 12,490 yards and rushed for over 1,000 in 8 of those seasons.  The 2006 season was his best when he had 1,815 yards and an NFL record 28 touchdowns.  LT was able to run, catch, and sometimes throw the ball which made his deadly for defenses.  When it comes to Charger RB’s there will never be another who could match what he did.

Dallas Cowboys – Emmitt Smith:  I know that this one will be up for debate because Tony Dorsett was another Cowboy great.  Smith was a Cowboy for 13 seasons and 11 of those he had over 1,000 yards.  He is still the NFL’s All-Time leading rusher.  Not only has he won Super Bowls; he has also won Super Bowl MVP Awards and league awards.  By the end of his career Smith had 18,355 rushing yards and has been named to the Hall of Fame.

New York Giants – Tiki Barber:  He may not be too popular around New York anymore, but he did total up over 10,000 yards for the Giants.  Barber had great speed for a guy his size and he was also very powerful.  He did help the Giants reach one Super Bowl and his best season was in 2005 when he totaled up 1,860 rushing yards and had 11 touchdowns. 

Philadelphia Eagles – Steve Van Buren:  Brian Westbrook was in the running for this, but in the end Van Buren was the complete package.  Van Buren led the NFL in rushing 4 times and helped lead the Eagles to back-to-back titles in 1948 and 1949.  Back then teams only played 12 games and he still went over 1,000 yards twice.  He has been inducted into the Hall of Fame as will be considered the greatest Eagle running back.

Washington Redskins – John Riggins: I really wanted to put Clinton Portis for this, but when you add everything up Riggins was incredible for the Redskins.  He is the Redskins all-time leading rusher and he was a key piece in the Redskins Super Bowl victory.  He sealed the victory with a 43-yard touchdown run and was named the Super Bowl MVP.  His nickname was “The Diesel” and in his career he racked up 11,352 rushing yards with 7,472 while with the Redskins.

Chicago Bears – Walter Payton: The Bears have had some stellar RB’s but none have compared to ‘Sweetness”.  He rushed for over 1,000 yards 10 different times as a Bear and was a dangerous runner that was impossible to bring down.  His best season was in 1977 when he rushed for 1,852 yards and had a game where he rushed for 275 yards.  Payton had an amazing work ethic and was a constant leader for the team.  In his career he had 16,726 rushing yards and was named to the Hall of Fame.

Detroit Lions – Barry Sanders:  Probably one of the best of all-time played for a losing team.  Sanders was a dangerous runner that had the quickest feet anyone has ever seen.  Sanders had 4 rushing titles and in 1997 was league MVP.  He played 10 seasons in the NFL and had over 1,000 yards in all of them; and in 1997 he went over 2,000 yards in a single season.  When he retired he had 15,269 yards as a Lion and that is almost triple of the next highest Lion player.  Had he stayed in the league for another few season he could have easily been the record holder for rushing yards.

Green Bay Packers – Jim Taylor:  Taylor helped lead the Packer to 4 titles and to the first Super Bowl ever.  Taylor had 5 consecutive 1,000 yard seasons and he would rather run you over than run around you.  In 1962 he beat out Jim Brown for the NFL rushing title by rushing for 1,474 yards and 19 touchdowns.  Taylor has been inducted into the Hall of Fame and even though he is no longer the franchise rushing yard holder he will stay at the top of Packer running backs.

Minnesota Vikings – Adrian Peterson:  Peterson is still very young and he has a very bright future ahead of him.  Peterson came into the league and was an immediate star; his rookie year he rushed for 1,300 yards and earned NFL Rookie of the Year.  In 2007, he ran for 296 yards in a single game and 3 touchdowns.  He has battled some serious injuries in his short career, but he has proven to be a freak of nature and over come injuries to be one of the best runners of all time.  In 2012 he fell just 9 yards short of the all-time rushing yard total in a single season.

Atlanta Falcons – William Andrews:  I know most people would put Warrick Dunn or Jamal Anderson, but Andrews was a complete package.  He played for the Falcons for 6 seasons and had over 1,000 yards in 4 of them.  In 1981 Andrews led the league in yards from scrimmage with 2,036 and 10 touchdowns.  Andrews finished his career with 5,986 yards and had he not had a terrible knee injury that ended his career he would have had a lot more.

Carolina Panthers – DeAngelo Williams:  Another young franchise but when it comes to pure running, DeAngelo is the best for Carolina.  He had back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons in 2008 and 2009 and averaged more than 5 yards per carry.  In 2008 he had his best season by rushing for 1,515 yards and 18 touchdowns which helped the Panthers reach the playoffs.  In his career so far he has 5,784 rushing yards and he is now splitting time with Jonathan Stewart.

New Orleans Saints – Deuce McAllister:  He started his career with 3 straight 1,000 yard seasons for the Saints.  Even though he had some injury issues he still ended up having 6,096 rushing yards for the Saints which is a franchise record.  He was on the roster when the Saints won the Super Bowl that way he could get a Super Bowl ring.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – James Wilder:  This was a tough call because of Warrick Dunn and Mike Alstott; but I feel Wilder was a more complete runner.  In 1984 he set an NFL record by rushing the ball 407 times in a single season and had 1,544 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns.  Wilder had two 1,000 yard seasons and even though he was always on a losing team he proved to be a constant workhorse for the Bucs.

Arizona/St. Louis/Chicago Cardinals – OJ Anderson:  The Cardinals are the oldest NFL franchise, but Anderson has by far been the best runner to put on a Cardinal uniform.  He totaled up 7,999 rushing yards during his time and had five 1,000 yard seasons.  He won Rookie of the Year honors and was selected to 2 Pro Bowls.  After he was traded to the Giants he helped New York win 2 Super Bowls.

St Louis/Los Angeles Rams – Eric Dickerson:  This was an easy one to pick.  Even though the Rams have had some impressive runners like Marshall Faulk and Steven Jackson; Dickerson is the best.  As a rookie he had 1,808 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns.  In 1984 he set a record that still stands today by rushing for 2,105 yards in a single season.  Dickerson was a pure runner who made it look easy and even though he played for other teams he will be considered the best Rams runner of all-time.

San Francisco 49ers – Frank Gore: There have been numerous 49er runners that could have been the best but in my eyes there is none better than Gore.  Gore has been a constant threat for the 49ers since he came into the league in 2005.  He has had six 1,000 yard seasons and he is an excellent pass catcher as well.  He is the franchise rushing leader and has 51 career rushing touchdowns.  He is a powerful runner that will run you over, but has the agility to run around you.

Seattle Seahawks – Shaun Alexander:  Not only did he had five straight 1,000 yard seasons, he was a touchdown machine.  In 2005 he had 1,880 rushing yards and an NFL record 28 touchdowns.  He was plagued with injuries which cut his career short, but he still managed to have 9,429 rushing yards and was selected to 3 Pro Bowls.