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best runningback in NFL history


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who's the best?  

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  1. 1. who's the best?

    • Jim Brown
    • Walter Payton
    • Eric Dickerson
      0
    • Earl Campbell
    • Emmit Smith
      0
    • Curtis Martin
    • Barry Sanders
    • Marshall Faulk
    • L.T.
    • other


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That's my argument for Earl Campbell. Bum Phillips didn't have a playbook; hand it to Earl, let him run some defensive guys over, line it up and keep doing it. They knew it was coming, and in his prime he couldn't be stopped. It took a BS call (which led directly to replay) vs. the Steelers to deny him a Super Bowl. But that kind of use took a toll, and he was done very quickly. Still, if pure dominance is the criteria, Campbell was far and away the most dominant, if only for a short time.

Campbell was incredible. I will never forget that goal line TD against the Raiders where Jack Tatum hit Campbell with everything he had. Tatum hit the deck after the contact. Campbell just absorbed it, spun around and fell into the endzone. Tatum hit like a demolition ball. No other runningback could have done that. I remember seeing it live and not believing what I just saw.

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Huh?

I still have no idea how that rumor got started. Sanders pretty much ALWAYS played with a solid OL.

Amazing as he was, he also used to lead the league in carries for lost-yardage virtually every season.

That's cause he was always getting hit in the backfield because of the O line! You just said it yourself!

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That's my argument for Earl Campbell. Bum Phillips didn't have a playbook; hand it to Earl, let him run some defensive guys over, line it up and keep doing it. They knew it was coming, and in his prime he couldn't be stopped. It took a BS call (which led directly to replay) vs. the Steelers to deny him a Super Bowl. But that kind of use took a toll, and he was done very quickly. Still, if pure dominance is the criteria, Campbell was far and away the most dominant, if only for a short time.

It's not the most dominent rb, or best short time rb. It's best rb of all time, yes Earl was amazing but he definately was not the best of all time!

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Campbell by the numbers-

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/C/CampEa00.htm

Sayers-

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/S/SayeGa00.htm

No knock on Sayers, but there's no way you can tout him given a 7-year career and then discount Campbell's superior RB numbers over a slightly longer effective career(by the time he was dealt to the Saints, he was done). Sayers' return numbers are great, but not quite the "Forrest Gump at Bama" stuff some people would suggest it is.

Awright-what masochists voted for Curtis the Compiler?

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I've seen every RB on that list. There's Jim Brown, and the rest

Guy was that good. Stats don't tell the story. Brown just took over a game

Brown also changed the game kind of the same way Lawrence Taylor did at the LB position. He was the first real physical power back.

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Campbell by the numbers-

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/C/CampEa00.htm

Sayers-

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/S/SayeGa00.htm

No knock on Sayers, but there's no way you can tout him given a 7-year career and then discount Campbell's superior RB numbers over a slightly longer effective career(by the time he was dealt to the Saints, he was done). Sayers' return numbers are great, but not quite the "Forrest Gump at Bama" stuff some people would suggest it is.

Awright-what masochists voted for Curtis the Compiler?

i voted for barry but what makes the person that voted for curtis a masochist lol

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That's cause he was always getting hit in the backfield because of the O line! You just said it yourself!

I don't believe that's the reason for one minute. Sanders, because he could do things no one else could, frequently took his first steps laterally one way & then back again instead of forward for the sure 2-3 yard gain.

This notion that every time he was handed the ball he was met in the backfield by 3 defenders within 1 second is bullsh*t. He got tackled behind the line so much because he danced around behind the line so much.

Getting pulled in so many short-yardage & goal-line situations also beefed up his (already stellar) ypc numbers.

He played with some great OLmen in front of him & those were balanced with mostly solid (even if not great) veterans, without tremendous year-to-year turnover. Even though he only had a few seasons with a decent passer, most years were with some of the league's better receivers (statistically anyway) like Moore & Perriman & Morton. The nonsense about no threat of passing; his first few years the base formation had 4 WR's to keep an extra linebacker (or two) off the field & away from Barry & open up wider running lanes by spreading the defense deeper.

The guy was amazing & probably the best open-field runner I ever saw. But no need to make crap up to make him even better.

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Having seen every one of the running backs listed I don't believe any could compare to Jim Brown. The only one who could take him down man to man was Sam Huff, the Giant MLB and his sole assignment during the matchups was to stay with Brown. If Brown went to the bathroom Huff was there to hand him a towel (ok-i cleaned it up). !000 yards a year when the season was 12 games.

Sanders gain his yardage on the big play-he was stopped at or behind the line probably half the time and was replaced on short yardage. Brown had a fullback's body and halfback speed he could run through or around you inside or out and quit at his peak.

Sweetness was probably second but unfortunately i did not see him as much as Brown. cable was not showing all the games back then.

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I don't believe that's the reason for one minute. Sanders, because he could do things no one else could, frequently took his first steps laterally one way & then back again instead of forward for the sure 2-3 yard gain.

This notion that every time he was handed the ball he was met in the backfield by 3 defenders within 1 second is bullsh*t. He got tackled behind the line so much because he danced around behind the line so much.

Getting pulled in so many short-yardage & goal-line situations also beefed up his (already stellar) ypc numbers.

He played with some great OLmen in front of him & those were balanced with mostly solid (even if not great) veterans, without tremendous year-to-year turnover. Even though he only had a few seasons with a decent passer, most years were with some of the league's better receivers (statistically anyway) like Moore & Perriman & Morton. The nonsense about no threat of passing; his first few years the base formation had 4 WR's to keep an extra linebacker (or two) off the field & away from Barry & open up wider running lanes by spreading the defense deeper.

The guy was amazing & probably the best open-field runner I ever saw. But no need to make crap up to make him even better.

I'm not saying he was met everytime in the backfield. But when you take the handoff and the play calls for you to run through the 2 hole and your blocker doesn't open up the 2 hole for you, you have no choice but to move laterally.

and who are these "great" O lineman? can you name one? without looking it up? and how many pro bowls did they make? Yes I remember the 4 wr sets.

The one thing I remember about Barry is (and it happened against us) you can bottle him up all game and then boom in the late 3rd or 4th qtr he takes off for a 60 yd td run!

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I'm not saying he was met everytime in the backfield. But when you take the handoff and the play calls for you to run through the 2 hole and your blocker doesn't open up the 2 hole for you, you have no choice but to move laterally.

and who are these "great" O lineman? can you name one? without looking it up? and how many pro bowls did they make? Yes I remember the 4 wr sets.

The one thing I remember about Barry is (and it happened against us) you can bottle him up all game and then boom in the late 3rd or 4th qtr he takes off for a 60 yd td run!

Brown & Glover were perennial pro bowlers. And pro bowls aside, they were solid. Kareem McKenzie never made a pro bowl for us & never made one for the Giants. We all know he's as solid a run-blocker as there is at RT, pro bowl selection or not.

You're taking this the wrong way. Barry was amazing. But the notion that the Lions were just Barry Sanders and nobody else is utter nonsense.

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Sayers' return numbers are great, but not quite the "Forrest Gump at Bama" stuff some people would suggest it is.

Actually, they are. Sayers, in his shortened career, still has the longest YPC on kickoff returns of all time - 30.6. By comparison, Hester, a return specialist that some are saying will be the best ever, is 23.2. Sayers brought back 6 kickoffs for TDs in 91 attempts. That a percentage of 6.59% - the best ever. Hester's is pretty good at 6.35%. Tim Brown was 2.69%. Dante Hall was 1.54%. Brian Mitchell was 0.66%. Forrest Gump couldn't tie Sayers' shoes. For that matter, Forrest had trouble tying his own shoes. :)

I love both Campbell and Sayers and get more excited talking about their abilities than the career stat compiling of others. But keep in mind, Sayers' real prime was just 3 and 1/2 years (1965 to halfway thru the 1968 season). Even though he had a courageous comeback year in 1969 winning the rushing title after his devastating knee injury, he was not the same player. 1970 and 1971 were wastes as he reinjured his knee and barely played. So if you adjust his career rushing attempt of an already great 5.0 to just those prime years, it increases to 5.3. By comparison, Campbell's career average of 4.3 would not change much if you threw out his last couple of years. 5.3 vs 4.3 is a significant difference. I totally understand that there is more to evaluating RBs than just average, and you have to consider that Campbell got the ball in virtually every short yardage and goal line situation. The point is, Sayers, as a runner and overall offensive player in his prime, was rather special. Add to that that he was the most explosive RB as a receiver out of the backfield (Faulk was in a much more prolific passing offense and was certainly dangerous, but not Sayers dangerous), and probably the best kickoff and punt returner ever, he can't be dismissed because of an unfortunately shortened career as many do.

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Bo's hype was his athleticism. And it wasn't hype, he truly was incredibly athletic. I don't think i've ever seen another pure athlete on that level.

As for Barry, can anyone show me any footage of him blocking or being used for short yardage? Because when you say a Running BACK I think of those things too.

His O-line wasn't bad either. Those Detroit offenses were pretty damn good, two Pro Bowl level WRs didn't hurt. I don't think it was a foregone conclusion that Sanders would be the entire offense, he may have been what you had to worry about, but Moore and Perriman put up nice stats iirc. I think they were both 1k+ pretty much every year.

I never saw the top 4 guys in that poll play. I did see Emmitt play. So I have to go with Emmitt and just put an asterisk next to him because I don't know about these other guys at all. From what I heard though, OJ, Sayers, Brown, Dickerson and especially Payton were incredible backs.

When all is said and done, I think LT has the ability to be considered one of the best if not the best of all time. He's not near Bo jackson's ridiculous level, but LT is one hell of an athlete, probably the best in the NFL right now. He's also extremely talented football wise in multiple facets. He is probably a better QB than the two bozos we have now.

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Brown also changed the game kind of the same way Lawrence Taylor did at the LB position. He was the first real physical power back.

Actually, there were others before that were physical power backs.

John Henry Johnson, Alan Ameche, Joe "the Jet" Perry. I'm sure there were plenty of others, but those are the ones I remember.

Where Brown was special was the combination of speed, physicality, and toughness. He did have some faults, he was never a good blocker. But since he carried Cleveland's offense, there usually wasn't a need for him to block.

It's so hard to compare across eras. The game is completely different now. The only thing we can say in comparison, IMHO, is that a great back in any era probably would have been a great back in any other era. I shudder to think what Brown would be like in today's game with modern weight training methods, nutrition, and yes, PEDs. What he'd probably be is an offensive lineman, LOL.

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I just don't think Bo Jackson was on the same level as these backs. Sure he was a great athlete and we'll never know exactly how good he could have been, but he never even played a full season and I think he split carries will Allen for most if not all of his career. That gives him some of the Michael Turner/Lamont Jordan 2nd banana benefit. Herschel Walker was probably at least as good an athlete and he certainly isn't in this conversation. I understand people loving the guy, but I don't think watching him he ever amazed me like Barry, OJ, Payton or Campbell. Don't get me wrong, Bo could do some shocking things on a football field. OTOH, so could Okoye or the Pruitts, but I personally never felt like screaming holy **** and spitting Sunday's ribs out of mouth like I would with some of Campbells runs.

As for Sanders he played in an offense designed to pass and give him room to run. It wasn't the same kind of slam inside the tackle offense most of the others operated in.

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Bo's hype was his athleticism. And it wasn't hype, he truly was incredibly athletic. I don't think i've ever seen another pure athlete on that level.

As for Barry, can anyone show me any footage of him blocking or being used for short yardage? Because when you say a Running BACK I think of those things too.

His O-line wasn't bad either. Those Detroit offenses were pretty damn good, two Pro Bowl level WRs didn't hurt. I don't think it was a foregone conclusion that Sanders would be the entire offense, he may have been what you had to worry about, but Moore and Perriman put up nice stats iirc. I think they were both 1k+ pretty much every year.

I never saw the top 4 guys in that poll play. I did see Emmitt play. So I have to go with Emmitt and just put an asterisk next to him because I don't know about these other guys at all. From what I heard though, OJ, Sayers, Brown, Dickerson and especially Payton were incredible backs.

When all is said and done, I think LT has the ability to be considered one of the best if not the best of all time. He's not near Bo jackson's ridiculous level, but LT is one hell of an athlete, probably the best in the NFL right now. He's also extremely talented football wise in multiple facets. He is probably a better QB than the two bozos we have now.

My problem with Emmitt is he was on an all world team. even though he's the rushing leader it's hard to call him the greatest.

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My problem with Emmitt is he was on an all world team. even though he's the rushing leader it's hard to call him the greatest.

I hear you.

It's interesting, though. A QB needs to have multiple championships under his belt to be considered amongst the greatest at his position, while here those championships are being used against the player.

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It was hard to choose between Jim Brown and Barry Sanders, but I went with who I saw in my lifetime. Barry, without a doubt!!

I went with sanders for the same reason you did. I'm still shocked he left the game when he did. Still had plenty of gas in the tank.

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My problem with Emmitt is he was on an all world team. even though he's the rushing leader it's hard to call him the greatest.

He held out for 2 games one season. They went 0-2 and the players demanded they give in and just pay him. Now either everyone threw the game and they were REAL loyal to him (unlikely) or you can't just plug in any retard to get that production.

I mean I can see where you're coming saying he's not the greatest ever. That's cool. I haven't seen most of the guys on the list play and I'm pretty sure Payton or Brown are better just from what I heard about them. But Emmits gotta be a top 10 all time, do we agree on that much at least?

Also the reason why I take Emmitt over Barry is because Emmitt was just so much more complete. Barry was awesome, but if I need a TD, short yardage, or it's a passing down, Emmits the one I keep in.

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He held out for 2 games one season. They went 0-2 and the players demanded they give in and just pay him. Now either everyone threw the game and they were REAL loyal to him (unlikely) or you can't just plug in any retard to get that production.

I mean I can see where you're coming saying he's not the greatest ever. That's cool. I haven't seen most of the guys on the list play and I'm pretty sure Payton or Brown are better just from what I heard about them. But Emmits gotta be a top 10 all time, do we agree on that much at least?

Also the reason why I take Emmitt over Barry is because Emmitt was just so much more complete. Barry was awesome, but if I need a TD, short yardage, or it's a passing down, Emmits the one I keep in.

I respect your analysis. I don't think you can just plug anybody in and get Emmit's production. OTOH, I don't think anybody that had seen them all wouldn't expect better production in every regard from OJ, Payton or Brown. My feeling about Emmit is this: IMO, if there were a draft of all the players from all time (say for you Madden fans) Emmit would not be in the top 5 backs picked, but if you could load up on other positions and end up with Emmit at RB you'd be very content.

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He held out for 2 games one season. They went 0-2 and the players demanded they give in and just pay him. Now either everyone threw the game and they were REAL loyal to him (unlikely) or you can't just plug in any retard to get that production.

I mean I can see where you're coming saying he's not the greatest ever. That's cool. I haven't seen most of the guys on the list play and I'm pretty sure Payton or Brown are better just from what I heard about them. But Emmits gotta be a top 10 all time, do we agree on that much at least?

Also the reason why I take Emmitt over Barry is because Emmitt was just so much more complete. Barry was awesome, but if I need a TD, short yardage, or it's a passing down, Emmits the one I keep in.

I'm not saying he wasn't good, sort of agree with dominator if he wound up on my team I'd be happy.

And with Barry you didn't have to worry about short yardage, he'd score from 40 out! (just kidding, calm down!)

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is it to early to say Adrian Peterson??? LOL. if he stays healthy, who knows what kind of #'s this kid will put up. but jim brown gets my vote. the guy was basically a force of nature.

ps as amazing as barry sanders "highlight runs" were, he flat out got caught behind the line way to much. that kinda stuff leads to a lotta 3 & outs. if he had played on the jets he would have drove me nuts.

pss i not dumb enough not to know he's an all time great. but i would have chosen more than a handful of all time great backs for the jets. hell, i would have taken Terrell Davis of barry. i'm just sayin...

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