NFL Rushing TD Leaders By Year—1980s
Before fantasy football became big business, running backs were not often cracking the 20-touchdown mark. In the ‘80s, it only happened twice, and in two seasons the leader(s) had 11 TDs. Here is a list of those leaders by year in the 1980s:
1989-Greg Bell, Los Angeles Rams (15)
Running back Greg Bell played parts of eight seasons with three different teams, and during his tenure with the Rams, Bell led the NFL in rushing touchdowns twice, in 1988 and 1989. In 1989, Bell carried 272 times for 1137 yards and 15 TDs. He also had 19 receptions for 85 yards out of the backfield.
1988-Greg Bell, Los Angeles Rams (16)
In 1988, Greg Bell led the league in rushing TDs for the first of two straight seasons. Bell carried 288 times for 1212 yards and 16 touchdowns, and added another 124 yards receiving with 2 more TDs.
1987-Johnny Hector, New York Jets (11); Charles White, Los Angeles Rams (11)
Though he only played in 11 games in 1987, Jets' running back Johnny Hector shared the NFL lead in rushing touchdowns with the Rams' Charles White, with 11. Hector carried 111 times for just 435 yards, and added 32 receptions for 249 yards out of the backfield. Meanwhile, White carried 324 times, and led the league in rushing with 1374 yards and the 11 TDs. He also caught 23 passes for another 121 yards.
1986-George Rogers, Washington Redskins (18)
George Rogers had a pretty successful, albeit brief seven-year career with the Saints and Redskins. In 1986, Rogers led the NFL with 18 rushing TDs, carrying 303 times for 1203 yards. Five years earlier, Rogers led the NFL with 1674 rushing yards while with New Orleans.
1985-Joe Morris, New York Giants (21)
"Little" Joe Morris was one of the big cogs in the success of the 1986 Super Bowl Champion Giants. But it was the year before that Morris emerged as a force, leading the NFL with 21 rushing touchdowns, which to this day ranks fifth all-time for a single season. That year, Morris rushed 294 times for 1336 yards and the 21 TDs, and added 22 catches for 212 more yards.
1984-Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams (14); John Riggins, Washington Redskins (14)
The year after Washington's John Riggins broke the NFL record for rushing touchdowns with 24, he tied for the league lead with the Rams' Eric Dickerson, both with 14. Riggins carried 327 times for 1239 yards with the 14 TDs, and Dickerson broke the NFL record for rushing yards in a single season with 2105 (which still stands today) to go along with his 14 touchdowns. Dickerson also had 21 receptions for 139 more yards, and it was his second straight season leading the league in rushing yards.
1983-John Riggins, Washington Redskins (24)
John Riggins helped the Redskins reach the Super Bowl again in 1983, and in the process broke the NFL record for rushing touchdowns with 24. Riggins carried 375 times for a career high 1347 yards, and the 24 TDs.
1982-Marcus Allen, Los Angeles Raiders (11)
1982 was Marcus Allen's rookie season, and he would go on to have a great 16-year career. That season, Allen also led the NFL with 11 rushing touchdowns. He carried 160 times for 697 yards and the 11 TDs (in a strike shortened season), adding 38 receptions for another 401 yards and 3 TDs out of the backfield.
1981-Chuck Muncie, San Diego Chargers (19)
Chuck Muncie had a nice 10-year career with the Saints and Chargers, and in 1981 he led the NFL in rushing TDs with 19. Muncie carried 251 times that season for 1144 yards and the 19 TDs, and added 43 catches for another 362 yards as a receiver.
1980-Earl Campbell, Houston Oilers (13); Billy Sims, Detroit Lions (13)
Two great running backs of their time, Houston's Earl Campbell and Detroit's Billy Sims, led the NFL in rushing touchdowns with 13 each in 1980. Campbell led for the second straight year, and it was his third consecutive season leading the league in rushing yards. He carried 373 times for 1934 yards and the 13 touchdowns. Sims, meanwhile, was in his rookie year and carried 313 times for 1303 yards and the 13 TDs. He also added 51 catches for 621 yards and 3 more TDs out of the backfield.