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New England Patriots’ All-Time Rushing TD Leaders
The Patriots have been a pro franchise since 1960 when they were the AFL’s Boston Patriots. They merged into the NFL in 1970 and to Foxboro in 1971 when they were renamed the New England Patriots. The team has a winning tradition, winning 3 of 6 Super Bowl appearances as I write this in 2011. They also have mostly been known for their passing game, thanks in large part to Tom Brady, but the Patriots have always just been a solid offensive team. Here is a short list of the Patriots’ all-time leaders to date in rushing touchdowns:
Jim Nance (45)—Jim Nance played for the Patriots from 1965 to 1970, and he still ranks first in team history with 45 rushing touchdowns. Nance was a first team All pro in both 1966 and 1967, and 1966 was probably his best season. That year, he had career highs in rushing yards (1458), and rushing TDs (11); adding 8 catches for another 103 yards. The rushing yards and touchdowns also led the AFL that season.
Sam Cunningham (43)—Sam “Bam” Cunningham played his entire career for the Patriots, from 1973 to 1982 and ranks second in franchise history with 43 rushing touchdowns. Cunningham had a career best 9 rushing scores in 1974, but his best season was arguably 1977, when he posted career highs in both rushing yards (1015) and receiving yards (370 on 42 catches), despite just 5 total touchdowns.
Corey Dillon (37)—Corey Dillon played for the Patriots only three seasons, from 2004 to 2006, and he ranks third in team history with 37 rushing TDs. Dillon had a career high 13 rushing touchdowns in 2006, but his best overall season was probably 2004, when Dillon made the Pro Bowl as a Patriot (he made it three times with the Bengals). That year, Dillon had a career high in rushing yards (1635), with 12 rushing scores, and another TD as a receiver, tying his career best of 13 total TDs.
Steve Grogan (35)—Steve Grogan, of course, was a quarterback, but since he played in New England for 16 years (1975 through 1990, his only team), Grogan racked up 35 career rushing touchdowns, which ranks him fourth in Patriots’ history. Grogan had his best season as a rusher in 1976, when he had 397 rushing yards and a career high 12 rushing scores. But in 1979, Grogan had career highs in passing yards (3286) and passing TDs (28, led the NFL).
Tony Collins (32)—Tony Collins played for the Patriots most of his career, from 1981 to 1987, and he ranks fifth in franchise history with 32 rushing touchdowns. Collins had arguably his best season in 1983, the lone year he made the Pro Bowl. That year, Collins had career highs in rushing yards (1049) and rushing touchdowns (10); adding 27 catches for 257 yards.
Curtis Martin (32)—Curtis Martin played for the Patriots from 1995 to 1997, and ranks tied for fifth in team history with Collins with 32 rushing TDs. Martin tied a career high twice while in New England, posting 14 rushing scores in both 1995 and 1996, helping the Pats reach the Super Bowl in 1996.