ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Ten Best Running Backs Ever to Grace Planet Earth

Updated on July 1, 2016

Gale Sayers

Awesome. Breath-taking. Poetry in motion. Record six touchdowns in a single game; record 22 rookie-year touchdowns. Most gifted and awe-inspiring runner with the football anyone has ever seen with human eyes. Suffered a devastating knee injury which retired runners of his time (backs return in less than a calendar year thanks to modern medicine/surgical acumen), yet Sayers rehabbed his injuries and reinvented himself as a grind-it-out work-horse back. (Movie Brian’s Song memorialized Sayers’ comeback and relationship with fullback Brian Piccolo, who died of cancer.)

Jim Brown

Superman. Widely regarded as the most dominant football player in history (best lacrosse player to boot). Rose slowly and plodded back to the huddle after every single carry so that no one knew when he was slowed by injury. Stayed after-hours to sneak in trainer's room so even teammates would never witness his bodily-armor chinked. Retired at the height of his powers after only nine incredible seasons (role in Dirty Dozen, plus a bit of spite).

Walter Payton

Sweetness: Football player. Could block, catch, even throw when called upon. Relentless runner. Fought for every single yard, and with super-human abilities when near the goal line. Heart. Walter Payton Award is awarded annually to the player exhibiting best community outreach.

Barry Sanders

Ungraspability. Sayers clone with durability. Most exciting one-yard runs in history. Set NCAA record book aflame (once Thurman Thomas departed for the NFL). Retired in his prime like Jimmy Brown, foregoing within-reach rushing record.

OJ Simpson

Unfortunate.

Red Grange

The first great back. When Grange roamed the gridiron, the college game was the cat’s pajamas - no one cared a lick about professional football. The Galloping Ghost was such a transcendent star at the University of Illinois that he barnstormed the country after his college career before finally bringing credibility, and a much-needed spotlight, to professional football and the Chicago Bears.

Marshall Faulk

Evolutionary apex. Among the elite runners in league history and a Pro Bowl-level wide receiver in one magnificent package.

Marcus Allen

Like Payton before, Allen deserves the best compliment of all: football player. Graceful runner. Nose for the end zone. Selfless: switched to fullback when a guy named Bo came to Los Angeles.

Eric Dickerson

Speed/size combo with durability. Upright, one-cut runner. Batman of running backs (eye goggles, shoulder roll, elbow pads, forearm sleeves…).

Bo Jackson

Did someone say speed/size combo? Football was but an off-season hobby for this fabled behemoth of yore. Bo Jackson belongs on the Mount Rushmore of Athletes of the Twentieth Century, perhaps human history. Chuck Norris in cleats. Dos Equis’ Interesting Man in shoulder pads. Mythical figure who was, like Sayers, a fleeting star whose feats of excellence must’ve been seen to be believed.

Honorable Mentions: LaDainian Tomlinson, Adrian Peterson, Emmitt Smith, Tony Dorsett, Earl Campbell, Marion Motley, Doak Walker, Hugh McElhenny, Roger Craig, Herschel Walker

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)