Runningbacks are a huge part of the game, and are the next part of my Big 5 series. The way I see it, there are 2 types of runningbacks: speedsters and bruisers, bruisers like Walter Payton or Jim Brown, speedsters like Barry Sanders and Chris Johnson of today. Then there are the Bo Jacksons that had that perfect blend (his career was unfortunately prematurely ended by the Bengals. Otherwise, he would be on this list). This position has changed over the years, but the job remains the same. Here are my Top-5 best at the runningback position.
5. Emmitt Smith (Dallas Cowboys)
This man was one of what I like to call the Big 3 in Big D in the 1990s. As a member of the Dallas Cowboys, Smith won 3 Super Bowls, as well as shattering the record for rushing yards, which still holds today. Along his was, he managed to put up 11(!) straight 1000 yard seasons. He was also a threat out of the backfield, ending his career with over 3000 receiving yards.
4. Marshall Faulk (St. Louis Rams)
He is the runningback of The Greatest Show on Turf, or for those of you new to football, the Super Bowl winning 1999 St. Louis Rams. That offense was epic to watch, and he was a huge part of it, probably the biggest. He had a good mix of power and speed, which is rare in a runningback. He currently has a bust in Canton.
3. Jim Brown (Cleveland Browns)
For the younger fans reading this, the Browns used to be a highly successful franchise, believe it or not, and a huge part of it was Jim Brown. Many consider him the greatest RB of all time. He was a freakish athlete that still has the Browns franchise single season record for rush yards at 1,863. That was set in 1963. He posted 1000+ yard seasons 7 times, which included three 1500+ yard seasons.
2. Walter Payton (Chicago Bears)
He is another one considered as the greatest runningback to ever play the position, and for good reason. He posted ten 1000 yard seasons, and it could have been 11 consecutive, but there was the shortened 1982 season. Still, that is a very daunting feat.