For fun, I am listing my picks for each teams best backfields. Of course there is room for debate. Please include yourself in it. (Note: Houston Texans are not on this list)
FB: William Andrews - Easy choice. He did it all during the Gritz Blitz days. One of the finer pass catching fullbacks to play the game. A good blocker who ran for many yards as well in one back sets. A knee injury cut his career short.
HB: Jamal Anderson - Gerald Riggs is a close second for the monster years he had, but Jamal put the team on his back and danced "The Dirty Bird" to a Super Bowl. Both ran between the tackles and were extremely hard to tackle, especially in the 4th quarter.
FB: Ernie Nevers - Once scored 6 TD's and kicked 4 extra points in one game for 40 points, a record that still stands. Nevers was an excellent athlete who also pitched in the Majors. Nevers was player/ coach of the Cards. Was with them as a player for 3 seasons and was All NFL each season. Larry Centers was the top receiving fullback in his era. Centers was a sound blocker and decent runner. Centers was named to two Pro Bowls as a Card. In 1995, Centers caught 101 passes, an NFL record for running backs. Centers played with the Cards for 9 seasons. He rushed for 1,736 yards total and caught 535 passes, and scored 29 TD's. Jim Otis was second in career rushing yards per game at Ohio State to Archie Griffin and was named to the schools All Century Team. Otis was named to the 1975 Pro Bowl after having his best season in his career. Otis gained 1,076 yards that season. A very good lead blocker too. Otis played for the Cardinals for 6 seasons. He gained 3,408 yards with 23 TD's.
HB: Ollie Matson - Amazing athlete who won a Silver and Bronze medal at the 1952 Summer Games, then went on to share the 1952 NFL Rookie of the Year Award. Matson was the 1955 Pro Bowl MVP. Matson played with the Cards for 6 years. He returned 6 kickoffs and 3 punts for touchdowns. Matson ended up rushing for 3,332 yards with 130 receptions for 2,150 yards and 40 TD's. Charley Trippi is a Hall of Famer who was a halfback his first 4 seasons before manning quarterback for 2 seasons. He returned to halfback one more season before switching to defense for the rest of his career. His rookie year, in 1947, he led the Cards to a win over the Eagles in the Championship 28-21. Playing on an icy field in Chicago, Charley wore basketball shoes for better traction and totaled 206 yards, including 102 yards on two punt returns. He scored touchdowns on a 44-yard run and a 75-yard punt return. Trippi rushed for over 3,500 yards and scored 53 TD's. Terry Metcalf was a versatile, slick back who was the first player in NFL history to average at least 30 yards per kick return and 10 yards per punt return in the same season. In a 14 game season in 1975, Metcalf set a then-NFL record for combined yards with 2,462. Metcalf played 5 seasons with the Cards and rushed for 3,438 yards with 38 TD's. He made 3 Pro Bowl teams. Ottis Anderson was the 1979 Rookie of the Year. He spent just over 7 seasons with the Cards and was an excellent receiver too. "OJ" gained over 1,000 yards in 5 of his first six seasons. Anderson gained 8,000 yards rushing and 2,490 yards receiving. He caught 299 passes and scored 51 TD's. John David Crow ran for over 1,000 yards in 1960 with a YPC average of 5.9. He also caught 25 passes at an average of 18.5 yards per catch, and scored 8 TD's total. Finished his career as a 49er as part of the "Million Dollar Backfield" with Y.A. Tittle, Joe Perry, and Hugh McElhenny.
FB: Sam Gash - The Ravens got him in the latter stages of his career, but Sam still opened holes wide enough for an 18 wheeler to get through untouched. Under rated receiver as well.
HB: Jamal Lewis - Priest Holmes was exciting as a Raven before he was spectacular in KC, but Jamal was THE Man day 1 and the offense many days and it didn't matter if you put 9 in the box either.
FB: Jim Braxton - An honorary member of The Electric Company. He was OJ's personal protector and one of the best blocking backs of his era. He developed into a great runner too when in 1975 season he rushed for 823 yards and nine touchdowns. He also caught 26 passes for 282 yards and 4 touchdowns. His nine rushing touchdowns was 8th in the league, and his 13 all-purpose scores was 5th. Cookie Gilchrest gets a mention because he was the AFL'S first 1,000 yard back, and had a game where he gained 243 yards (a record until OJ broke it) with 5 TD's. He also was a place kicker in his 2 seasons as a Bill.
HB: OJ Simpson - Buffalo has a very rich tradition of excellent half backs. Joe Cribbs had a great career! Kenneth Davis and Roland Hooks were excellent. Travis Henry went to the Pro Bowl a few times. Terry Miller had a great rookie year in 1978 before injuries befell him in his second season. Many will vote for Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas as the best half back ever in Buffalo. He could do it all on the field and was a major reason the Bills went to 4 straight Super Bowls. The reason I pick the Juice is not because he had 2,000 yards in only 14 games, nor because he gained 277 yards in one game. I picked him because he did those things with every opponent focused on just him. He came out of USC a legend and was the #1 pick overall. That target on his back always. He was the Bills only hope of winning for many years.
FB: Brad Hoover - Versatile. Made a name for himself on special teams as well.
HB: Fred Lane - This young team is knownfor defense in their brief history. Lane was their first go to guy and did a great job until personal problems led to his untimely murder.
FB: Bronko Nagurski - Still considered the Greatest Fullback in NFL History today. Nagurski was also a fierce linebacker. Bronco is forever known for his bone rattling blocks, and ended up rushing for over 2,700 yards in his career (stats were not exact in that era) and 25 TD's in nine seasons. Retired after his eighth season, then played one more season over six years later. Roland Harper was a 17th round draft pick in 1975. He was an hard runner who piled up many yards early in his seven year career while blocking for Walter Payton. His best year came in 1979, when Harper rushed for 992 yards, while catching 42 passes and compiling 8 TD's. He blew his knee out in 1980 and was out of the NFL after the '82 season. Totaled over 3,000 yards rushing and 18 TD's. Matt Suhey is best known as Harpers replacement and was an excellent blocker for Payton. Suhey rushed for over 2,900 yards in his ten year career and was a fine receiver. Suhey totaled 26 TD's in his career as a Bear.
HB: Walter Payton - "Sweetness". Many consider him the best running back to ever play the game. There was nothing he couldn't do well. The heart and desire in Payton was immeasurable. A true icon not just in Chicago, but for the NFL. Rushed for over 16,700 yards, caught 492 passes for over 4,500 yards and scored 125 TD's in 13 seasons. Gale Sayers is considered the greatest open field running back in football history. Sayers lasted 7 seasons before knee injuries stopped him. He was named to four Pro Bowls and was the games MVP three times. Sayers was the entire Bears offensive attack and was spectacular on special teams too. Carried the ball only 4 times his last 2 seasons. Sayers returned 6 kicks and 2 punts for TD's and scored 48 running and receiving. Sayers ended up with over 4,900 yards rushing at a 5.0 YPC average. George "One Play" McAfee played eight seasons, losing 4 of them after his second season. McAfee compiled 42 TD's total in his Hall of Fame career. Red Grange was dubbed "The Galloping Ghost" and was the NFL's first superstar. Beattie Feathers was the first running back in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.
FB: Icky Woods - Everyone was doing "The Icky Shuffle" his magical rookie year, in which Woods gained over 1,000 yards. A knee injury ended his career just 2 seasons later. Pete Johnson was a huge fullback often used in goal line situations.
HB: James Brooks - Mr. Versatile ran, caught and returned kickoffs and punts for 3 seasons in San Diego before the Bengals stole him. He is still in the Bengals top 10 in receptions and second in rushing. Went to 4 Pro Bowls. Paul Robinson was the Bengals first 1,000 yard back in the AFL, and Corey Dillon can easily be considered the best Bengals halfback too. He ran with speed and power as he became the Bengals all time rushing leader.
FB: Marion Motley - Ranked #32 on TSN's 100 Greatest Football Players, Motley play linebacker too. A combination of power and grace, Motley was THE running game in Cleveland as the Browns seemingly won championship yearly during his career. Mike Pruitt gained 1,000 yards four seasons and was half of the "Do It Pruitt" backfield.
HB: Jim Brown - Many call him the greatest football player of all time. Brown could have played any position he wanted to at Hall of Fame capability. Would routinely carry 2-3 (or more) guys on his back as he ran full speed to the goal line. Powerful, fast and graceful with the undefeatable spirit of a winner. Bobby Mitchell, Leroy Kelly, Dub Jones, Greg Pruitt, Ernest Byner, and Eric Metcalf all had stellar careers as well. Mitchell and Kelly are in the Hall of Fame with Motley and Brown.
FB: Robert Newhouse - Newhouse had the speed of a halfback with the power of a fullback. He had great hands and was an excellent blocker. Often overlooked, but an exceptional player. Darryl Johnston was a good blocking back with above average receiving skills. Walt Garrison was tough around the goal line. Darrell Johnston was versatile, and tough.
HB: Tony Dorsett - TD and Emmit Smith both had great blocking with Hall of Fame quarterbacks to throw to Hall of Fame receiver, so no team could crowd the line or focus on the run game. Smith may temporarily have the most yards rushing for a career due to longevity, but TD was more explosive and exciting and versatile.
FB: Howard Griffith - Paved the way for Terrell Davis during the Super Bowl winning era.
HB: Terrell Davis - Was a major force for a few years and was the reason Elway got his ring. Otis Armstrong, Floyd Little and Sammy Winder all had fine careers in Denver.
FB: Dexter Bussey - Started out as a halfback and still ranks 3rd all time on the franchises rushing yards list. Moved to fullback when Billy Sims was drafted. A powerful runner with nice pass catching ability. Consistent. Robert Hoernschemeyer was a short yardage specialist and fine receiver.
HB: Barry Sanders - Never seemed to get hit cleanly. Sanders was one of the most elusive half backs to ever play the game. Retired young, yet still ranks 3rd all time in yards rushing in NFL history. Billy Sims was spectacular before a knee injury ended his career early. Doak Walker has a trophy named after him for best college running back. Dutch Clark and Byron "Whizzer" White both led the Lions in rushing. Altie Taylor was 5 '10 188, but played FB, HB and WR in the 1970's in Detroit.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
FB: Jim Taylor - The physical runner was the staple of the Packers offense. Taylor was named to five straight Pro Bowls and was the 1962 NFL MVP. Taylor is the franchises all time leader in rushing yards with 8,593, while scoring 83 TD's at a 4.4 YPC average in his nine years. Clarke Hinkle, like Taylor, is in the NFL Hall of Fame. Hinkle spent his entire ten year career in Green Bay. Hinkle rushed for over 3,200 yards and scored 42 TD's.
HB: Tony Canadeo - "The Gray Ghost" was the first Packer to rush for 1,000 yards, and the 3rd in NFL history. His versatility led him to throw, catch and defend as well. He missed one season of his ten year career due to WWII. Canadeo ended up rushing for 4,700 yards and was in on 47 TD's. His number is retired and he is in the NFL Hall of Fame. Paul Hornung was dubbed "The Golden Boy" in his NFL Hall of Fame career. Hornung rushed for over 3,700 yards and scored 66 TD's. He also handled kicking duties and led the NFL in scoring several times. Johnny "Blood" McNally played in an era before stats were kept, from 1929-36 he led the Packers to 4 championships. A speedy half back with excellent receiving skills, he is in the NFL Hall of Fame. John Brockington was a 1,000 workhorse on some mediocre teams.
FB: Alan Ameche - The Horse will forever be known for scoring the winning TD in "The Greatest Game Ever Played" versus the NY Giants. The 1955 Rookie of the Year made the Pro Bowl in his first four seasons in a career that ended after six due to a neck injury.
HB: Edgerrin James - Edge left the Colts as their all time leader in rushing yards and TD's. Known for his versatility and can catch the ball equally well as running it. Lydell Mitchell topped 1,000 three straight seasons, he also led the NFL in receptions twice as well. He was almost their entire offense. Lenny Moore was as deadly catching the ball as running. Joe Washington was traded for Mitchell from San Diego in 1978. In that season he led the NFL with 82 receptions for 750 yards, and had 242 carries for 884 yards and seven TD's. Tom Matte was also 3rd string QB who posted career stats of 4,646 rushing yards, 249 receptions for 2,869 yards, 1,367 yards returning kickoffs, and 57 touchdowns. Marshall Faulk gained over 1,000 yards rushing in 3 of his 4 seasons as a Colt before being traded to St. Louis for a pick that turned out to be Edgerrin James.
FB: Daimon Shelton - A big blocking back who started his career as a Jaguar.
HB: Fred Taylor - Taylor is one of the most over looked great backs ever. Has amassed over 10,000 yards rushing so far without a Pro Bowl nod. He gets to go to his first game this year due to injury. Taylor is a solid blocker, having been a fullback in college, and excellent receiver. James Stewart had a few good seasons as a reserve before becoming a 1,000 yard back in Detroit. Maurice Jones-Drew is young and exciting, like the Jaguars franchise thus far.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
FB: Mack Lee Hill - Undrafted free agent made the AFL All Star game his rookie year. Had 627 yards rushing after the 12th game of his second season when he hurt his knee. He died on the operating table two days after that 12th game. Tony Richardson started out as a short yardage back before becoming a full time fullback. Good blocker for Holmes.
HB: Christian Okoye - The Nigerian Nightmare was almost impossible to tackle at 6 '3 260 lbs with speed and grace. Overcame one knee injury to post another 1,000 yard season in 1991, but his knee gave out and he retired in 1993. The seasons Priest Holmes had in KC were memorable, even if the team wasn't that good. Mike Garrett was a speedy half back on the Super Bowl winning team. Ed Podolak was a superb all around player who did everything for the Chiefs. Curtis McClinton and Abner Haynes split carries and catches from the Dallas Texans to the KC Chiefs. Joe Delaney broke four single season rushing records in 1981 and rushed for 1,121 yards while being voted to the Pro Bowl. He was hurt much of 1982. Just before training camp in 1983, Delaney heard the cries of three young boys drowning in a pond. Delaney could not swim but jumped in anyway in an attempt to save them. He managed to save one six year old boy before drowning along with the other two kids.
FB: Larry Czonka - One of the most feared runners of the 1970's. Czonka rarely fumbled or dropped a pass and was a great blocker. Named #10 in NFL Films 100 Toughest Players of All Time. He was the leader of the Dolphins dynasty years and perfect team. Zonk jumped to the ill fated WFL in 1975. He went to the Giants from 76-78 and was considered washed up. He returned to Miami in 1979 and ran for over 800 yards and scored a career high 12 TD's to be named Comeback Player Of The Year. Czonka then retired.
HB: Mercury Morris - In 1972, Morris and Czonka became the first tandem to both rush for 1,000 yards in a season and just missed repeating it the next. Morris was blazing fast with a nose for the end zone. Tony Nathan was a top notch pass receiving back during the Marino era. Abdul-Karim al-Jabbar ran for 27 TD's his first 2 seasons, leading the NFL with 15 in 1997. From 2002-03, Ricky Williams rushed for over 3,200 yards, caught 97 passes and scored 27 TD's.
FB: Chuck Foreman - Was the featured back as half back Brent McClanahan did the lead blocking. Foreman had 3 straight seasons rushing for 1,000+ yards and scored a then NFC record 22 Touchdowns in 14 games during the 1975 campaign. During that same season, he also led the NFL in receptions with 73, a record for receptions by a running back then. Foreman amassed 51 touchdowns over a 3 year span.
HB: Robert Smith - In eight NFL seasons, Smith rushed for 6818 yards and 32 touchdowns, along with 178 receptions for 1,292 yards and 6 touchdowns. Smith's finest year as a pro came in the 2000, leading the NFC in rushing with 1,521 yards. He retired at the end of the season, despite being at the peak of his career. Bill Brown made 4 Pro Bowls over a 5 year span and ranks third all time in rushing yardage and total yardage in franchise history. Brown was a bruising runner with excellent receiving skills. Ted Brown rushed for over 1,000 yards and caught 83 passes in 1981 and remained an top receiver for years on the team. Ricky Young caught 224 passes in a 3 year stretch, leading the NFL in 1978. Darrin Nelson was a fast half back with excellent receiving skills as well.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
FB: Jim Nance - Still holds the franchise record for career rushing touchdowns with 45. The only AFL player to ever rush for over 1,400 yards. Followed that with a 1,200 yard season. Bruising runner with decent speed. Sam "The Bam" Cunningham gained over 1,000 yards rushing in 1977 to go with 42 catches. He made the Pro Bowl in 1978. Cunningham finished his ten year career with 5,453 rushing yards, 210 receptions for 1,905 yards, and 49 touchdowns.
HB: Antowain Smith - Smith had been a 1,000 yard back in Buffalo, but fell out of favor with the staff. He revived his career in New England by gaining 1,157 and 12 TD's in the leading the Patriots to it's first championship. He followed that with 982 yards. His 3rd and final year he got hot in the playoffs on his way to a 2nd Super Bowl. John Stevens had a All Pro rookie year, then injuries shortened his career. Craig James ran for over 1,200 yards in 1985, leading the team to a Super Bowl. Robert Edwards had over 1,000 his 1998 rookie year then blew his knee out during the off season. He attempted a comeback four years later in Miami, lasting one season. He then resurfaced in the CFL to play with his brother in 2005 and ran for over 1,000 yards in each of his first 2 seasons.
NEW YORK GIANTS
FB: Alphonse Leemans - In his 8 seasons, Tuffy Leemans was named to either 1st or 2nd team All NFL. and led the Jints to contend for the title yearly. Leemans career has stats in interceptions, punt returns, receptions and passing as well. Maurice Carthon came from the USFL to the Big Blue as soon as the league folded and ended up playing 45 football games in a year. He only missed 1 game in his 75 game Giant career. An exceptional blocker who used technique and intelligence.
HB: Tiki Barber - Barber rushed for 10,449 yards in ten seasons despite hardly contributing much his first three seasons. Barber also caught 586 passes. Barber did fumble 53 times, 35 in a four year span. Frank Gifford is a Hall of Famer who spent his first 10 seasons as a half back before switching to wide receiver after being knocked out of the league for over a year. He made the Pro Bowl as a halfback, defensive back and wide receiver. Ken Strong is a Hall of Famer who could do anything asked of him. The first big star in New York, Strong missed 5 years of his 14 year career due to serving in WWII.. Kyle Rote started out as a Pro Bowl halfback before moving to flanker. Hap Moran was a hard running half back who had a 91 yard TD run in 1930, then, in 1933, set a NFL record for yards receiving in a game. From 1985-86, Joe Morris ran for over 2,800 yards and scored 36 TD's. Rodney Hampton ran for over 1,000 yards in 5 of his 8 year Giants career.
NEW YORK JETS
FB: Matt Snell - Snell started out at Ohio State as a blocker, then moved to defensive end. He finished his collegiate career at fullback, but was named to Ohio States All Century Team as a defensive end. Snell ran for 945 yards his rookie year and was named AFL Rookie of the Year. He made two more All AFL teams before retiring to knee problems. Jerrald Sowell was a powerful blocking back who paved the way for Curtis Martin.
HB: Curtis Martin - Currently #4 All Time Yards Rushing, Martin is the All Time leader in the same category in the Jets franchise with 10,302. Martin was also an adept blocker and receiver. He had 484 receptions. Gained at least 1,000 yards ten seasons in a row. Freeman McNeil was a smooth runner who ran for over 8,000 yards in his 12 year Jets career. Averaged over 4 yards per carry each season. Johnny Hector split carries with McNeil for several seasons, scoring 11 rushing TD's in 1979, and amassed over 4,000 yards in his ten year career. Emerson Boozer had ten TD's halfway into his second season, when he blew out his knee. He returned a short yardage back, good receiver and bone crunching blocker. Boozer rushed for over 5,000 yards in his 10 year career with the Jets. Clark Gaines holds the team record for 17 catches in one game. John Riggins is known mostly for his seasons with the Redskins and his fro, then mohawk with the Jets, but he only made one Pro Bowl in his career, as a Jet. In 1975 Riggens gained over 1,000 yards for the Jets before jumping to the Redskins.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
FB: Tony Galbreath - Versatile player who could lead block, throw, run, catch and place kick. Galbreath spent 5 seasons as a Saint. He ended up with 2,765 yards rushing and 27 TD's to go with 284 receptions for 2221 yards and 6 TD's. Lorenzo Neal spent his first 4 years as a Saint, his longest stint with any team, and set his career highs in carries, receptions and had his longest run and reception too. One of the top blocking backs of the 90's.
HB: Deuce McAllister - Saints All Time rushing yardage leader despite basically missing 3 of his 7 seasons. Gained over 1,000 yards in the 4 seasons he's played. Powerful runner who is adept at picking holes with patience. Has 5,678 yards rushing with 48 TD's. George Rogers was the 1981 Rookie of the Year with 1,674 yards rushing on 378 carries and 13 TD's. He spent 4 seasons in the Big Easy, ending up with 5,411 yards rushing and 23 TD's. Chuck Muncie was a Saint for 4 seasons and went to one Pro Bowl, where he was the MVP. Muncie gained 3,393 yards rushing and had 125 receptions for 1,086 yards with 29 TD's. Reuben Mayes was the 1986 Rookie of the Year. Mayes spent 4 seasons in New Orleans. He gained 3,408 yards rushing with 23 TD's. Dalton Hilliard was with the Saints for 7 seasons. He made the Pro Bowl once. Hilliard gained 4,164 yards rushing and 249 receptions for 2,233 yards with 53 TD's.
FB: Mark van Eeghan - Rushed for over 1,000 yards three times in his eight years in Oakland. Gained over 1,200 yards in the Raiders Super Bowl year in 1977. Retired the All Time rushing yardage leader in franchise history with 5,907 yards. Marv Hubbard, like van Eeghan, attended Colgate University. Hubbard ended up grooming van Eeghan to replace him towards the end of his stellar career. Hubbard ran for 1,100 yards in 1972. He ended up with over 4,400 yards in his career, while toting a career YPC average of 4.8. Pete Banaszak scored 16 TD's in 1975, and amassed over 3,700 yards in his 13 year career as a Raider.
HB: Marcus Allen - Allen is #72 on TSN's Top 100 Players list. Allen was the 1982 Rookie of the Year and the 1985 NFL MVP, as well as Super Bowl XVIII MVP. Allen played 10 seasons with the Raiders. He rushed for over 9,000 yards while catching over 400 passes and scoring 100 TD's. Napolean Kaufman played 5 seasons before retiring to become a minister. In that time, he rushed for over 4,700 yards at a 4.8 YPC clip while splitting duties with Tyrone Wheatley. Wheatley came from the Giants and his career was revitalized in Oakland. Wheatley played six years and gained over 3,600 yards with 32 TD's. Clem Daniels was the Raiders first star. He was an AFL All Star from 1963-66. Daniels was TSN's 1963 AFL MVP and is on the AFL's All Time Team. Daniels amassed over 8,000 yards rushing and receiving along with 54 TD's in his career. Bo Jackson only played 38 games in his four seasons, due to his obligations to baseball. His impact was immediate. He had 3 TD runs of 88 yards or longer. He ran for 221 yards on Monday Night Football. He rushed over 2,700 yards with 16 TD's at a 5.4 YPC average before injury ended his career.
FB: Keith Byars - Byars spent six seasons in Philly. A effective blocker and superb receiver. In 1988 he rushed for 517 yards, recorded 71 receptions ( ranking him 9th in the NFL), and scored 10 touchdowns. He caught 82 passes two seasons later. Mike Hogan was a quick fullback who ran well and was a valuable receiver. Tom Woodeschick had a few big years on some bad teams both running and catching the ball.
HB: Steve Van Buren - Ranked #77 on TSN's 100 All Time Greatest Players list. Led the league in rushing 4 times in his career. Led the league in punt returns as a rookie. Rushed for over 5,800 yards and scored 77 TD's in eight seasons. Had to catch three trolleys and walk 12 blocks in a blizzard to play the 1948 NFL Championship game, where he ran for 197 yards and scored the games only touchdown. Wilbert Montgomery was a 6th round pick who played eight seasons as an Eagle, making two Pro Bowls. He rushed for over 6,500 yards and scored 58 TD's. Timmy Brown was a fast, versatile back on some bad teams. In 8 seasons as an Eagle, this 27th round draft pick scored 61 TD's. One of only 5 NFL players to have ever returned 2 kickoffs for TD's of 90+ yards in a single game. Brian Westbrook has scored 53 TD's thus far in 6 seasons, as well as accumulated over 9,000 yards combined.
FB: Franco Harris - Rushed for almost 12,000 yards as a Steeler while scoring 100 TD's. Harris had soft hands and has a statue of him catching "The Immaculate Reception" at Pittsburgh Airport. Fumbled 90 times in 12 seasons as a Steeler. Chosen to nine consecutive Pro Bowls, Harris the first African American as well as the first Italian American to be named Super Bowl MVP. John Henry Johnson had already played six seasons for two teams before playing for Pittsburgh. As a Steeler, he rushed for over 1,000 yards twice in six seasons, making four Pro Bowls as well. Johnson ranks 3rd on the teams all time rushing yardage list. Merril Hoge was a 10th round pick who led the team in rushing and receiving in four of his seven years. Hoge and Harris are the only Steelers to ever have 100+ yard rushing yards in back to back play off games.
HB: Jerome Bettis - Started out as a fullback with St. Louis before Pittsburgh stole him for only a 2nd and 4th round draft picks. Bettis was known by Steelers fans as the bus. Bettis played ten seasons with the Steelers and rushed for over 10,000 yards, scoring 80 TD's. Powerful and nimble, Bettis is headed for the Hall of Fame in a few years. Rocky Bleier played one season in Pittsburgh, then served in the Vietnam War. He almost lost his lower leg when a grenade exploded in his foxhole. Upon his return, the Steelers cut him two times. Bleiers persistence paid off and he played ten seasons. His best season was in 1976, when Bleier rushed for over 1,000 yards along with Harris. "Bullet" Bill Dudley played three seasons in Pittsburgh, losing two to WWII. He won Rookie of the Year, then NFL MVP awards. He led the NFL in rushing, interceptions, and punt returns his MVP year. Dick Hoak spent ten seasons as a running back with the Steelers, then 25 years as an offensive backfield coach. He was named to the Pro Bowl team in 1968 and rushed for over 3,900 yards in his career.
SAINT LOUIS RAMS
FB: "Deacon" Dan Towler - Part of the "Baby Bull Elephant" backfield as Younger blocked for him. Career lasted five full seasons as he was injured in his sixth, thus ending his career. Led the league in TD's twice. Both he and Younger went to 4 Pro Bowls. Amassed 3,500 rushing yards at a 5.2 YPC average with 43 TD's. Paul Younger - Known as "Tank" for the way he ran over people. First player from Eddie Robinson's Grambling program to make the NFL. Younger was a bruising blocker and line backer as well. Tank rumbled for over 3,000 yards and 31 TD's during his 9 years as a Ram. Cullen Bryant started out as a cornerback before becoming a fullback. Had to be the featured back in 1980 due to injuries and gained over 800 yards with 52 catches. Finished with over 3,000 yards rushing and 26 TD's with 3 by kickoff returns.
HB: Eric Dickerson - Had a good line, but no passing game. Had to go against 8-9 in the box most carries. NFC player of the year in '83, '84' & '86. Listed #38 on TSN's 100 Greatest Players Of All Time. Piled up over 7,000 yards his first 4 seasons to go with 55 TD's. He also fumbled 49 times in that span. Marshall Faulk set the tone for the "Greatest Show On Turf" era. Faulk could run with power, grace and elusiveness. He also was a major weapon as a receiver. His best year was his first as a Ram. He caught 87 balls for 1,048 yards and 5 TD's, while rushing for 1,381 with 7 TD's. He followed that the next season with 1,359 yards rushing and 18 TD's to go with 81 receptions for 830 yards and 8 TD's. Faulks Ram rushing totals are 6,959 yards with 58 TD's in 7 seasons. Lawrence McCutcheon played with the Rams for 7 seasons. He made the Pro Bowl for 5 straight seasons and finished his Rams career with 6,186 rushing yards and 35 TD's.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
FB: Jacque MacKinnon - Is the only player to make an All Pro team after being the last pick of the draft, also known as Mr. Irrelevant. Made 2 All Pro teams because of his superior, bone crunching lead blocking. Played 9 seasons with the Chargers. Had 86 carries for 381 yards and 2 TD's for his career, as well as 112 catches for 2,109 yards and 20 TD's. Marion Butts was a Charger for 5 seasons and rushed for over 4,200 yards with 31 TD's. Rod Bernstine was a tight end who also played fullback. Bernstine played six seasons in San Diego and gained over 2000 yards rushing with 17 TD'S. As a receiver, Bernstine caught 91 passes for 888 yards and 2 TD's. His 7th season in the NFL was spent in Denver where he rushed for 816 yards, caught 44 passes and scored 4 TD's in 1993.
HB: LaDainian Tomlinson - L.T. has been amongst the best backs in his era since the day he first put on a Charger uniform. A 6 time Pro Bowler who was also the 2006 NFL MVP, Tomlinson has played 7 seasons and gained 10,650 yards rushing with 85 TD's. L.T. is also a fine receiver and has 458 receptions for 3375 yards and 14 TD's. Tomlinson can run with power, finesse, or speed and has never rushed for less than 1,200 yards in a season, scored less than 10 rushing TD's, or caught less than 51 passes. Paul Lowe played 7 seasons with the Chargers (only 7 and 1 games his last 2 seasons). He was a very fast scat back who twice topped the 1,000 yard mark. Lowe gained over 4,100 yards with 37 TD's and had a career YPC average of 4.9. Keith Lincoln was the power back to Lowe's speed with MacKinnon lead blocking. Lincoln won the AFL All Star MVP Award in 1963 and 64. Lincoln could do it all. He threw 5 TD passes, returned a punt and kick off for TD's, caught 123 passes for 1,600 yards and 14 TD's. He rushed for 2,700 yards and 15 TD'S. Don Woods was the 1974 Rookie of the Year. He was injured his 2nd year. He played 5 years and rushed for 2,858 yards with 16 TD's and caught 125 passes for 1,177 yards and 5 TD's. He also threw 2 more. Lionel "Little Train" James was 5'6 and spent his entire 5 year career as a Charger. In 1985, James set an NFL record for combined yards. It stood for 15 seasons. James also caught 86 passes for 1,027 yards and 6 TD's that year to go with 516 yards rushing and 2 TD's.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
FB: Joe Perry - The Jet had fantastic speed. He was the first NFL player to post back to back 1,000 yard seasons. Perry played 16 seasons, 14 with the 49ers. Perry ended up with over 7,200 yards and 58 TD's (his recorded no stats his first 2 seasons). His career YPC average was an outstanding 4.8. Tom Rathman was a solid blocker who excelled at catching passes. Rathman played 8 seasons in San Francisco and rushed for 1,902 yards, caught 294 passes for 2,296 yards and scored 33 TD's.
HB: Roger Craig - Craig is the first player in NFL history to have rushed and received 1,000 yards each in one season. Known for his high knee action running style, Craig was a 49er for 8 seasons. Craig rushed for over 7,000 yards with 508 receptions for over 4,400 yards. Craig scored 68 TD's, was named to 4 Pro Bowls and was the 1988 NFL Player of the Year. Hugh McElhenny was known as "The King". He made 5 Pro Bowls in his 9 seasons as a 49er. Scored 51 TD's and rushed for over 4,000 yards. Ken Willard made 4 Pro Bowls, scored 61 TD's and ran for over 5,900 yards in his 9 year career in San Francisco.
FB: John L. Williams - Played 8 seasons in Seattle, making 2 Pro Bowls. Rushed for over 4,500 yards while catching 471 passes and scoring 33 TD's. Mack Strong is know for his solid blocking. Undrafted, Strong made 2 Pro Bowls and played 14 years. Rushed for 5 TD's and caught 10 more. David Sims played 3 seasons before injuries ended his career. In 1978, Sims rushed for 752 yards and scored an NFL leading 15 TD's.
HB: Shaun Alexander - Rushed for over 9,400 yards and scored 112 TD's in his 8 years in Seattle. Was the NFL MVP in 2005 and gone to 3 Pro Bowls. Chris Warren was a 4th round pick from a Division III school and started his career as a kick returner. Warren ran for over 1,000 yards 4 straight years in his 8 seasons in Seattle. Warren went to 3 Pro Bowls. By the end of his stint in Seattle he held the Seahawks' career rushing record, logging 6,706 total rushing yards, scoring 49 TD's. Curt Warner was Rookie of the Year, then blew out his knee his second year. He came back and played 7 years in Seattle. Ran for 1,000 yards 4 seasons (just missing a 5th by 15 yards) and ended up with 6,705 rushing yards with 63 TD's. Sherman Smith was the first offensive player ever drafted by the franchise, and led the team in rushing in his first four seasons, eventually amassing 3,429 yards and 28 touchdowns in his seven years with the team. He also caught the ball 210 times for a total of 2,445 yards and 10 touchdowns.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
FB: James Wilder - Wilder started out as a blocker who could catch passes. Soon he was the featured back. He had consecutive 1,000 yard seasons rushing the ball before injuries befell him. His best season was 1984. He set career highs in every category and had a then NFL record 407 rushing attempts. He accrued over 1,500 yards rushing to go with 85 receptions and 685 yards. He scored 13 TD's, as he was named to his only All Pro team. He ended his Buc's career with almost 6,000 yards, 430 receptions, and 47 TD's. Mike Alstott is a bruising blocker who has excellent receiving skills. Alstott is also a threat in short yardage situations. Has spent his 12 year career as a Buc and made six Pro Bowls. Alstott has 5,000 yards rushing, with 305 receptions and a franchise record 71 TD's.
HB: Ricky Bell - Bell carried the team out of the dark ages, when being an expansion team was much more difficult. Bell was all the Bucs had while Doug Williams developed. Bell was powerful and fast. In 1979 , Bell enjoyed his finest season, rushing for 1,263 yards and leading the Buccaneers to the NFC Central Division crown. He led the Buccaneers to their first playoff win in franchise history that season by rushing for 142 yards against the Eagles. Two years later, he was diagnosed with heart disease and died in 1984. Bell gained over 3,000 yards in his Bucs career with 19 TD's in 4 seasons. Errict Rhett was a versatile, hard runner who enjoyed brief success in Tampa Bay. Rhett gained over 2,200 yards with 18 TD's his first two seasons before injuries and contract issues ended his career as a Buccaneer. Warrick Dunn had a few excellent seasons as a Buc, and is considered on of the classiest men in the NFL today.
FB: Tim Wilson - Considered one of the best blocking fullbacks to ever play. Wilson was Campbell's personal escort, and so trusted by Earl that he had Wilson follow him to New Orleans when he left the Oilers. A sound technician who also was an excellent receiver. Wilson only carried the ball 388 times in his 6 year career as an Oiler, totaling 1,400 yards. He caught 99 passes for 609 yards and scored 9 TD's.
HB: Earl Campbell - The Tyler Rose led the NFL in rushing three consecutive seasons, becoming just the second player to have accomplished that feat. Big, strong, and fast. Campbell was virtually impossible to tackle solo and it usually took several players at once to bring him down. Everyone knew he was coming, but couldn't stop him. Rushed for over 200 yards in a game 4 times in 1980, on his way to gaining over 1,900 for the season. A true work horse who averaged over 350 rushing attempts for his first 4 seasons. That's 25 carries per game! Gained over 8,000 yards with 70 TD's in his 6 1/2 year Oiler career. Eddie George was a straight ahead style runner who looked for contact. George rushed for over 10,000 yards in his 8 years as a Titan. George also was a good receiver, catching 259 passes. He scored 78 times total. Charlie Tolar was known as The Human Bowling Ball, and is in the top 10 All Time AFL Rushing Yards. Tolar gained over 3,000 yards with 21 TD's in his 7 year Oiler career. Lorenzo White rushed for over 4,000 yards and scored 35 TD's in his 7 years with Houston. His best season came in 1992 when he rushed for 1,226 yards and caught 57 passes for 641 yards with 8 TD's.
FB: Andy Farkas - "Anvil Andy" played both ways, and without a helmet. Farkas holds the NFL record for longest pass reception at 99 yards. He also returned 2 kick offs and a punt for a TD in his time with the Redskins. Farkas was known as a pulverizing blocker. He never fumbled the ball with the Redskins. Farkas is on both Ohio and Michigan's Halls of Fame - a rare feat. He had over 2000 yards rushing and over 1,000 yards receiving to go with 34 TD's. Don "Bull" Bosseler went to one Pro Bowl, was named to the 70 Greatest Redskins Team, and rushed for over 3,000 yards and 23 TD's in his 8 year career.
HB: John Riggins was with the team 9 seasons. He sat out a season in his prime, 1980, over a contract dispute. Riggins ran with speed and power. The Diesel would wear down opponents by the fourth quarter as the Redskins would control the tempo and clock. Riggins was the 1978 Comeback Player of the Year as well as MVP of Super Bowl XVII. Riggins rushed for over 7,600 of his 11,352 career rushing yards as a Redskin, and scored 85 of his career total of 116 TD's as a Redskin. Larry Brown was an 8th round draft pick whose career was saved by Vince Lombardi installing a hearing device in his helmet. Brown was the 1972 NFL MVP and went to the Pro Bowl 4 straight years. Brown ran with grit and determination. He finished his 8 year career with the Redskins with 5,875 rushing yards and 2,500 receiving yards with 55 TD's. Cliff Battles is the first NFL running back to gain both 100 and 200 yards in a game. Led the NFL in rushing twice in his 6 year career. Was named All NFL 5 times. Retired in his prime after having his best season because his salary was frozen at $3,000. Rushed for over 3,500 yards and had 31 TD's. Mike Thomas was a 5th round pick who went on to be the 1975 Rookie of the Year. He made the 1976 Pro Bowl too. Injuries befell him soon after, as he went on to the Chargers. Was a shifty receiver too. Thomas rushed for 3,359 yards in his 4 year Redskin career, as well as catching 131 passes and scoring 26 TD's. Terry Allen played 3 seasons for the Redskins. He gained 3,300 yards with 35 TD's in that span. Earnest Byner spent 5 years in Washington and gained over 3,800 yards with 25 TD's. When people think of Charley Taylor, they think of a Hall of Fame wide receiver who retired as the NFL's All Time Reception leader. Taylor's first season was spent as a running back in Washington. He rushed for 800 yards and caught 51 passes for over 800 yards that season, in which he was the 1964 NFL Rookie of the Year. Taylor was hurt in his second season, thus prompting coach Otto Graham to put Taylor at wide receiver permanently.
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