Barry Sanders- best RB of all time

With this talk about Lynch coming back to possibly play for his home town team, it got me thinking.

This is one position where anyone not wearing rose colored glasses knows that THE BEST EVER is a clear pick- Barry Sanders.

Who could be the second best ever? Jim Brown? Sweetness?

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Comments

  • CoinstartledCoinstartled Posts: 875 ✭✭✭✭

    Barry was perhaps the best athlete to ever wear an NFL uniform. A kind and generous gentleman as well. His yards per carry were stunning but that did not serve his team nearly as well as a more consistent and traditional Emmitt Smith would have.

  • CoinstartledCoinstartled Posts: 875 ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 12, 2017 7:23PM

    Career wise I would place Walter Payton second to Smith. Over a shorter span Earl Campbell was my choice.

  • Good observations!!

  • JustacommemanJustacommeman Posts: 13,195 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Coinstartled said:
    Barry was perhaps the best athlete to ever wear an NFL uniform. A kind and generous gentleman as well. His yards per carry were stunning but that did not serve his team nearly as well as a more consistent and traditional Emmitt Smith would have.

    Smith would not have had the same HOF career in Detroit and he wouldn't even be in this discussion. Sanders was literally running for his very life.

    mark

    Walker Proof Digital Album





    Fellas, leave the tight pants to the ladies. If I can count the coins in your pockets you better use them to call a tailor. Stay thirsty my friends......
  • CoinstartledCoinstartled Posts: 875 ✭✭✭✭

    @Justacommeman said:

    @Coinstartled said:
    Barry was perhaps the best athlete to ever wear an NFL uniform. A kind and generous gentleman as well. His yards per carry were stunning but that did not serve his team nearly as well as a more consistent and traditional Emmitt Smith would have.

    Smith would not have had the same HOF career in Detroit and he wouldn't even be in this discussion. Sanders was literally running for his very life.

    mark

    A legitimate argument. Wonder what his game would have looked like with a decent front line.

  • Imagine Sanders running behind that Offensive Line of the Cowboys of the same era.....and not on the concrete of the old Pontiac Dome. He could have lasted for 15 years

  • CoinstartledCoinstartled Posts: 875 ✭✭✭✭

    @SirLurksALot said:
    Imagine Sanders running behind that Offensive Line of the Cowboys of the same era.....and not on the concrete of the old Pontiac Dome. He could have lasted for 15 years

    Problem is we can only view an athlete in their particular circumstance. One can only speculate whether Tom Brady would have been a second stringer had he not played for Belichick.

  • keetskeets Posts: 17,679 ✭✭✭✭

    I know of a running back who played for 10 seasons in an era when the game was essentially a running game and every Team played every other Team each season. this guy played when the season was 12 and then 14 games long and set records that were only surpassed when the season was expanded to 16 games and specialization began to dominate how Teams played.

    during his 10 year career he never missed a down due to injury. he retired to Hollywood where he acted in some good action films. most of the guys mentioned in these threads about the "greatest ever" couldn't have carried his lunch pail. along with being a great Football player he remains as one of the best Lacrosse players of all-time.

    his name is Jim Brown.

    image
  • Dave99BDave99B Posts: 5,268 ✭✭✭

    The Juice.

    Dave

    Always looking for original, better date VF20-VF35 Barber quarters and halves, and a quality beer.
  • DIMEMANDIMEMAN Posts: 11,988 ✭✭✭✭

    @keets said:
    I know of a running back who played for 10 seasons in an era when the game was essentially a running game and every Team played every other Team each season. this guy played when the season was 12 and then 14 games long and set records that were only surpassed when the season was expanded to 16 games and specialization began to dominate how Teams played.

    during his 10 year career he never missed a down due to injury. he retired to Hollywood where he acted in some good action films. most of the guys mentioned in these threads about the "greatest ever" couldn't have carried his lunch pail. along with being a great Football player he remains as one of the best Lacrosse players of all-time.

    his name is Jim Brown.

    Jim Brown was definitely better than Sanders......but then so were a bunch of others.

  • grote15grote15 Posts: 24,104 ✭✭✭

    @DIMEMAN said:

    @keets said:
    I know of a running back who played for 10 seasons in an era when the game was essentially a running game and every Team played every other Team each season. this guy played when the season was 12 and then 14 games long and set records that were only surpassed when the season was expanded to 16 games and specialization began to dominate how Teams played.

    during his 10 year career he never missed a down due to injury. he retired to Hollywood where he acted in some good action films. most of the guys mentioned in these threads about the "greatest ever" couldn't have carried his lunch pail. along with being a great Football player he remains as one of the best Lacrosse players of all-time.

    his name is Jim Brown.

    Jim Brown was definitely better than Sanders......but then so were a bunch of others.

    In your own mind anyway, which doesn't count for much.



    Collecting 1970s Topps baseball wax, rack and cello packs, as well as PCGS graded Half Cents, Large Cents, Two Cent pieces and Three Cent Silver pieces.
  • DIMEMANDIMEMAN Posts: 11,988 ✭✭✭✭

    @grote15 said:

    @DIMEMAN said:

    @keets said:
    I know of a running back who played for 10 seasons in an era when the game was essentially a running game and every Team played every other Team each season. this guy played when the season was 12 and then 14 games long and set records that were only surpassed when the season was expanded to 16 games and specialization began to dominate how Teams played.

    during his 10 year career he never missed a down due to injury. he retired to Hollywood where he acted in some good action films. most of the guys mentioned in these threads about the "greatest ever" couldn't have carried his lunch pail. along with being a great Football player he remains as one of the best Lacrosse players of all-time.

    his name is Jim Brown.

    Jim Brown was definitely better than Sanders......but then so were a bunch of others.

    In your own mind anyway, which doesn't count for much.

    Hey Grote15....you're big on stats. How many runners ran for more yards than Sanders??? And please no excuses!

  • grote15grote15 Posts: 24,104 ✭✭✭

    @DIMEMAN said:

    @grote15 said:

    @DIMEMAN said:

    @keets said:
    I know of a running back who played for 10 seasons in an era when the game was essentially a running game and every Team played every other Team each season. this guy played when the season was 12 and then 14 games long and set records that were only surpassed when the season was expanded to 16 games and specialization began to dominate how Teams played.

    during his 10 year career he never missed a down due to injury. he retired to Hollywood where he acted in some good action films. most of the guys mentioned in these threads about the "greatest ever" couldn't have carried his lunch pail. along with being a great Football player he remains as one of the best Lacrosse players of all-time.

    his name is Jim Brown.

    Jim Brown was definitely better than Sanders......but then so were a bunch of others.

    In your own mind anyway, which doesn't count for much.

    Hey Grote15....you're big on stats. How many runners ran for more yards than Sanders??? And please no excuses!

    @DIMEMAN said:

    @grote15 said:

    @DIMEMAN said:

    @keets said:
    I know of a running back who played for 10 seasons in an era when the game was essentially a running game and every Team played every other Team each season. this guy played when the season was 12 and then 14 games long and set records that were only surpassed when the season was expanded to 16 games and specialization began to dominate how Teams played.

    during his 10 year career he never missed a down due to injury. he retired to Hollywood where he acted in some good action films. most of the guys mentioned in these threads about the "greatest ever" couldn't have carried his lunch pail. along with being a great Football player he remains as one of the best Lacrosse players of all-time.

    his name is Jim Brown.

    Jim Brown was definitely better than Sanders......but then so were a bunch of others.

    In your own mind anyway, which doesn't count for much.

    Hey Grote15....you're big on stats. How many runners ran for more yards than Sanders??? And please no excuses!

    DM, you are incapable of understanding just why Sanders was as good as he was, so why should I bother?

    The case has already been made, and quite convincingly. I'm not going to waste any more time trying to enlighten you.



    Collecting 1970s Topps baseball wax, rack and cello packs, as well as PCGS graded Half Cents, Large Cents, Two Cent pieces and Three Cent Silver pieces.
  • DIMEMANDIMEMAN Posts: 11,988 ✭✭✭✭

    grote15....you and the few others who actually think Sanders was the best are the one's that need enlightened!

  • grote15grote15 Posts: 24,104 ✭✭✭
    edited April 15, 2017 12:29AM

    "ones that need enlightenment."

    No apostrophe after one.



    Collecting 1970s Topps baseball wax, rack and cello packs, as well as PCGS graded Half Cents, Large Cents, Two Cent pieces and Three Cent Silver pieces.
  • DIMEMANDIMEMAN Posts: 11,988 ✭✭✭✭

    Now you're a spell checker! LOL!

  • JustacommemanJustacommeman Posts: 13,195 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 15, 2017 4:02AM

    @DIMEMAN said:

    @grote15 said:

    @DIMEMAN said:

    @keets said:
    I know of a running back who played for 10 seasons in an era when the game was essentially a running game and every Team played every other Team each season. this guy played when the season was 12 and then 14 games long and set records that were only surpassed when the season was expanded to 16 games and specialization began to dominate how Teams played.

    during his 10 year career he never missed a down due to injury. he retired to Hollywood where he acted in some good action films. most of the guys mentioned in these threads about the "greatest ever" couldn't have carried his lunch pail. along with being a great Football player he remains as one of the best Lacrosse players of all-time.

    his name is Jim Brown.

    Jim Brown was definitely better than Sanders......but then so were a bunch of others.

    In your own mind anyway, which doesn't count for much.

    Hey Grote15....you're big on stats. How many runners ran for more yards than Sanders??? And please no excuses!

    Two. And it took both of them a boat load more carries to achieve that. Emmitt had 1400 more carries then Sanders and 3000 more yards. So about a whooping two yards a carry. Payton had 800 more carries then Sanders and 1500 more yards. Not an excuse just the facts. Emmitt stuck around for years ineffective and past his prime just to pad this stats or did you forget about the Arizona years? Emmitt's last four years he averaged 3.9 , 3.8, 2.8 and 3.5 yards per carry all in so he could have the most accumulated yards. Big deal. 3200 padded yards. Sanders went out on top. Class act. Sanders played 10 years. Emimitt played 15 years. Gosh I should hope he would have had more yards.

    Think about this- in Sanders second to last season he had 2053 yards and averaged 6.1 yards per carry. In Emmitt's 9th through 15 season the most he could muster was 1300 yards. In Emmitts BEST season he averaged jusy over 5.0 yards per carry. That was Barry's CAREER Average.

    Do the math and it should be obvious that the guy with 15,000 plus yards in 10 seasons with an average of 5.0 yards a carry was the better running back. Feel free to believe what you want to believe.

    Emmitt has the most accumulated yards true but he certainly wasn't the best. He was great but I put several in front of him.

    Mark

    Walker Proof Digital Album





    Fellas, leave the tight pants to the ladies. If I can count the coins in your pockets you better use them to call a tailor. Stay thirsty my friends......
  • grote15grote15 Posts: 24,104 ✭✭✭

    Geez, if Mark's post doesn't enlighten DM, nothing else in this world will.

    I am holding out hope this time will be different.



    Collecting 1970s Topps baseball wax, rack and cello packs, as well as PCGS graded Half Cents, Large Cents, Two Cent pieces and Three Cent Silver pieces.
  • JustacommemanJustacommeman Posts: 13,195 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @grote15 said:
    Geez, if Mark's post doesn't enlighten DM, nothing else in this world will.

    I am holding out hope this time will be different.

    No chance but I try none the less.

    mark

    Walker Proof Digital Album





    Fellas, leave the tight pants to the ladies. If I can count the coins in your pockets you better use them to call a tailor. Stay thirsty my friends......
  • CoinstartledCoinstartled Posts: 875 ✭✭✭✭

    I am with Dimeman and I grew up and lived in Detroit for most of Sander's career and loved to watch him play. Other than Barry and the short career of Billy Sims, watching the Lions was a dreary proposition.

    ...and now the important question, who was better, Howe or Gretzky.

  • grote15grote15 Posts: 24,104 ✭✭✭

    If Glicker is siding with Dimeman, I know I'm on the right side of this debate~thanks for confirming, lol..



    Collecting 1970s Topps baseball wax, rack and cello packs, as well as PCGS graded Half Cents, Large Cents, Two Cent pieces and Three Cent Silver pieces.
  • keetskeets Posts: 17,679 ✭✭✭✭

    Barry Sanders was still going strong at the end of his career. it makes me wonder what Jim Brown would have done if he had continued to play for another five years. can someone with stats do a projection based on yards/carry and attempts for him through 10 years?? I know he averaged over 5 yards.

    my quick estimate at 5 yards/carry and 250/season for five years puts him over 18k.

    image
  • perkdogperkdog Posts: 15,819 ✭✭✭

    My argument against Jim Brown is solely based on the size of his opponents, He would not carry 265 pound LB'ers on his back and toss them aside like the 190-220llb players back in his day, without question he was the Babe Ruth of the Football field back when he played- no football person could ever argue against that but as the game progressed so did the athletes, Barry Sanders with his skill set and athleticism against players much bigger than him puts him ahead of Brown in my opinion. I honestly believe if you put Sanders, OJ, Payton, Dickerson etc back in the game in 1960 they would fair pretty well, Brown could play today but not much better than the guys I mentioned.

  • DIMEMANDIMEMAN Posts: 11,988 ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 15, 2017 1:39PM

    Here is a list of the top 21 RB's by yards:

    1 Emmitt Smith+ 18,355 1990-2004 2TM
    2 Walter Payton+ 16,726 1975-1987 chi
    3 Barry Sanders+ 15,269 1989-1998 det
    4 Curtis Martin+ 14,101 1995-2005 2TM
    5 LaDainian Tomlinson+ 13,684 2001-2011 2TM
    6 Jerome Bettis+ 13,662 1993-2005 2TM
    7 Eric Dickerson+ 13,259 1983-1993 4TM
    8 Frank Gore 13,065 2005-2016 2TM
    9 Tony Dorsett+ 12,739 1977-1988 2TM
    10 Jim Brown+ 12,312 1957-1965 cle
    11 Marshall Faulk+ 12,279 1994-2005 2TM
    12 Edgerrin James 12,246 1999-2009 3TM
    13 Marcus Allen+ 12,243 1982-1997 2TM
    14 Franco Harris+ 12,120 1972-1984 2TM
    15 Thurman Thomas+ 12,074 1988-2000 2TM
    16 Adrian Peterson 11,747 2007-2016 min
    17 Fred Taylor 11,695 1998-2010 2TM
    18 Steven Jackson 11,438 2004-2015 3TM
    19 John Riggins+ 11,352 1971-1985 2TM
    20 Corey Dillon 11,241 1997-2006 2TM
    21 O.J. Simpson+ 11,236 1969-1979 2TM

    These are all great runners. I watched the film on the Dallas/Detroit game that showed Smith/Sanders. I watch the highlight films on Dorsett, Campbell, Brown and several others. They were all great. I forgot just how good Tony Dorsett was.

    I think that it is impossible to objectively pick a best out of these top 10. IF you don't go by yards .... it comes down to personal opinion. I personally would leave Smith at #1 and I would move Brown up.

    And the notion that Brown couldn't play in today's game is laughable. If you used all those projected stats on years and carries and such.....Brown could probably be moved to the top.

    Bottom line is I like Smith better than Sanders...they were both great..but Smith would be my choice if I were building a team. Like I posted before. On a mock team that you could have 4 RB's on. Mine would be Smith, Dorsett, Campbell and Brown.

    You couldn't go wrong with those 4. Like I said it comes down to personal preference. I'm sure that others out here would pick 4 different runners.

    I'm not going to argue about this any more. Everybody have a nice weekend.

  • CoinstartledCoinstartled Posts: 875 ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 15, 2017 6:55PM

    @grote15 said:
    If Glicker is siding with Dimeman, I know I'm on the right side of this debate~thanks for confirming, lol..

    It is difficult to not put Sanders first and even more difficult to side with Dimeman. ;)

    Reality though is that Sanders was pulled on goal line plays as his game and size did not work well trying to punch through for a score. I can't think of another premier back that that was the case.

    Loved the guy and think he might have been the most exciting in history to watch. Probably top 5 or to 10 but give me Emmitt or Bo or Payton first.

  • dallasactuarydallasactuary Posts: 1,841 ✭✭✭

    @Justacommeman said:
    Do the math and it should be obvious that the guy with 15,000 plus yards in 10 seasons with an average of 5.0 yards a carry was the better running back. Feel free to believe what you want to believe.

    Yards per carry is a better measure of greatness than total yards, for sure, but there's a lot more to it than that and I don't know that there's any way to measure it. There's simply no way to accurately account for all of the factors related to the team: most importantly, the quality of the O-line, but also the quality of the QB and receivers. How the O-line affects a RBs yards per carry is obvious, but teams with top-quality passing games make it very difficult for defenses to key on the RB.

    The best running back I ever saw, and I won't attempt to prove it, was Earl Campbell; next was O.J. Simpson and next was Barry Sanders. I think Jim Brown was as likely as not to be better than all of them, but I never saw him play. And Gale Sayers was the extreme example of what a GOAT-caliber back looks like when you plop him down at the center of an incompetent offense. He only lasted 5 years, and 29 wins in those 5 years, but he probably was responsible for winning more football games than any other player while he played. Put him behind Emmitt Smith's lines and he would very likely be the all-time leader in total yards from scrimmage.

    dallasactuary

    Official defender of Ron Santo
    Official defender of Bert Blyleven
    Official defender of the HOF against Jack Morris
    Jim Rice sucks
  • JustacommemanJustacommeman Posts: 13,195 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 16, 2017 12:58AM

    Sanders, Campbell and Simpson were nightmares for D's. They put so much pressure on the second level.

    mark

    Walker Proof Digital Album





    Fellas, leave the tight pants to the ladies. If I can count the coins in your pockets you better use them to call a tailor. Stay thirsty my friends......
  • DIMEMANDIMEMAN Posts: 11,988 ✭✭✭✭

    @Justacommeman said:
    Sanders, Campbell and Simpson were nightmares for D's. They put so much pressure on the second level.

    mark

    And Smith, Dorsett, Payton and Brown DIDN'T!!!!

  • JustacommemanJustacommeman Posts: 13,195 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 16, 2017 3:29AM

    @DIMEMAN said:

    @Justacommeman said:
    Sanders, Campbell and Simpson were nightmares for D's. They put so much pressure on the second level.

    mark

    And Smith, Dorsett, Payton and Brown DIDN'T!!!!

    I don't think Smith, Dorsett and Payton scared Defensive Coordinators like Sanders, Simpson and Campbell did. Different breed of cats. Smith, Payton and Dorsett were vanilla in comparison. I never saw Brown play.

    And quite frankly Dorsett doesn't belong in this conversation. He is the next level down. The comparison is embarrassing actually. That's just the jaded homer in you. I get it.

    mark

    Walker Proof Digital Album





    Fellas, leave the tight pants to the ladies. If I can count the coins in your pockets you better use them to call a tailor. Stay thirsty my friends......
  • JustacommemanJustacommeman Posts: 13,195 ✭✭✭✭✭

    For example I had a hard time finding any greatest of all time lists with Dorsett in the Too 10. I did find one. Most lists have Sanders or Brown at one. Smith is generally between 3 and 6 although I've seen him as high as 2.

    Mark

    All lists are subjective but they are out together by people in the know.

    http://m.ranker.com/crowdranked-list/the-best-nfl-running-backs-of-all-time

    http://www.foxsports.com/nfl/gallery/greatest-running-backs-in-nfl-history-jim-brown-emmitt-smith-barry-sanders-marcus-allen-030915

    https://athlonsports.com/nfl/25-greatest-running-backs-nfl-history#26

    Walker Proof Digital Album





    Fellas, leave the tight pants to the ladies. If I can count the coins in your pockets you better use them to call a tailor. Stay thirsty my friends......
  • dallasactuarydallasactuary Posts: 1,841 ✭✭✭

    It's counterintuitive, and there are obviously many exceptions, but while we tend to think of the best teams when we search our memories for GOAT candidates, it's probably more productive to think of bad teams first. What (limited) success the Oilers, Bills and Lions had was due almost exclusively to Campbell, Simpson and Sanders. The Bengals without Ken Anderson may never have won a game; they certainly would never have gone to a Super Bowl.

    And nobody ever accused him of being great, but I grew up watching the Cardinals with Jim Hart as their QB. Year after year, Hart led the league in lowest sack % (one year he got sacked, I think, 6 times in a full season), and anyone who looked back at the record books today would probably conclude that Hart was a whiz at avoiding the sack. But it was when he was in his 30's, and less agile than some of your grandmothers, that he had his run atop the league leaders. What Hart had was the greatest offensive line ever assembled; a line that made an aging Hart look good, and put a perfectly ordinary running back named Jim Otis on top of the rushing leaders.

    And yes, I said the greatest offensive line ever assembled. Suck it, Cowboys.

    dallasactuary

    Official defender of Ron Santo
    Official defender of Bert Blyleven
    Official defender of the HOF against Jack Morris
    Jim Rice sucks
  • CoinstartledCoinstartled Posts: 875 ✭✭✭✭

    @Justacommeman said:

    @DIMEMAN said:

    @Justacommeman said:
    Sanders, Campbell and Simpson were nightmares for D's. They put so much pressure on the second level.

    mark

    And Smith, Dorsett, Payton and Brown DIDN'T!!!!

    I don't think Smith, Dorsett and Payton scared Defensive Coordinators like Sanders, Simpson and Campbell did. Different breed of cats. Smith, Payton and Dorsett were vanilla in comparison. I never saw Brown play.

    And quite frankly Dorsett doesn't belong in this conversation. He is the next level down. The comparison is embarrassing actually. That's just the jaded homer in you. I get it.

    mark

    @Justacommeman said:

    @DIMEMAN said:

    @Justacommeman said:
    Sanders, Campbell and Simpson were nightmares for D's. They put so much pressure on the second level.

    mark

    And Smith, Dorsett, Payton and Brown DIDN'T!!!!

    I don't think Smith, Dorsett and Payton scared Defensive Coordinators like Sanders, Simpson and Campbell did. Different breed of cats. Smith, Payton and Dorsett were vanilla in comparison. I never saw Brown play.

    And quite frankly Dorsett doesn't belong in this conversation. He is the next level down. The comparison is embarrassing actually. That's just the jaded homer in you. I get it.

    mark

    Agree that Dorsett is in the next tier down. Disagree that Payton did not scare the crap out of the defensive coordinators. Short memories recall the Bears in their quality mid to late 80's years. Payton was the offense for the decade previous.

  • JustacommemanJustacommeman Posts: 13,195 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 16, 2017 7:07PM

    Here are 6 HOF running backs.

    Here are their averages per season:

         ATT  YDS Ave TDS
    

    Player A 296 1223 4.2 11.0
    Player B 306 1527 5.0 10.0
    Player C 262 1368 5.2 11.7
    Player D 218 1021 4.7 5.5
    Player E 312 1343 4.3 10.5
    Player F 244 1061 4.3 6.4

    Rank them

    mark

    Walker Proof Digital Album





    Fellas, leave the tight pants to the ladies. If I can count the coins in your pockets you better use them to call a tailor. Stay thirsty my friends......
  • CoinstartledCoinstartled Posts: 875 ✭✭✭✭

    At the time of Barry's career the average pass attempt yielded about 8 yards. Problem with passing though is it is inconsistent yardage as opposed to a traditional back pounding out a steady 3 to 5 yards. Sanders' performance standard deviation (hoo boy DA will let me have it) was more similar to that of a pass attempt than an Emmitt or Campbell closer to the mean ypc average.

    Therefore a 5.2 average was not as impressive as it might seem when presented without knowledge of the erratic fashion in which is was produced.

  • JustacommemanJustacommeman Posts: 13,195 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 16, 2017 6:30AM

    @Coinstartled said:
    At the time of Barry's career the average pass attempt yielded about 8 yards. Problem with passing though is it is inconsistent yardage as opposed to a traditional back pounding out a steady 3 to 5 yards. Sanders' performance standard deviation (hoo boy DA will let me have it) was more similar to that of a pass attempt than an Emmitt or Campbell closer to the mean ypc average.

    Therefore a 5.2 average was not as impressive as it might seem when presented without knowledge of the erratic fashion in which is was produced.

    Poppycock.

    And the 5.2 average was that of Jim Brown

    mark

    Walker Proof Digital Album





    Fellas, leave the tight pants to the ladies. If I can count the coins in your pockets you better use them to call a tailor. Stay thirsty my friends......
  • keetskeets Posts: 17,679 ✭✭✭✭

    I have the distinct advantage over some of our younger members because I had the chance to watch these guys play, actually play, not watch highlight reels of their most memorable carries.

    a reasonable argument could be made that Gale Sayers was the best of the best, the fly in the ointment being that he not very durable. I think that factors in when we judge players. in that regard, Gale Sayers and Jim Brown were opposite sides of the same coin --- to watch them play was to watch a human body do things that shouldn't be done while moving so fast. the difference between them(and they played during the same era, so forget about the size comparisons) is that Brown was much more durable.

    to Mark's point of an RB being a nightmare for a defense, entire defensive schemes were devoted to stopping Jim Brown; few were very successful. they could hold him for awhile but the odds would eventually turn in his favor.

    I think if I were a defender that the single player I would have dreaded playing against was Earl Campbell. I believe the man had 34 inch thighs which is almost incomprehensible, that's almost as big as my chest!!! in one particular game, the Houston Oilers had something like 290 total yards on offense, Campbell had something like 282 rushing yards and there was one pass --- a swing pass to, you guessed it, Earl Campbell. I can't imagine how demoralized that defense must have been in the fourth quarter as they saw those massive legs churning towards them!!!

    -------------Player C 262 1368 5.2 11.7
    since I am familiar with JB's stats I knew this was him, unlike our resident troll who seems confused. the remarkable thing about the stats posted is that simple math for a 12 or 14 game season means he ONLY rushed about 20 times per game. that's nothing like current back who will pound out 25-30 when a Team is putting a game away in the fourth quarter. that statistic alone may bear on Brown's durability; he had less 3-5 yard runs and more 10-40 yard runs.

    image
  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 3,430 ✭✭✭

    In most GOAT discussions there can really be no definite winner.

    I would vote for either Jim Brown or Walter Payton, with Sanders very slightly below. Brown and Payton rarely lost yardage when given the ball. Regardless of who was in front of him Sanders had a lot of negative yardage runs.

    Boils down to my personal preference of "tough" runners over "elusive" guys.

    I am old enough to have watched all of the backs discussed except Brown. Jim wasn't just a big guy who ran people over (although he was big and incredibly strong) he was also one of the fastest players of his time and could catch the ball too.

    As a Vikings fan I saw a lot of Sanders and Payton and some of Emmitt. I felt Payton was the player who would beat you. Sanders was an unbelievable runner who could amaze you with his athletic ability. In that limited context he (along with Sayers) may have been the most talented athletes to carry the ball of all time.

    Emmitt and Dickerson were right up there.

    I am ignoring guys like Earl Campbell who had shorter careers.

    By the way, Detroit's offensive line had a few good players and Dallas' guys aren't ALL in the HOF.
    A few years ago, I was hoping to put Adrian Peterson in the discussion, but no longer.
    If you were going to be facing Walter Payton and weren't scared, you were not too bright! ;-)

    Great discussion.

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • grote15grote15 Posts: 24,104 ✭✭✭

    Campbell was an absolute beast but Bum ran him into the ground and effectively limited his career to 5 seasons.



    Collecting 1970s Topps baseball wax, rack and cello packs, as well as PCGS graded Half Cents, Large Cents, Two Cent pieces and Three Cent Silver pieces.
  • dallasactuarydallasactuary Posts: 1,841 ✭✭✭

    @keets said:
    a reasonable argument could be made that Gale Sayers was the best of the best, the fly in the ointment being that he not very durable.

    Yes, but the way I see it we're in a kind of circular argument when we downgrade Sayers for his durability. Sayers was the only good player on Chicago (plus a few on D), and the Bears, and the teams that they played, knew it. In addition to being the go-to guy on the run, he was also thrown to as often as the WRs, and he returned kicks and punts. And every time he was on the field the opposing team could more or less ignore everybody but Sayers. How long could Walter Payton have survived the beatings that Sayers took under those circumstances? I don't know exactly, but I'd bet a lot that the answer is "a whole lot shorter time than he actually lasted".

    It's sort of moot, though, since I don't think there's a great argument that Sayers was the GOAT running back. I think there's a reasonable argument, though, that he was the GOAT football player.

    And Glicker, with respect to the standard deviation of the YPC, I think I know what you mean and it's a valid point. It's a concept that brings to my mind O.J. Simpson. Like Sayers, Simpson played on a terrible team where every defensive eye was always on him. As a result he had a lot of negative and very short runs. But if you gave Simpson the slightest opening, he would squirt through it at warp speed and embarrass the DBs who had to try to catch him. Compare that to, say, Emmitt Smith, who generally never encountered a defender until he was two or three yards past the line of scrimmage. Smith was a fine running back, but he wasn't close to as good as Simpson; it was the vast difference in the rest of their teams that created the illusion that he was.

    dallasactuary

    Official defender of Ron Santo
    Official defender of Bert Blyleven
    Official defender of the HOF against Jack Morris
    Jim Rice sucks
  • DIMEMANDIMEMAN Posts: 11,988 ✭✭✭✭

    Opinions are like (you know what) everybody has one. All the runners discussed here are great runners. Everybody has their favorite. The only arguement I have with the latest is that Dorsett is not in this tier. I think he is. He was a great runner. He was one of the fastest to hit the hole and was a great open field runner who could make you miss. He was not the smash mouth run you over like Brown and Campbell. Dorsett and Payton were very similiar in the way they ran.

  • CoinstartledCoinstartled Posts: 875 ✭✭✭✭

    """In most GOAT discussions there can really be no definite winner."""

    Well said.

  • CoinstartledCoinstartled Posts: 875 ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 16, 2017 5:46PM

    @Justacommeman said:

    @Coinstartled said:
    At the time of Barry's career the average pass attempt yielded about 8 yards. Problem with passing though is it is inconsistent yardage as opposed to a traditional back pounding out a steady 3 to 5 yards. Sanders' performance standard deviation (hoo boy DA will let me have it) was more similar to that of a pass attempt than an Emmitt or Campbell closer to the mean ypc average.

    Therefore a 5.2 average was not as impressive as it might seem when presented without knowledge of the erratic fashion in which is was produced.

    Poppycock.

    And the 5.2 average was that of Jim Brown

    mark

    Consistency in the running game is critical. Gain four yards per run and short of penalties and fumbles you TD on each drive.

  • JustacommemanJustacommeman Posts: 13,195 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 16, 2017 7:37PM

    Dorsett was player F. He averaged only 6.4 touchdowns a year, 1061 yards a season and 4.3 yards a carry. Touchdown Tony? He is the weakest link on the list. Smith was player A. He averaged a whopping 1 more rushing TD a year more then Sanders but lagged behind him everywhere else. For the record Sanders played 10 years and was named to the Pro Bowl 10 times and being first yeam 6 times. 10 for 10. In comparison Smith played 15 years and was named to 8 Pro Bowls and was first team 4 times.

    I think Sanders, Campbell and Brown separate themselves from the rest of this pack. Smith just behind them. I'll look at Sayers and Payton later as they are beiinh bought up more. I think they will land outside the the top three.

    mark

         ATT  YDS Ave TDS
    

    Smith 296 1223 4.2 11.0
    Sanders 306 1527 5.0 10.0
    Brown. 262 1368 5.2 11.7
    Simpson. 218 1021 4.7 5.5
    Campbell. 312 1343 4.3 10.5
    Dorsett. 244 1061 4.3 6.4

    mark

    Walker Proof Digital Album





    Fellas, leave the tight pants to the ladies. If I can count the coins in your pockets you better use them to call a tailor. Stay thirsty my friends......
  • galaxy27galaxy27 Posts: 1,502 ✭✭✭
    edited April 16, 2017 8:18PM

    @Coinstartled said:

    Disagree that Payton did not scare the crap out of the defensive coordinators. Short memories recall the Bears in their quality mid to late 80's years. Payton was the offense for the decade previous.

    I'll play.

    I must concur with Ernie. I shaved a number of years off my life following the Bears starting in the late 70s, so my opinion is very much empirical.

    Payton may not have necessarily scared the crap out of d-coords, because there was never a real reason to be afraid of Chicago in totality. For the first 10 years of Sweetness' career, the Bears were a sub-.500 franchise. So unless there were multiple failed drug tests by the coaching staff of the opposition, Payton was most definitely the man they centered their defensive game plans around.

    Gary Huff, Bob Avellini, Mike Phipps, Vince Evans.

    James Scott, Brian Baschnagel, Ken Margerum, Emery Moorehead.

    Allow those names to marinate for a few.

    Those were the leading passers and receivers for Chicago during Payton's first 8 seasons. Unlike Emmitt Smith and very similar to elite runners like Barry Sanders and Earl Campbell, WP was not dropped from the sky by a stork into a scenario where the ability to flourish was conducive. But he did anyway. That's how a player safely earns a place in my own personal pantheon.

    Was Emmitt a great back? Sure he was. But had he played even a sizable portion of his career with an abysmal team, the eye test tells me he might not have averaged 4 yards a pop for the duration. He didn't have the natural ability to make chicken salad out of chicken you-know-what. In different ways, RBs like Sanders, Campbell and Payton all could -- and did. I never saw J Brown play and I don't recall watching the Juice, so they are not included in the two pennies I'm gratuitously providing.

    Bottom line: If you simply take the numbers at face value, you're doing the entire process a disservice. When you allow your mind to introduce new variables, all of a sudden your perspective broadens as well. Or it should. I'm not going to call out anyone by name, but I did find 10 cents on the ground earlier today.

  • JustacommemanJustacommeman Posts: 13,195 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The numbers always only tell part of the story. In this case the Payton's, Sanders, Simpsons, Campbell's of the world get a boost when you add in the variables.

    mark

    Walker Proof Digital Album





    Fellas, leave the tight pants to the ladies. If I can count the coins in your pockets you better use them to call a tailor. Stay thirsty my friends......
  • JustacommemanJustacommeman Posts: 13,195 ✭✭✭✭✭

    These are QB's Sanders played with during his ten year career. Rodney Peete, Bob Gagliano, Andre Ware, Erik Kramer, Dave Krieg, Scott Mitchell and Charlie Batch.

    Galaxy I didn't think it possible but Payton probably played with an even worse bunch then Barry. Sanders and Payton played against 7 and 8 men in the box on every play.

    mark

    Walker Proof Digital Album





    Fellas, leave the tight pants to the ladies. If I can count the coins in your pockets you better use them to call a tailor. Stay thirsty my friends......
  • CoinstartledCoinstartled Posts: 875 ✭✭✭✭

    As a side note, even though most of the names mentioned played during the running back era, several like Sanders and Payton played for mostly crummy teams. As I recall the Lions during Sander's tenure were slightly plus or minus .500.

    We don't speak of top 5 or top 10 quarterbacks that were not on winning teams. With the QB's we debate the number of Super Bowl rings, not whether their team had winning records. Knock on Marino was that he never won a championship though he strung together many exceptional seasons.

    Perhaps we overestimate the value of the RB position.

  • Walter Payton was the best fottball player to ever play the game!

  • DIMEMANDIMEMAN Posts: 11,988 ✭✭✭✭

    @ironmanl63 said:
    Walter Payton was the best fottball player to ever play the game!

    Wow! Walter was great...but that is a BOLD statement.

  • craig44craig44 Posts: 1,675 ✭✭✭

    Bold for sure. I bet Lawrence Taylor, deion sanders and Reggie white may disagree with that statement.

    Collecting Frank Thomas and Greg Maddux
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