Tag Archives: Running Back

Dec. 9, 1984 – Eric Dickerson breaks the NFL rushing record

image

Eric Dickerson was selected second overall in the 1983 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams. An immediate success, he established rookie records for most rushing attempts (390), most rushing yards gained (1,808) and most touchdowns rushing (18), including another two receiving touchdowns. His efforts earned him All-Pro, Pro Bowl, Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year honors.

In his second season, Dickerson continued his onslaught on the NFL record book becoming a member of the 2000 rushing yards club. Twelve times in 1984 he gained more than 100 yards rushing, breaking the record of 100-yard games in a season held by O. J. Simpson. His 2,105 total yards rushing beat Simpson’s 1973 NFL season record of 2,003 yards (Dickerson having reached 2,007 yards after 15 games), but since the NFL expanded the regular season from 14 to 16 games in 1978, Dickerson had the benefit of playing in two additional games. No one has since rushed for more yards in a single NFL season. Dickerson’s 5.6 yards per carry led the Rams to a playoff berth in 1984.

Dec. 3, 1988 – Barry Sanders won the Heisman Trophy

image

In 1988, in what has been called the greatest individual season in college football history (via ESPN), Barry Sanders led the nation by averaging 7.6 yards per carry and over 200 yards per game, including rushing for over 300 yards in four games. Despite his massive workload of 344 carries, Sanders was still used as the team’s punt and kickoff returner, adding another 516 yards on special teams.

He set college football season records with 2,628 yards rushing, 3,248 total yards, 234 points, 39 touchdowns, 37 rushing touchdowns, 5 consecutive 200 yard games, scored at least 2 touchdowns in 11 consecutive games, and 9 times he scored at least 3 touchdowns. Sanders also ran for 222 yards and scored 5 touchdowns in his three quarters of action in the Holiday Bowl – a game that was not included with his season statistics. Sanders won the Heisman Trophy as the season’s most outstanding player. He then chose to leave Oklahoma State before his senior season to enter the NFL draft.

Nov. 20, 1977 – Walter Payton ran for a then NFL-record 275 yards

image

In the first half alone, Walter Payton carried the ball 26 times for 144 yards and scored one touchdown. The Chicago Bears built a 10-0 halftime lead and hung on for a 10-7 victory over their NFC Central Division rivals. But, that wasn’t the story on this day. A Soldier Field crowd of 57,359 could feel that history was being made. With just a bit more than three minutes to play in the game, Payton broke loose for a 58-yard run to the Minnesota Vikings‘ 9-yard line. Not only did he put the Bears in scoring position but also put him within five yards of O. J. Simpson‘s single-game rushing record of 273 yards. Payton carried the ball two more times and gained seven yards to claim the record.

In that record-setting game, Payton was suffering with a 101-degree fever and intense flu. His longest run was for 58 yards, and he caught one pass for 6 yards. His record stood for 23 years until Corey Dillon of the Cincinnati Bengals ran for 278 yards in 2000.

Payton was once asked what defenses could do to stop him. His response: “The night before the game, I guess they’d have to kidnap me.”

SOME OF PAYTON’S NUMEROUS NFL RECORDS:

  • Most Yards Gained, Career – 16,726
  • Most Seasons, 1000 or More Yards Rushing (tied) – 10
  • Most Games, 100 or More Yards Rushing, Career – 77
  • Most Rushing Attempts, Career – 3,838
  • Most Combined Yards Gained, Career – 21,803
  • Most Combined Yards Attempts, Career – 4,368

via profootballhof.com

Nov. 17, 1956 – Jim Brown of Syracuse scored 43 points with six TDs and kicked seven extra-points

As a sophomore at Syracuse University, Jim Brown was the second leading rusher on the team. As a junior, he rushed for 666 yards (5.2 per carry). In his senior year, Brown was a unanimous first-team All-American. He finished 5th in the Heisman Trophy voting, and set school records for highest rush average (6.2) and most rushing touchdowns (6). He ran for 986 yards—third most in the country despite Syracuse playing only eight games—and scored 14 touchdowns. In the regular-season finale, a 61–7 rout of Colgate, he rushed for 197 yards, scored six touchdowns and kicked seven extra points for 43 points (another school record). Then in the Cotton Bowl, he rushed for 132 yards, scored three touchdowns and kicked three extra points. But a blocked extra point after Syracuse’s third touchdown was the difference as TCU won 28–27.

Perhaps more impressive was his success as a multi-sport athlete. In addition to his football accomplishments, he excelled in basketball, track, and especially lacrosse. As a sophomore, he was the second leading scorer for the basketball team (15 ppg), and earned a letter on the track team. His junior year, he averaged 11.3 points in basketball, and was named a second-team All-American in lacrosse. His senior year, he was named a first-team All-American in lacrosse (43 goals in 10 games to rank second in scoring nationally).

The Power of Sports

Middle school football players execute life-changing play.

Meets the Olivet Eagles, a middle school football team who took a fledgling player under their wing and executed what may be the most successful play of all time.

Oct. 27, 2002 – Smith broke the NFL career rushing record held by Walter Payton

image

Despite his collegiate success, some NFL teams still felt that Emmitt Smith was too small and slow for the pro game. He fell to the 17th pick in the first round of the 1990 NFL Draft, when he was chosen by the Dallas Cowboys, who traded up to draft him.

Smith was the first player in NFL history to rush for 1,400 rushing yards or more in five consecutive seasons. Smith, Jim Brown, and LaDainian Tomlinson are the only players with seven straight ten-touchdown seasons to start their careers. With 1,021 rushing yards in 2001, Smith became the first player in NFL history with 11 consecutive 1,000 yard seasons and the first to post eleven 1,000-yard rushing seasons in a career. He is the NFL’s all-time leader in rushing attempts with 4,409. Smith is the only player to post three seasons with nineteen or more touchdowns. He also holds the record for most games in a season with a touchdown and most games in a season with a rushing touchdown (15), set in 1995.

Smith leads all running backs with 164 career rushing touchdowns, and his 175 total touchdowns ranks him second only to Jerry Rice‘s 208. The total of his rushing yards, receiving yards (3,224) and fumble return yards (−15) gives him a total of 21,564 yards from the line of scrimmage, making him one of only four players in NFL history to eclipse the 21,000-combined yards mark.