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Had a discussion with a friend and co-worker. Keep in mind he's a Cowboy's fan. Personally, I say Barry Sanders is the greatest NFL RB of all time. He's trying to tell me Emmit Smith is. I told him get off the kool-aid. Every team was aware Sanders was going to get the ball every time b/c the Lions had no other weapons and he still made teams look ridiculous! Smith was surrounded by other great offensive weapons and a great qb in Aikman. If Sanders played on Dallas he would have made Smith look bad. Just my opinion. I'm a die hard Steeler's fan. My favorite RB was Walter Payton. But there's no doubt Barry is the greatest RB of all time and I don't think we'll ever see somebody come close to his level of play.
I am the Barry Sanders boat, I never saw Jim Brown play, I am a little to young to remember Walter Payton. I know my brother loved him, thats all. But I got Barry Sanders, Marshall Faulk, Jim Brown, Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith as my top five....I am a 80s baby so dont judge me.
This post was edited by JColeman1 19 months ago
Jim Brown, then the discussion begins for who's next.
Same here. I remember watching Payton with the Bears and the "46 defense".
Never got to watch Jim Brown but my Father always talked about how he was the best ever.
One could argue who is the best ever but I can't see how Emmit Smith could be in the discussion. One of the greats, yes. But top 3? Not in my opinion.
Brown is the gold standard. EVERYONE is rated against him.
National President of the Sky is NOT Falling Club
I say Barry Sanders, Jim brown, emmit smith, eric Dickerson, and oj simpson-Dude was a killer on and off the field.
I have sanders above brown because brown was so much bigger and athletic for his time that it looked like a man amongst boys. I do not think brown would've been as effective in today's game because of that. Hell he was bigger than almost every guy on the field including olinemen so to me he was a man who was basically a modern day style atHlete playing in olden times.
I agee about the Juice, his highlights were bananas, Eric Dickerson was a rare breed, 6-3 and could run like the wind. Is it too early to put Adrian Peterson into this discussion, he is the last of a dying breed. A workhorse running back.....
Tough to say were Red Grange and Jim Thorpe would rank in comparison to today's NFL.
I would pick Jim Brown #1. JB and Barry are the only two to be in the conversation; what those guys did in 9 and 10 year careers was crazy. I did like Walter a lot and would put him third, but some of these others like Emmit had to roll out in a wheelchair and play so many years just to put up their numbers.
The Barry - Emmitt deal is interesting. People knock Emmitt for having great players around him, which he did.
So Barry got all of his yards on his own? When Barry went well over 2,000, nobody was blocking? And to say Barry would have made Emmitt look foolish, understand this: The year Barry went over 2,000 he had very few after two games because he was playing with a fullback. They changed things around after that. He needed multiple receivers on the field to spread things out.
Look at the playoff numbers. If you want flash and highlights, go with Barry. Want to move the chains and win games, E Smith.
This post was edited by Dan Rubin 19 months ago
Great Post, I always LOVE this arguement because many people can be correct. I was born in 1985, so i have not seen some of the greats play besides highlight reels. I am a personal believer that Sweetness was the great RB ever to play the game. The guy never ran out of bounds, he was fast, quick, elusive, powerful, intelligent. He had so many of the great attributes that a great RB needs. But I can completely understand the arguements made by fans of::
Barry Sanders - did extremely profound things with no one around him
Emmitt Smith - all time record holder, but had the help of a dangerous pass offense and one of the best OLine units
Jim Brown - My father loves this guy but even he admits that Brown was rushing against Def Lineman that were smaller than he was at the time, Brown was ahead of his time (similar to what Brandon Jacobs is now)
Jim Thorpe - is there any question that he is the greatest athlete ever?
Eric Dickerson - impressive body of work but i dont see him in the same class as Payton, Brown, Sanders, Smith
Marshall Faulk - greatest all-purpose back of all time (i personally think he could have been a HoF'er at WR)
Get this weak sauce out of here. Career 4.2 avg yards per carry with one of the best OL in NFL history???
I don't knock Emmitt for having great players around him but it helps, greatly. He had Aikman, Irvin, Moose, and Novacek around him. Probably 2, maybe 3 future h.o.f.'s? The Lion's were just awful.
Barry would have won way more games but he couldn't do it surrounded by a group of guys who belonged in the Arena Football League on offense. Ware? Pete?
Barry was never about "flash" (not sure what you mean exactly). He was nothing but class on and off the field. He always handed the ball to the official after a t.d. and ran off the field. He was quoted as saying, "act like you've been there before".
Great debate and everybody will have their own opinion. I'll take Mr. Sanders and then everybody else.
Brown never missed a game...118 for 118
...led the NFL in rushing in 8 of 9 season in the game.
...left as the all-time leading rusher (career)
...left as the all-time leading rusher (season)
...left as the all-time leading rusher (game)
...left as the all-time leader all-purpose yards gainer (career)
...left as the all-time leading TD scorer (career)
...left as the all-time leading TD scorer (season)
...left as the all-time leading TD scorer (game)
...left as the all-time leading per carry gainer (career)
...left as the all-time leading per game rusher (career)
...left as the all-time leading per game rusher (season)
...left as the all-time leader in 4-TD games (with 6)
...first to crack 300 all-purpose yards in a single game
Barry teams were not as terrible as many would believe, Lomas Brown was a Pro Bowler, Herman Moore was a good player, Spielman and Robert Pocher were stout on D. Detroit went to playoffs 5 times in the 90s. If they had better QB play they he wouldve gotten futher. For pete sake they made to the NFC Championship game with Erik Kramer I believe.
His career rushing record wasn't broken for over 20 years and Brown did it in 12 and 14 game seasons.
Move his yards per game to 16 per season and he is still No. 4 on the all-time rushing yards list...in just 9 seasons, at 15,019 yards.
Would have averaged over 1,600 per season.
Can't hold it against a guy just because he was physically superior to everyone else on the field. You have to compare them to the guys they were up against
Wow..Herman Moore. I haven't heard his name in ages. I think he was a first round pick out of UVA? They weren't terrible but never were they S.B. contenders. Dallas one could argue was the team of the 90's.
So Heater, you are saying that he should be 4th or 5th all-time:) Jim Brown is your number one back. Arguments about quality of competition are always there but Heater lays out why Brown is the clear leader. Wouldn't mind have Barry Sanders as my third down, change of pace back and then having Walter Payton as my third stringer!:) Those of three incredibly talented guys.
OJ has to be in the conversation. We're not comparing crime scenes here. Unless you're talking about some of Jim Brown's games.
My viewing days started in 1965.
Many fine RBs.
THE baddest mofo RB was Jim Brown...and he could juke as well any other big back I have ever seen. A damn truck.
The most entertaining was Sanders...no one had such a combination of acceleration, speed, stop-start ability, spin-on-a-dime moves. Like trying to catch mercury.
Best all-around was Payton. Also best pound-for-pound. Stunning power for man 5-10 and 205. Awesome blocker...guy was without peer on this skill.
1. Jim Brown
2. Walter Payton (for the majority of his career his teams were AWFUL, I'm the RUN dominated NFL)
3. Earl Campbell ( as Urban says...Grown ass man!)
4. Barry Sanders ( he was EXCITING, but also feast or famine, huge games or below average)
5. TIE: Kevin Mack, Eric Metcalf, Greg Pruitt, Mike Pruitt, Earnest Byner.. LOL ( I love my Browns!)
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