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The most dominant pure runners of all time

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by PonyExpress, May 15, 2006.

  1. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    35 Most dominant pure runners of all time, over the course of their careers.
    Where will Maroney end up?:)
    based on yards per carry, yards per game, and TDs per game.
    Active players (*) will fall in this ranking as they pass their prime.
    1. Jim Brown: simply the best
    2. Barry Sanders: lionheart
    3. T. Davis: cut down in his prime
    4. S. Alexander*: man on the way up
    5. Tomlinson*: starting to wear down?
    6. Dickerson: underrated troublemaker
    7. Payton: biggest little man in the world
    8. P. Holmes*: please retire
    9. F. Taylor*: big-market HOFer.
    10. E. James*: plenty left
    11. E. Campbell: battering ram frozen in time
    12. G. Sayers: brief but brilliant
    13. Simpson: didn’t score many TDs
    14. E. Smith: strung a lot of garbage years together at the end
    15. J. Taylor: forgotten gem
    16. C. Dillon*: if only he hadn’t played for Cinci…
    17. M. Faulk*: disintegrating before our eyes…
    18. T. Dorsett: Landry limited his opportunities
    19. A. Green*: fumbling away his rep…
    20. W. Andrews: almost lost a leg
    21. C. Martin*: steady warhorse
    22. F. Harris: heart of a champion
    23. R. Watters: overlooked A-hole.
    24. Joe Perry: old school
    25. T. Thomas: still looking for his helmet
    26. T. Barber*: like fine wine
    27. R. Smith: got out unscathed
    28. Csonka: bulldozer
    29. Riggs: workhorse bowling ball
    30. R. Williams: coulda woulda shoulda
    31. F. McNeil: shifty thoroughbred
    32. J. Riggins: not as good as he thought he was
    33. M. Allen: 2 good years; an overrated compiler
    34. J. Bettis: Bus was outta gas 4 years ago.
    35. E. George: tough guy crawled to the finish line
     
  2. zippo59

    zippo59 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Is this purely based on statistics or is it your opinion?
     
  3. Patsfanin Philly

    Patsfanin Philly Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #95 Jersey

    If it's on stats alone, Gale Sayers is ranked low due to his brief career. Anyone who ever saw him run/juke on the football field has to rate him among the best'pure' runners ahead of some of the others.....
     
  4. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #75 Jersey

    I'm guessing this is opinion. I missed Dickerson the first time, and was going to pipe up. But he is underrated by the masses, like you say. In fact, I think you've underrated him as a pure runner. He should be MUCH higher than the likes of Shaun Alexander. He might be the most fluid ballcarrier I've ever seen.

    Props for William Andrews. One of my favorites from the early 80s who never gets mentioned. Extremely underrated. The other Falcon RB of note, Jamal Anderson, should probably be on the list.

    One of my other favorites from the early 80s who belongs on this list is Billy Sims. I would also submit Jim Nance.

    Entertaining.
     
  5. Boston Boxer

    Boston Boxer U.S. Air Force Retired PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #75 Jersey

    I cant take this serious if you have Payton #7...please
     
  6. Pats726

    Pats726 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    The one thing that has slanted this towards the last few decades is that before there were less games played..so obviouus less yards gained. So I think one has to look at it more on a per game basis to make a fair comparison.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 24, 2005
  7. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Stats are deceptive because of the changes in Medical tech which keeps guys productive for longer.

    Not a bad list. I would move up Sayers 7 Simpson, their presence on thefield altered the D more than many others on the list. I would also add John Henry Johnson who played in the 50 & 60's for the Lions and Steelers.
     
  8. AdamJT13

    AdamJT13 Practice Squad Player

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    Among the problems with this list is that it rewards players whose career ended (for whatever reason) when they were in their prime or barely past it. I wouldn't consider a player any more dominant, or in any way better, if he quit when he was in his prime than if he had played five more years, even if his career per-game averages went down. Barry Sanders and Jim Brown wouldn't have been any less dominant if they had played five more seasons (although their averages undoubtedly would have gone down), and Emmitt Smith wasn't any less dominant of a player just because he did play longer.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2006
  9. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    No Red Grange? How quickly we all forget.

    I guess four touchdowns and 262 yards in 12 minutes just isn't all that impressive in this day and age.

    His HB career was somewhat slowed after a strong and fast start - in which he nearly singlehandledly popularized Pro-Football - with an ACL tear - and of course there was no surgery to fix it them - but the tough SOB still played another 6 years on both sides of the ball, becoming a valueable DB even WITH a torn ACL.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2006
  10. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    I definitely took some of your suggestions into account, especially the great Billy Sims...
    I think once a runner reaches a certain base quantity of yards, like top 50 all-time, it should no longer be about “compiling” numbers to show how great he is, but about his per game averages, i.e. the overall dominance of your game, similar to a pitcher’s ERA. This way of looking at careers would discourage the “Willie Mays Syndrome”, because the longer a player hangs on past his prime, the less dominant his career becomes. I think the best way to figure out who the most dominant pure runners are, and I’m not talking about pass-catchers, but just pure runners, is to rank them against each other based on their averages PER GAME throughout their careers. So I compiled this list ranking each player in three categories against his peers: yards per carry, yards per game, and TDs per game over the course of his career. I reserved some authors license, for instance downgrading Robert Smith because his numbers were inflated running against 6 man fronts in a pass-dominated offense. You will find that many active players rank very highly. This is to be expected, because they are still in their prime. If Earl Campbell or Dickerson had been ranked after 5 years, like Tomlinson, they would have been off the charts. Needless to say, these active players will meet the same decline as the retired players once did and lapse back toward the mean. So here is the new top 40 list as it stands.
    Active players *.
    1. Jim Brown: simply the best
    2. Barry Sanders: lionheart
    3. T. Davis: cut down in his prime
    4. S. Alexander*: man on the way up
    5. Tomlinson*: starting to wear down?
    6. Dickerson: underrated troublemaker
    7. Payton: biggest little man in the world
    8. P. Holmes*: please retire
    9. F. Taylor*: big-market HOFer.
    10. E. James*: plenty left
    11. E. Campbell: battering ram frozen in time
    12. G. Sayers: brief but brilliant
    13. Simpson: didn’t score many TDs
    14. B. Sims: forgotten cowboy
    15. J. Lewis*: out of the joint, but looking for one
    16. E. Smith: strung a lot of garbage years together at the end
    17. J. Taylor: forgotten gem
    18. C. Dillon*: if only he hadn’t played for Cinci…
    19. M. Faulk*: disintegrating before our eyes…
    20. T. Dorsett: Landry limited his opportunities
    21. A. Green*: fumbling away his rep…
    22. W. Andrews: almost lost a leg
    23. C. Martin*: steady warhorse
    24. F. Harris: heart of a champion
    25. R. Watters: overlooked A-hole.
    26. Joe Perry: old school
    27. T. Thomas: still looking for his helmet
    28. T. Barber*: like fine wine
    29. R. Smith: got out unscathed
    30. Csonka: bulldozer
    31. Riggs: workhorse bowling ball
    32. R. Williams: coulda woulda shoulda
    33. F. McNeil: shifty thoroughbred
    34. J. Riggins: not as good as he thought he was
    35. M. Allen: 2 good years; an overrated compiler
    36. J. Bettis: Bus was outta gas 4 years ago.
    37. E. George: tough guy crawled to the finish line
    38. C. Muncie: Cokehead TD machine
    39. W. Tyler: overshadowed in the early 80s
    40. J.H.Johnson: Old-timer from the "million dollar backfield"

    Just missed the cut:
    J. Brooks: scat-back nightmare
    L. MCutcheon: Rams home run hitter
    J. Anderson: a knee injury short of the HOF
    W. Dunn: Flutie of Rbs
    H. Walker: USFL stole his prime
    T. Allen: overlooked underdog
    E. Byner: overcame the fumble
    R. Craig: high kick to glory
    N. Anderson: followed a tough act to follow
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2006
  11. Boston Boxer

    Boston Boxer U.S. Air Force Retired PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #75 Jersey

    Walter Payton is still #7...ugh
     
  12. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    It started out strictly statistical, but I made some logical adjustments.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 24, 2005
  13. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    Actually Sayers isn't penalized in any way for his short career here. Sayers averaged 5.0 yards per carry (tied for 2nd overall), 72.9 yards rushing per game (mid teens overall) and .57 TDs per game (11th overall). In many ways his short career helped him here as we only remember his prime years and he never "faded away" like Bettis or Emmitt.
     
  14. shakadave

    shakadave In the Starting Line-Up

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    I wonder if you could lessen the advantage active players hold, by crunching the numbers for a player's best five seasons? (he asked lazily from the couch, while PonyExpress did all the hard work!)

    Your list is legit in that you claim to rate pure runners (so, for example, Payton's blitz pickup skills don't help him on this list, nor should they). Since football is the true team game, to make the list even more legit you should add the language "[player] and his offensive line(s), with a nod also to his teammates' passing game, and to his defense for keeping his team ahead so they could keep running instead of passing for the whole second half."
     
  15. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    Shakadave,
    This is a great suggestion, and a friend of mine made the same one. Compare averages for the top 5 seasons for each player. This is a lot more time consuming, but might be the best way to do it and come up with a more accurate list.
     
  16. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    When all is said and done Dickerson will end up ahead of Alexander, because Alexander hasn't begun his decline yet. Once he does his averages will decline and he will tumble down the rankings. You couldn't be more right about the great Billy Sims. A total oversight. Maybe an all-time top 5 talent. What a shame today's surgery options weren't available in the early 80's. Jamal Anderson had that one phenomenal year, but over his career he averaged 4.0 yards per carry/ 60.0 yards per game/ .38 TDs per game. Most comparable careers to Jamal are Herschel Walker, Roger Craig, just a notch below the leaders on this list. Still, a beast in his prime.
     
  17. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    The ranking was done by averages per game, so length of seasons doesn't factor in.
     
  18. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    I agree and disagree. It was sad for Emmitt to stick around compiling numbers in order to pass a player like Payton, who was better than him. The numbers were meaningless and detracted from Emmitt's greatness instead of enhancing it. On the other hand, maybe the best way to do this list is to pick the 6 or 7 greatest seasons of each player. I think the number should be at least 6, so players like Sanders and Brown aren't penalized for having more great seasons than anyone else. I'll have to think that through more carefully.
     
  19. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    Sayers and Simpson will move up again once those actove players liek James, Alexander and Tomlinson begin to decline. Also, you were right on about John Henry Johnson. I was originally excluding players whose prime career was early 50's, but JHJ was still kicking arse in the early 60s. I would definitely slide him in at #40 now ahead of James Brooks.
     
  20. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    Hmmmm...Conversations with myself...:rolleyes:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 25, 2005

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