The Most Famous Running Back, Ranked

Choose the running back you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 17, 2024 07:15
Fans of football often debate the skills and legacies of top running backs, each bringing unique perspectives based on their favorite teams, gameplay memories, and player statistics. Understanding who stands out in this crucial position helps fans connect over past games and legendary performances. This online voting system allows everyone to have a say in ranking the best of the best, contributing to a comprehensive list that reflects a wide array of opinions and insights. By participating in the voting process, users contribute to a broader conversation about sportsmanship, strategy, and athletic prowess. This dynamic ranking changes with each vote, offering a real-time reflection of public opinion. It invites an interactive experience where every fan’s opinion helps shape the ongoing history and appreciation of professional football running backs.

Who Is the Most Famous Running Back?

  1. 1
    Barry Sanders is considered by many to be the greatest running back of all time, Sanders was a ten-time Pro Bowler and won the NFL MVP award in 1997.
    Barry Sanders in other rankings
  2. 2
    Walter Payton
    Jeno's · Public domain
    Walter Payton is known as "Sweetness," Payton was a nine-time Pro Bowler and won the NFL MVP award in 1977. He held the record for most career rushing yards until it was broken by Emmitt Smith.
    Walter Payton in other rankings
  3. 3
    Emmitt Smith is the all-time leading rusher in NFL history, Smith won three Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys and was a eight-time Pro Bowler.
    Emmitt Smith in other rankings
  4. 4
    Jim Brown
    Phil Konstantin · Public domain
    Jim Brown is considered one of the greatest athletes of all time, Brown was a nine-time Pro Bowler and won three NFL MVP awards. He led the league in rushing yards for eight of his nine seasons.
    Jim Brown in other rankings
  5. 5
    Eric Dickerson
    Blueag9 · Public domain
    Dickerson set the single-season rushing record in 1984 and was a six-time Pro Bowler. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his first seven seasons.
  6. 6
    O.J. Simpson
    Gerald Johnson · Public domain
    O.J. Simpson is known as "The Juice," Simpson won the Heisman Trophy in college and was a five-time Pro Bowler in the NFL. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in six seasons.
    O.J. Simpson in other rankings
  7. 7
    Campbell won the Heisman Trophy in college and was a five-time Pro Bowler in the NFL. He won the NFL MVP award in 1979 and rushed for over 1,000 yards in four seasons.
  8. 8
    Faulk was a seven-time Pro Bowler and won the NFL MVP award in 2000. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in seven seasons and was also a threat as a receiver.
  9. 9
    Peterson has rushed for over 14,000 yards in his career and won the NFL MVP award in 2012. He has been named to the Pro Bowl eight times.
    Adrian Peterson in other rankings
  10. 10
    Gale Sayers
    Blueag9 · Public domain
    Gale Sayers is known as the "Kansas Comet," Sayers was a four-time Pro Bowler and won the NFL Rookie of the Year award in 1965. He had a short career due to injuries, but is still considered one of the greatest running backs of all time.

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Ranking factors for famous running back

  1. Career Statistics
    The player's overall rushing yards, touchdowns, and other statistical achievements can help determine their impact and productivity on the field.
  2. Awards and Accolades
    Consideration should be given to the number of Pro Bowl selections, All-Pro honors, MVP awards, and other prestigious titles the player has received throughout their career.
  3. Team Success
    A running back's contribution to their team's success, including playoff appearances, Super Bowl wins, and team records, can influence their fame and perception in the league.
  4. Longevity and Consistency
    The length of a running back's career and their ability to perform at a high level consistently over time can establish their reputation and impact on the game.
  5. Cultural Impact
    Outside of on-field performance, a player's influence on popular culture, their marketing appeal, endorsements, and overall public recognition can also contribute to their fame as a running back.
  6. Highlight Moments
    Memorable plays, record-breaking performances, and iconic moments that resonate with fans and the media can elevate a running back's fame and legacy.
  7. Overall Legacy
    Considering the player's overall impact on the sport, their influence on future generations of running backs, and how they are remembered by fans and fellow players can play a significant role in determining their fame.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous running back. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or Back is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 147 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each Back once every 24 hours. The rank of each Back is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most famous running back

Background Information: Who is the Most Famous Running Back? The position of running back in American football is among the most prestigious and highly sought-after positions on the field. Running backs are responsible for carrying the ball during offensive plays, and their success can make all the difference in a game. Over the years, many legendary running backs have made their mark on the game, leaving behind a legacy that has been celebrated and debated by fans and experts alike. When it comes to determining the most famous running back of all time, there are several candidates to consider. Many fans and analysts point to Jim Brown as the most dominant running back in NFL history. Brown played for the Cleveland Browns from 1957 to 1965, and his record-breaking performances and powerful running style earned him a place in the Hall of Fame. Other notable running backs include Walter Payton, Emmitt Smith, and Barry Sanders, all of whom have set records and won accolades for their contributions to the game. Ultimately, the question of who is the most famous running back is one that is open to interpretation. Each fan has their own favorite player, and there are many factors to consider when assessing a player's legacy. However, there is no denying that running backs have played a crucial role in shaping the history of American football, and their contributions will continue to be celebrated for years to come.

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