Who is the Greatest Running Back of All-time?

In the stadium of the Detroit Lions, thousands of fans screaming “Barry! Barry! Barry!”, “Down the left sideline he goes! Across mid-field! To the 40, to the 30, to the 20, to the 10! Touchdown, Barry Sanders! Compared to Emmitt Smith, a man many people believe is the greatest running back of all time, Barry Sanders is the really the greatest of all time.

Barry Sanders Photoshop

CC licensed: Shea Huening via Flickr

A running back is an american football position. A member of the offensive backfield whose primary roles are to receive handoffs from the quarterback for a running play, catch passes from out the back field, and to block.

A comparison of rushing yards in one season proves that Barry is superior to Emmitt Smith. “Rushing yards” is a statistic in football that records the total number of yards gained by a single player as the result of a rushing play (or plays), in which the player carries the football as opposed to receiving a pass. In Barry’s best season he rushed for 2,053 yards which ranks him fourth for most rushing yards in a season. Emmitt rushed for 1,773 yards in his best season which ranks him twenty-third for most rushing yards in a season. This statistic proves Barry is better than Emmitt because he has more rushing yards in a season than Emmitt, and Barry also has another season rushing for 1,883 yards which ranks him eighth for most rushing yards in a season. This means Barry has two seasons that are better than Emmitt’s best season.

A comparison of how many times each of them were All-Pro’s also proves that Barry is superior to Emmitt. An All-Pro is an American football player in the National Football League voted as one of the best players of their position during a given season. All-Pro players for each position are selected to form an All-Pro team by a national panel of media members of the Associated Press. There is a First-team All-Pro where the two best running backs are selected, and there is a Second-team All-Pro where the runner-up is selected. Barry was a First-team All-Pro 6 times, and a Second-team All-Pro 4 times throughout his career which means he was an All-Pro all 10 seasons of his career. Emmitt was a First-team All-Pro 5 times, and a Second-team All-Pro 1 time throughout his career which means he was only an All-Pro 6 seasons of his career. This statistic proves that Barry is better than Emmitt because he was an All-Pro more times than Emmitt, and Barry was an All-Pro all of his 10 seasons while Emmitt was only an All-Pro 6 out of his 15 seasons.

Some people may argue that Emmitt the best running back because of career rushing yards. In Emmitt’s career he rushed for 18,355 yards which ranks him first in this category. Barry only rushed for 15,269 yards in his career which ranks him third of all-time in the same category. However, career length should be considered when comparing these two players. Emmitt’s career was 15 years long, and Barry’s was only 10 years long which means that Emmitt had 5 more years than Barry to rush for more yards. Take that into consideration, and it’s a whole different story. If Barry were to have an extra 5 years to play, he would be at 23,253 rushing yards which is more than Emmitt’s record by an astounding 4898 yards.

“I’m not better than anyone else. I’m not supposed to be on a pedestal. I’ve always stayed away from that.”- Barry Sanders. As humble as Barry is, his play on the field didn’t lie. No one has ever compared to the level of skill he had. Although many people consider Emmitt Smith the greatest running back of all time, Barry Sanders is really the Greatest of all time because of single-season rushing yards, the amount of times he’s been an All-Pro, and the amount of rushing yards he would’ve had in his career if he had played as long as Emmitt.