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Franchise leaders — rushing stats

Yesterday, we took a look at the franchise leaders in various passing categories. Let’s do the same for running backs today. The first list shows the leaders in career rushing yards for each franchise; the last column shows the last year that running back played for that franchise:

TeamYardsRunning BackLast Yr
STL9093Steven Jackson
SFO7625Frank Gore
CAR5047DeAngelo Williams
SDG12490LaDainian Tomlinson2009
GNB8322Ahman Green2009
JAX11271Fred Taylor2008
NOR6096Deuce McAllister2008
SEA9429Shaun Alexander2007
KAN6070Priest Holmes2007
NYG10449Tiki Barber2006
BAL7801Jamal Lewis2006
NYJ10302Curtis Martin2005
IND9226Edgerrin James2005
HOU3195Domanick Williams2005
TEN10009Eddie George2003
CIN8061Corey Dillon2003
DAL17162Emmitt Smith2002
DEN7607Terrell Davis2001
MIN6818Robert Smith2000
BUF11938Thurman Thomas1999
DET15269Barry Sanders1998
OAK8545Marcus Allen1992
TAM5957James Wilder1989
ATL6631Gerald Riggs1988
CHI16726Walter Payton1987
ARI7999Ottis Anderson1986
WAS7472John Riggins1985
PHI6538Wilbert Montgomery1984
PIT11950Franco Harris1983
NWE5453Sam Cunningham1982
MIA6737Larry Csonka1979
CLE12312Jim Brown1965

No ordinary running back will break his records

Had I written this article last year, the top of the list would look a bit different. Joe Perry held the 49ers rushing record for over 60 years — I profiled Gore’s chase of Perry over at smartfootball last year — making it one of the oldest records in the NFL. The mantle has now been passed to Jim Brown; and even if Trent Richardson turns into a star, it will be a long time before we can discuss his odds of breaking the Browns franchise record. On the other hand, Adrian Peterson is less than 100 yards from passing Robert Smith, a record he could set in week one of the 2012 season.

Sam Cunningham broke Jim Nance’s rushing mark in 1981; no Patriot has seriously challenged him since Curtis Martin left for the Jets. But the oldest record in the AFC East belongs to the Dolphins. Ricky Williams came within a few hundreds yards of Csonka, but that record looks set to stand for the foreseeable future. With a big season, Michael Turner could vault from 5th to 1st place on the Falcons list. He trails Riggs by 1350 yards, and would pass Jamal Anderson, Warrick Dunn, and William Andrews along the way.

The next list shows the career leaders in rushing touchdowns for each team.

TeamTDsRunning BackLast Yr
MIN64Adrian Peterson
ATL50Michael Turner
CAR38DeAngelo Williams
HOU29Arian Foster
NYG56Brandon Jacobs2011
SDG138LaDainian Tomlinson2009
JAX62Fred Taylor2008
NOR49Deuce McAllister2008
SEA100Shaun Alexander2007
KAN76Priest Holmes2007
TAM58Mike Alstott2006
BAL45Jamal Lewis2006
IND64Edgerrin James2005
NYJ58Curtis Martin2005
STL58Marshall Faulk2005
DAL153Emmitt Smith2002
DEN60Terrell Davis2001
BUF65Thurman Thomas1999
DET99Barry Sanders1998
OAK79Marcus Allen1992
CHI110Walter Payton1987
ARI46Ottis Anderson1986
WAS79John Riggins1985
TEN73Earl Campbell1984
PIT91Franco Harris1983
CIN64Pete Johnson1983
MIA53Larry Csonka1979
NWE45Jim Nance1971
GNB81Jim Taylor1966
CLE106Jim Brown1965
SFO50Joe Perry1963
PHI69Steve Van Buren1951

Cincinnati's career rushing touchdown leader for over 30 years

Steve Van Buren has held the Eagles rushing touchdown record for over 60 years; Brian Westbrook came close, but the record is safe unless and until LeSean McCoy rushes for another 42 touchdowns. Almost all of the long-standings records were set by Hall of Famers, with one exception.

Pete Johnson played fullback for Ohio State alongside Archie Griffin, and was drafted by the Bengals in the second round of the 1977 draft. Johnson rushed for double digit touchdowns three times in seven seasons with the Bengals. Since then, Rudi Johnson (48), Corey Dillon (45), James Brooks (37) and Larry Kinnebrew (37) have chased, but failed to catch, the former Bengals star. With no clear threat, this record could last for a surprisingly long time.

In one of the lesser publicized stories last year, Brandon Jacobs’ last regular season score with the Giants gave him the franchise’s rushing touchdown record. That’s a bit of Giants tradition: Joe Morris set the franchise mark with 48 rushing scores; Rodney Hampton managed 49 touchdowns with New York and no more, leaving him as the record holder until Tiki Barber ran for 55 touchdowns with Big Blue. What about the single-season rushing leaders?

TeamYardsRunning BackYear
JAX1606Maurice Jones-Drew2011
HOU1616Arian Foster2010
TEN2006Chris Johnson2009
MIN1760Adrian Peterson2008
CAR1515DeAngelo Williams2008
SDG1815LaDainian Tomlinson2006
KAN1789Larry Johnson2006
SFO1695Frank Gore2006
SEA1880Shaun Alexander2005
NYG1860Tiki Barber2005
WAS1516Clinton Portis2005
CIN1458Rudi Johnson2005
NYJ1697Curtis Martin2004
NWE1635Corey Dillon2004
BAL2066Jamal Lewis2003
GNB1883Ahman Green2003
MIA1853Ricky Williams2002
IND1709Edgerrin James2000
DEN2008Terrell Davis1998
ATL1846Jamal Anderson1998
DET2053Barry Sanders1997
DAL1773Emmitt Smith1995
PIT1690Barry Foster1992
OAK1759Marcus Allen1985
STL2105Eric Dickerson1984
TAM1544James Wilder1984
NOR1674George Rogers1981
ARI1605Ottis Anderson1979
PHI1512Wilbert Montgomery1979
CHI1852Walter Payton1977
BUF2003O.J. Simpson1973
CLE1863Jim Brown1963

Shady McCoy? Nope, Wilbert Montgomery is the only Eagle to rush for 1,500 yards in a season

With the switch to the 16-game season starting in 1978 and the focus on one running back in the ’90s and ’00s, most of the single season rushing records have been set relatively recently. Only nine single-season rushing marks were set before 1986, while more than half of the records have been set in the last decade.

Only the Bengals have never had a 1500-yard rusher, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis isn’t likely to change that in 2012. While it’s extremely impressive that Simpson, Brown, and Payton have been able to hold on to their franchise rushing records for decades, note that all three set their mark during fourteen game seasons. In fact, those three actually rank 1-2-3 in single-season rushing yards per game, ahead of Eric Dickerson’s 1984 campaign when he set the single-season rushing record with 2,105 yards.

Let’s close today with a look at each team’s single-season rushing TD leaders.

TeamTDsRunning BackLast Yr
PHI17LeSean McCoy2011
HOU16Arian Foster2010
MIN18Adrian Peterson2009
JAX15Maurice Jones-Drew2009
NYJ14Thomas Jones2009
SFO10Frank Gore2009
CAR18DeAngelo Williams2008
ATL17Michael Turner2008
SDG28LaDainian Tomlinson2006
SEA27Shaun Alexander2005
KAN27Priest Holmes2003
BAL14Jamal Lewis2003
MIA16Ricky Williams2002
DEN21Terrell Davis1998
DAL25Emmitt Smith1995
NWE14Curtis Martin1995
DET16Barry Sanders1991
CIN15Ickey Woods1988
NYG21Joe Morris1985
TAM13James Wilder1984
WAS24John Riggins1983
STL18Eric Dickerson1983
NOR13George Rogers1981
TEN19Earl Campbell1979
CHI14Walter Payton1977
PIT14Franco Harris1976
OAK16Pete Banaszak1975
BUF16O.J. Simpson1975
CLE17Jim Brown1965
IND16Lenny Moore1964
GNB19Jim Taylor1962
ARI14John David Crow1962

James Wilder fought for every touchdown

I doubt most Cardinals fans could name John David Crow, much less guess that he is the only Cardinal to rush for 14 touchdowns in a season. Crow set the mark 50 years ago, only a couple of years after the franchise had begun playing in St. Louis. You might be a bit surprised to see that the 49ers have never had a player rush for more than 10 touchdowns before. Gore shares his spot on the single-season list with five other 49ers who have rushed for exactly 10 touchdowns in a season: Derek Loville, Ricky Watters, J.D. Smith, Joe Perry (twice), and Billy Kilmer. In 1984, James Wilder rushed 407 times for the Bucs, and gained 1,544 yards and 13 touchdowns. That year he also caught 85 passes, making him the swiss-army knife of the 6-10 Buccaneers.

  • Richie

    Fun stuff. I decided to try to guess all the answers before reading the list. I got 59% correct. I only got all 4 answers correct for 9 teams (Bal, Chi, Cle, Dal, Den, Det, Mia, SD, Sea) The same player holds all 4 records for 8 of those teams. The 9th is my favorite team – the Dolphins.

    I assume WR are coming tomorrow, so I should start thinking about those guys.

  • Chase Stuart

    Good guessing Richie.

  • Andrew

    I was thinking Larry Centers for the Cardinals single season TD record, but alas, it was not to be. What really surprised me was Rudi Johnson being the single season leader in yardage for the Bengals. I really thought that would be Dillon. I clearly need to bone up on my franchise records…