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Longest Streaks without a 1,000-yard rusher

Two weeks ago, I looked at the longest streaks where a team failed to have a player rush for 100 yards. Richie asked me if I could run the numbers on the longest streaks without a 1,000-yard rusher. The longest active streak in the NFL belongs to the Detroit Lions, who have not boasted a 1,000-yard rusher since Kevin Jones rushed for 1,133 yards as a rookie in 2004. Will Reggie Bush or Mikel Leshoure end that streak in 2013? Probably not.

It’s hard to look at these streaks across NFL history. For example, New York entered the NFL in 1925 and no Giant rushed for 1,000 yards until Ron A. Johnson in 1970. The Lions didn’t have a 1,000-yard rushing in their first 41 years, either. But we can look at the longest streaks that starter after the AFL-NFL merger. The modern Lions are the 12th team to go eight straight years without a 1,000 yard rusher over the last 43 years. As the longest streak? Well now we know why Miami drafted three running backs in consecutive rounds in 1996.

TeamFirst YrLast YrYrsStreak Breaker
MIA1979199517Karim Abdul-Jabbar
CLE1986200416Reuben Droughns
GNB1979199416Edgar Bennett
NYG1973198412Joe Morris
MIN1982199110Terry Allen
NOR1990199910Ricky Williams
NYJ1986199510Adrian Murrell
KAN199220009Priest Holmes
RAI198619949Harvey Williams
DET197219798Billy Sims
NYJ197619838Freeman McNeil
PIT198419918Barry Foster

Insert obligatory Dan Marino comment here.

  • JeremyDe

    Instead of the NFL merger, 2 better cutoff points might be 1961 and 1978 when the schedule increased to 14 and 16 respectively.

    I looked earlier, and prior to 1961, when the NFL played a 12-game schedule, there were only 14 thousand yard rushers. 9 of those were in the mid-late-50s. From 61 to 77, there were something like 84 thousand yard rushers. Since the NFL expanded to 16 games, there have been 478 thousand yard rushers. Granted the # of teams has gone up over time too.

  • Richie


    A friend of mine is a Packers fan. Back in the early 90’s we used to share our misery with our terrible running games for so long. (Since I really only became a Dolphins fan in about 1982 or 1983, Abdul-Jabbar was the first 1,000-yard rusher I knew of.)