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Checkdowns: Some Bo Jackson stats

The Bills get to know Bo.

Tonight ESPN aired You Don’t Know Bo, another excellent documentary in its 30 for 30 series. It’s often said that Bo Jackson’s greatness can’t be captured by statistics. While that’s undoubtedly true, there are still some ways to use Jackson’s numbers to give a glimpse into the type of player he was. A few years ago, Jason Lisk talked about Bo in this podcast and noted that Bo had the longest rush in the NFL in three of the four seasons he played. Jackson and O.J. Simpson remain the only two players to record the league’s longest rush in three different NFL seasons.

There are other ways to capture what Bo did in his brief career. Because he was busy being a baseball player, Bo missed the first third of the season each year. If we look at the data starting in week 7, from 1988 to 1990, Bo compares pretty favorably to the elite running backs of his day. Over that span he ranked third in rushing yards while averaging over five yards per carry:

Rank Player From To Tm G Att Yds Y/A TD
1 Eric Dickerson* 1988 1990 CLT 30 606 2536 4.18 19
2 Thurman Thomas* 1988 1990 BUF 30 519 2221 4.28 16
3 Bo Jackson 1988 1990 RAI 30 423 2143 5.07 11
4 James Brooks 1988 1990 CIN 30 383 2082 5.44 16
5 John Stephens 1988 1990 NWE 31 523 1989 3.80 10
6 Herschel Walker 1988 1990 TOT 30 494 1985 4.02 13
7 Barry Sanders* 1989 1990 DET 20 370 1968 5.32 19
8 Neal Anderson 1988 1990 CHI 29 455 1951 4.29 14
9 Roger Craig 1988 1990 SFO 27 445 1874 4.21 12
10 Earnest Byner 1988 1990 TOT 31 438 1697 3.87 14

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