≡ Menu

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a list of the best rushing teams in 2013 using Adjusted Yards per Carry. That metric, you may recall, is calculated as follows:

Rushing Yards + 20*RushingTDs + 9*RushingFirstDowns

We can use the same formula to grade every team across history. To account for era and quantity (having more above-average rush attempts is better), I calculated each team’s AdjYPC average, subtracted the league-average AdjYPC average, and multiplied that difference by the team’s number of rush attempts.

The top team by this method isn’t even an NFL team: it’s the 1948 San Francisco 49ers. You may recall that the 49ers and Browns staged two epic battles that season, and may have been the best two teams in pro football. That season, San Francisco averaged 6.1 yards per carry and rushed for 35 touchdowns on 600 carries; along with 152 first downs, and the 49ers averaged 9.5 Adjusted yards per Carry. That’s the highest average ever, just narrowly topping the production of the franchise’s Million Dollar Backfield six years later. Joe Perry was on both teams because Joe Perry was the man.

The table below shows the traditional rushing data for the top 200 rushing teams of all time; the VALUE column represents the number of Adjusted Rushing Yards produced above average (i.e., relative to the league average AdjYPC). I’ve also listed the three most prominent rushers on each team.

Rk
Tm
Year
Rsh
Yds
TD
FD
AdjYPC
VALUE
Runners
1SFO19486033663351529.51271Johnny Strzykalski; Joe Perry; Frankie Albert
2SFO19544422498281259.461269Joe Perry; John Henry Johnson; Hugh McElhenny
3DET19365912885221708.211218Ace Gutowsky; Dutch Clark; Ernie Caddel
4CHI19414952156301127.61163George McAfee; Norm Standlee; Hugh Gallarneau
5CAR20114452408261399.391127Cam Newton; DeAngelo Williams; Jonathan Stewart
6NWE19786713165301818.041061Sam Cunningham; Horace Ivory; Andy Johnson
7CLE19634602639151359.031060Jim Brown; Ernie Green; Frank Ryan
8BUF19755882974261628.421031O.J. Simpson; Jim Braxton; Joe Ferguson
9DET19974472464191208.781016Barry Sanders; Tommy Vardell; Ron Rivers
10MIN20074942634221318.611002Adrian Peterson; Chester Taylor; Tarvaris Jackson
11MIN20024732507261399.04990Michael Bennett; Daunte Culpepper; Moe Williams
12SFO19495062798261178.64980Joe Perry; Sam Cathcart; Johnny Strzykalski
13CHI19394392043211488.64964Bill Osmanski; Joe Maniaci; Ray Nolting
14KAN20024622378261409946Priest Holmes; Trent Green; Mike Cloud
15SDG20065222578321378.53935LaDainian Tomlinson; Michael Turner; Lorenzo Neal
16GNB19625182460361458.66934Jim Taylor; Tom Moore; Paul Hornung
17SEA20055192457291428.31924Shaun Alexander; Maurice Morris; Matt Hasselbeck
18SFO19534432230261288.81919Joe Perry; Hugh McElhenny; Joe Arenas
19SFO19984912544191298.32910Garrison Hearst; Steve Young; Terry Kirby
20SFO19934632133261348.33895Ricky Watters; Steve Young; Marc Logan
21WAS20125192709221448.56894Alfred Morris; Robert Griffin; Evan Royster
22CLE19664152166181178.62885Leroy Kelly; Ernie Green; Frank Ryan
23CIN19885632710271598.31884Ickey Woods; James Brooks; Stanley Wilson
24SDG19633952201201129.14883Paul Lowe; Keith Lincoln; Gerry McDougall
25BUF19736053088201528.03873O.J. Simpson; Jim Braxton; Larry Watkins
26NYY19475342930271208.52870Spec Sanders; Buddy Young; Eddie Prokop
27GNB19614742350271428.79853Jim Taylor; Paul Hornung; Tom Moore
28NWE19765912948241508.08852Sam Cunningham; Andy Johnson; Don Calhoun
29MIA19726132960261708.17849Mercury Morris; Larry Csonka; Jim Kiick
30GNB19604632150291358.52841Jim Taylor; Paul Hornung; Tom Moore
31PHI20104282324181168.71828LeSean McCoy; Michael Vick; Jerome Harrison
32DET19903661927191129.06826Barry Sanders; Rodney Peete; Bob Gagliano
33KAN20044962289311388.37823Priest Holmes; Larry Johnson; Derrick Blaylock
34CHI193456728472005.73823Beattie Feathers; Bronko Nagurski; Gene Ronzani
35RAM19845412864161408.21812Eric Dickerson; Dwayne Crutchfield; Barry Redden
36STL20003831843261128.8811Marshall Faulk; Justin Watson; Robert Holcombe
37DEN19985252468261358.01808Terrell Davis; Derek Loville; Bubby Brister
38RAM19544322140241158.46807Dan Towler; Tank Younger; Skeets Quinlan
39CIN19865212533241348.1804James Brooks; Larry Kinnebrew; Stanley Wilson
40DEN20055422539251458.01802Mike Anderson; Tatum Bell; Ron Dayne
41DET19815962795261678.08800Billy Sims; Dexter Bussey; Rick Kane
42NOR19795512476281608.12797Chuck Muncie; Tony Galbreath; Mike Strachan
43DAL19954952201291418.18796Emmitt Smith; Sherman Williams; Daryl Johnston
44PHI20114502276201348.63795LeSean McCoy; Michael Vick; Ronnie Brown
45CLE19584752526241278.73791Jim Brown; Bobby Mitchell; Lew Carpenter
46RAM19514262210221148.63781Dan Towler; Dick Hoerner; Tank Younger
47SFO19924822315221358.24780Ricky Watters; Steve Young; Amp Lee
48MIA19775192366181437.73780Benny Malone; Gary Davis; Leroy Harris
49DET19894212053231178.47779Barry Sanders; Bob Gagliano; Rodney Peete
50CLE19654762331191338.21777Jim Brown; Ernie Green; Leroy Kelly
51PHI20135002566191338.29772LeSean McCoy; Bryce Brown; Michael Vick
52PIT19724972520221318.33765Franco Harris; John Fuqua; Terry Bradshaw
53PIT19766532971331637.81760Franco Harris; Rocky Bleier; Reggie Harrison
54BOS193346722601105.31759Jim Musick; Cliff Battles; Ernie Pinckert
55KAN19664392274191068.22754Mike Garrett; Bert Coan; Curtis McClinton
56ATL20045242672201338.15753Warrick Dunn; Michael Vick; T.J. Duckett
57KAN20055202382261387.97746Larry Johnson; Priest Holmes; Trent Green
58IND19854852439221318.37741Randy McMillan; George Wonsley; Albert Bentley
59CRD19485312560251358.05737Charlie Trippi; Elmer Angsman; Pat Harder
60CHI19355392096131406.71721Gene Ronzani; Keith Molesworth; Beattie Feathers
61CHI19856102761271768.01713Walter Payton; Matt Suhey; Jim McMahon
62DAL19745422454221477.78712Calvin Hill; Robert Newhouse; Walt Garrison
63STL19704291998181107.8711MacArthur Lane; Johnny Roland; Cid Edwards
64CHI1942470188123986.86709Gary Famiglietti; Hugh Gallarneau; Frank Maznicki
65ATL2006537293991348.05708Warrick Dunn; Michael Vick; Jerious Norwood
66CHI19775992811181417.41708Walter Payton; Roland Harper; Robin Earl
67CHI19654792131271328.06708Gale Sayers; Ronnie Bull; Jon Arnett
68CLE19474792557241088.37708Marion Motley; Edgar Jones; Bill Boedeker
69SDG20034172146161178.44698LaDainian Tomlinson; Doug Flutie; Tim Dwight
70JAX20065132541231278.08689Fred Taylor; Maurice Jones-Drew; David Garrard
71CLE19603831930181078.49685Jim Brown; Bobby Mitchell; Prentice Gautt
72RAM19534262148231058.34685Dan Towler; Skeets Quinlan; Tank Younger
73SEA19785612394281507.67682David Sims; Sherman Smith; Jim Zorn
74DTX19614392183231128.32674Abner Haynes; Frank Jackson; Jack Spikes
75ATL20055312546171397.79667Warrick Dunn; Michael Vick; T.J. Duckett
76MIN20114482318181188.35667Adrian Peterson; Toby Gerhart; Percy Harvin
77PHI1945381163826747.41667Steve Van Buren; Ernie Steele; Mel Bleeker
78DAL19664712122241247.89661Dan Reeves; Don Perkins; Don Meredith
79MIN19914642201181257.94654Herschel Walker; Terry Allen; Rich Gannon
80GNB19644952276231337.95654Jim Taylor; Paul Hornung; Tom Moore
81PIT20015802774171487.67653Jerome Bettis; Kordell Stewart; Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala
82MIN20124862634161138.17646Adrian Peterson; Christian Ponder; Toby Gerhart
83WAS19994632039231217.75645Stephen Davis; Skip Hicks; Brian Mitchell
84DET1994406208012947.8644Barry Sanders; Derrick Moore; Brett Perriman
85MIN20134232081231068.26643Adrian Peterson; Toby Gerhart; Christian Ponder
86STL20014162027201048.08643Marshall Faulk; Trung Canidate; Robert Holcombe
87CHI19866062700211667.61642Walter Payton; Thomas Sanders; Matt Suhey
88HOU20104232042201188.28638Arian Foster; Derrick Ward; Steve Slaton
89SFO19994182095141027.88636Charlie Garner; Fred Beasley; Jeff Garcia
90DEN20024572266211258.34634Clinton Portis; Mike Anderson; Olandis Gary
91BAL19564322202211068.28633Alan Ameche; Lenny Moore; Billy Vessels
92CLE19644352163141198.08632Jim Brown; Ernie Green; Frank Ryan
93KAN20034461929321208.18632Priest Holmes; Derrick Blaylock; Trent Green
94GNB20035072558181278.01631Ahman Green; Najeh Davenport; Tony Fisher
95DEN19965252362201347.56630Terrell Davis; John Elway; Aaron Craver
96PIT19795612603251417.79626Franco Harris; Sidney Thornton; Rocky Bleier
97CHI19554872388191187.86624Rick Casares; Bobby Watkins; John Hoffman
98SFO20124922491171288.1617Frank Gore; Colin Kaepernick; Kendall Hunter
99WAS19704442021111227.52610Larry Brown Jr.; Charlie Harraway; Henry Dyer
100DAL19715122249251357.74607Duane Thomas; Calvin Hill; Walt Garrison
101OAK20005202470231287.85606Tyrone Wheatley; Rich Gannon; Napoleon Kaufman
102TEN20094992592191158.03606Chris Johnson; Vince Young; LenDale White
103SFO19854772232201378.1603Roger Craig; Wendell Tyler; Joe Montana
104RAM1945372171419687.27600Fred Gehrke; Don Greenwood; Jim Gillette
105PHI20034172015231058.2599Brian Westbrook; Correll Buckhalter; Duce Staley
106SFO19885272523181417.88598Roger Craig; Tom Rathman; Steve Young
107DEN19975202378181387.65598Terrell Davis; Vaughn Hebron; John Elway
108CLE19674442139151197.91596Leroy Kelly; Ernie Green; Larry Conjar
109CAR20085042437301188.13596DeAngelo Williams; Jonathan Stewart; Jake Delhomme
110PHI19925162388191387.77595Herschel Walker; Heath Sherman; Randall Cunningham
111RAM19563841978151038.35589Tank Younger; Ron Waller; Tommy Wilson
112STL19795662582241457.72587Ottis Anderson; Wayne Morris; Theotis Brown
113CHI19474481959211227.76587Joe Osmanski; Don Kindt; Mike Holovak
114DET19963891810151057.85582Barry Sanders; Scott Mitchell; Ron Rivers
115NYG20085022518191308.1579Brandon Jacobs; Derrick Ward; Ahmad Bradshaw
116DET193463227402705.19578Dutch Clark; Ace Gutowsky; Ernie Caddel
117RAM19464041683161027.23577Fred Gehrke; Tom Harmon; Mike Holovak
118HOU19805732635181557.66571Earl Campbell; Rob Carpenter; Tim Wilson
119PIT19965252299181387.43563Jerome Bettis; Erric Pegram; Kordell Stewart
120DAL19684802091221357.8563Don Perkins; Craig Baynham; Walt Garrison
121SDG19914642248161147.75562Marion Butts; Rod Bernstine; Ronnie Harmon
122OAK19714732130191287.74561Marv Hubbard; Pete Banaszak; Clarence Davis
123DTX19624792407211198.14556Abner Haynes; Curtis McClinton; Len Dawson
124BUF19915052381161287.63553Thurman Thomas; Kenneth Davis; Carwell Gardner
125DEN20035432629201337.78553Clinton Portis; Quentin Griffin; Mike Anderson
126MIA19714862429111217.69552Larry Csonka; Jim Kiick; Mercury Morris
127SFO19614482100271168.22550J.D. Smith; Billy Kilmer; C.R. Roberts
128MIA20025302502241397.99549Ricky Williams; Travis Minor; Ray Lucas
129PHI1944424166323736.56547Steve Van Buren; Jack Hinkle; Mel Bleeker
130CIN19895292483171367.65545James Brooks; Eric Ball; Stanford Jennings
131OAK19725212376201457.83544Marv Hubbard; Charlie Smith; Clarence Davis
132SFO19845342465211387.73542Wendell Tyler; Roger Craig; Bill Ring
133PIT19755812633221497.6540Franco Harris; Rocky Bleier; John Fuqua
134RAM19736592925181777.4539Lawrence McCutcheon; Jim Bertelsen; Tony Baker
135JAX20105122395141487.83538Maurice Jones-Drew; Rashad Jennings; David Garrard
136CHI19895162287221367.66535Neal Anderson; Brad Muster; Jim Harbaugh
137NOR20114312127161168.1535Pierre Thomas; Darren Sproles; Mark Ingram
138DET19374842074121207.01534Dutch Clark; Ernie Caddel; Ace Gutowsky
139SEA19954772178201217.69531Chris Warren; Steve Broussard; Lamar Smith
140NYG19924582077201207.77526Rodney Hampton; Jarrod Bunch; Jeff Hostetler
141KAN19786632986191607.25525Tony Reed; Ted McKnight; Arnold Morgado
142PIT19975722479191547.42524Jerome Bettis; Kordell Stewart; George Jones
143RAM19474592171151127.58518Kenny Washington; Tom Harmon; Fred Gehrke
144SDG20054652072221167.65518LaDainian Tomlinson; Michael Turner; Lorenzo Neal
145CHI19565362468221407.78517Rick Casares; Perry Jeter; Bobby Watkins
146STL19604842356131277.77514John David Crow; Frank Mestnik; Mal Hammack
147CLE19523941786121057.54512Ken Carpenter; Marion Motley; Chick Jagade
148MIN20004282129141077.88511Robert Smith; Daunte Culpepper; Moe Williams
149PHI1943459173018966.44508Jack Hinkle; Ernie Steele; Johnny Butler
150WAS19374501604111497.03506Cliff Battles; Don Irwin; Sammy Baugh
151MIN19655052278191307.58506Bill Brown; Tommy Mason; Fran Tarkenton
152PHI20074211974121187.78505Brian Westbrook; Correll Buckhalter; Donovan McNabb
153WAS19383881424101477.6505Andy Farkas; Max Krause; Frank Filchock
154DAL19934902161201207.43505Emmitt Smith; Derrick Lassic; Lincoln Coleman
155MIA19735072521161117.57502Mercury Morris; Larry Csonka; Jim Kiick
156DAL19786252783221467.26501Tony Dorsett; Robert Newhouse; Scott Laidlaw
157STL19994312059131027.51497Marshall Faulk; Robert Holcombe; Justin Watson
158CHI19515392408241417.71495John Dottley; George Gulyanics; Julie Rykovich
159DEN19744862157201207.48494Otis Armstrong; Jon Keyworth; Floyd Little
160DET19805722599211437.53494Billy Sims; Dexter Bussey; Gary Danielson
161PHI19815592509171577.62494Wilbert Montgomery; Hubie Oliver; Booker Russell
162RAM1958345173418938.5492Jon Arnett; Tommy Wilson; Joe Marconi
163CLE1946496197827796.51491Marion Motley; Edgar Jones; Don Greenwood
164PIT19745462417191367.36490Franco Harris; Rocky Bleier; Preston Pearson
165BAL20094682200221157.85485Ray Rice; Willis McGahee; Le'Ron McClain
166RAM19504041711281128.12483Dick Hoerner; Glenn Davis; Paul Barry
167DAL19705222300161197.07483Duane Thomas; Calvin Hill; Walt Garrison
168RAM19835112253201487.8478Eric Dickerson; Barry Redden; Mike Guman
169OAK20105042494191137.72476Darren McFadden; Michael Bush; Jason Campbell
170LAC1960397190023968.12474Paul Lowe; Howie Ferguson; Jack Kemp
171KAN19674622018181167.41472Mike Garrett; Curtis McClinton; Bert Coan
172SFO1952421190516977.36470Joe Perry; Hugh McElhenny; Joe Arenas
173WAS1945394170815776.86470Frank Akins; Merl Condit; Wilbur Moore
174KAN20014482008161197.59469Priest Holmes; Tony Richardson; Trent Green
175BAL19644562007291007.65466Lenny Moore; Tony Lorick; Jerry Hill
176CLE19594572149201187.9466Jim Brown; Bobby Mitchell; Milt Plum
177NWE20125232184251517.73465Stevan Ridley; Danny Woodhead; Brandon Bolden
178SDG19694551985181197.51464Dickie Post; Brad Hubbert; Russ Smith
179NWE19835382605191307.72463Tony Collins; Mosi Tatupu; Robert Weathers
180CRD19494672130211067.5462Elmer Angsman; Charlie Trippi; Pat Harder
181WAS19404001402151477.56461Dick Todd; Jimmy Johnston; Bob Seymour
182CIN19994422051111117.4460Corey Dillon; Jeff Blake; Michael Basnight
183JAX20075222391181277.46459Fred Taylor; Maurice Jones-Drew; David Garrard
184BUF19625012480201197.89455Cookie Gilchrist; Wayne Crow; Wray Carlton
185CAR20124622088211237.82454Cam Newton; DeAngelo Williams; Jonathan Stewart
186GNB20134592136171197.73452Eddie Lacy; James Starks; Johnathan Franklin
187NYG20064552156141207.73452Tiki Barber; Brandon Jacobs; Chad Morton
188SEA19944802084161147.15448Chris Warren; Mack Strong; Rick Mirer
189CHI19485572452251347.46447George Gulyanics; George McAfee; J.R. Boone
190CIN19704612057161007.11444Paul Robinson; Jess Phillips; Essex Johnson
191DAL19735422418171397.4441Calvin Hill; Walt Garrison; Robert Newhouse
192CHI1943422165114846.37439Harry Clarke; Dante Magnani; Gary Famiglietti
193NYG20054692209171067.47438Tiki Barber; Brandon Jacobs; Derrick Ward
194NWE20085132278211457.8437Sammy Morris; Kevin Faulk; LaMont Jordan
195BAL19584562127241178.03437Alan Ameche; Lenny Moore; L.G. Dupre
196WAS19964671910271067.29435Terry Allen; Brian Mitchell; Stephen Davis
197SFO20024892244161417.84434Garrison Hearst; Kevan Barlow; Jeff Garcia
198RAM19593711778151018.05433Ollie Matson; Jon Arnett; Joe Marconi
199NYG20074692148151197.5433Brandon Jacobs; Derrick Ward; Reuben Droughns
200PHI1965404182421947.65432Timmy Brown; Earl Gros; Tom Woodeshick
  • The 2013 Eagles had a great rushing attack, but only rank 51st on the list. Much higher was Washington’s running game from two years ago, powered by a pair of rookies. And the 2011 Panthers check in at #5, with three players who rushed for at least 700 yards.
  • As always, the table is fully searchable and sortable. You can type in “nyj” to see all the Jets teams, but alas, none crack the top 200. If you type in ‘nyg’ you will find that the Giants make the top 200 in each year from 2005 to 2008. That’s pretty surprising to me. If you type in ‘cle’ you’ll find a host of Jim Brown Browns teams, but also the Leroy Kelly/Ernie Green Browns in the years immediately after Brown’s retirement.
  • Type in “Vick” and you’ll see that three of Michael Vick‘s Falcons teams, and three of his Eagles teams, fall in the top 75.

What about the worst 200 rushing teams of all time? It’s pretty easy to create that list, too. Take a look:

Rk
Tm
Year
Rsh
Yds
TD
FD
AdjYPC
VALUE
Runners
1BCL194741711617654.52-988Bus Mertes; Billy Hillenbrand; Frankie Sinkwich
2HOU200242413476594.71-950Jonathan Wells; James Allen; David Carr
3PIT19615431761101025.3-919John Henry Johnson; Tom Tracy; Dick Hoak
4NYG195339810496664.43-917Sonny Grandelius; Eddie Price; Kyle Rote
5BOS19443244715362.76-811Bob Davis; Milt Crain; George Cafego
6NWE1986469137310774.83-808Craig James; Tony Collins; Mosi Tatupu
7CHR1948484171981025.78-783Eddie Prokop; Jim Mello; Dewey Proctor
8WAS196136110729554.84-778Dick James; Sam Horner; Don Bosseler
9PHI195440111964664.66-774Jim Parmer; Toy Ledbetter; Jerry Williams
10BAL201342313287684.92-772Ray Rice; Bernard Pierce; Joe Flacco
11TAM198342813539725.1-756James Wilder; James Owens; Mel Carver
12WAS195650117435915.31-751Leo Elter; Tommy Runnels; Dick James
13BKN19433336104393.13-733Pug Manders; Merl Condit; Ken Heineman
14WAS1962371108810594.9-724Billy Ray Barnes; Don Bosseler; Jim Cunningham
15WAS197345914399765.02-719Larry Brown Jr.; Charlie Harraway; Duane Thomas
16PHI197140712486654.8-715Ronnie Bull; Lee Bouggess; Tom Woodeshick
17ATL1978533166013905.12-712Bubba Bean; Haskel Stanback; Ricky Patton
18BOS19473439735494.41-698Frank Seno; Boley Dancewicz; Bill Paschal
19NYG1951491171310815.38-694Eddie Price; Joe Scott; Kyle Rote
20MIA194640884813503.82-694Pres Johnston; Jimmy Nelson; Don Reece
21TEN2003486162311845.35-689Eddie George; Robert Holcombe; Chris Brown
22DET198839112437634.99-687Garry James; James Jones; Tony Paige
23BOS194836511704554.78-687Bill Paschal; Frank Seno; Frank Muehlheuser
24WAS1974470144311775.01-684Larry Brown Jr.; Duane Thomas; Moses Denson
25PIT1936472110041174.73-672Warren Heller; Bull Karcis; Art Strutt
26NYG199648516034824.99-663Rodney Hampton; Tyrone Wheatley; Dave Brown
27ARI200536011382584.72-652Marcel Shipp; J.J. Arrington; Josh McCown
28BAL1979515167412975.41-652Joe Washington; Don Hardeman; Don McCauley
29NWE1994478133212834.85-650Marion Butts; Leroy Thompson; Kevin Turner
30PIT195739011747594.73-643Billy Wells; Fran Rogel; Dick Young
31ATL1977582189091025.13-638Haskel Stanback; Woody Thompson; Monroe Eley
32PHI19515091562131115.54-638Frank Ziegler; Steve Van Buren; Jim Parmer
33TAM197746514244844.86-637Ricky Bell; Anthony Davis; Jimmy DuBose
34PIT2003446148810775.34-636Jerome Bettis; Amos Zereoue; Antwaan Randle El
35TAM197643315035715.18-635Louis Carter; Ed Williams; Essex Johnson
36DEN1967420126510654.88-632Floyd Little; Bo Hickey; Wendell Hayes
37SEA1984495164510945.44-632Eric Lane; David Hughes; Dave Krieg
38GNB197746914645814.89-629Barty Smith; Eric Torkelson; Nate Simpson
39CHI200742313308745.1-628Cedric Benson; Adrian Peterson; Garrett Wolfe
40CHH194934210809464.89-618Bob Hoernschemeyer; Johnny Clement; Rip Collins
41IND199237911028704.99-616Anthony Johnson; Rodney Culver; Ken Clark
42NYG198744014574805.13-615Joe Morris; George Adams; Lee Rouson
43MIN19785051536101025.26-607Chuck Foreman; Rickey Young; Robert Miller
44GNB19344561183802.95-607Clarke Hinkle; Roger Grove; Joe Laws
45DEN196637611736614.9-603Wendell Hayes; Abner Haynes; Charley Mitchell
46CAR2002452158611825.63-598Lamar Smith; Dee Brown; Nick Goings
47PIT195142514289765.39-596Fran Rogel; Lynn Chandnois; Chuck Ortmann
48NWE200347316079915.51-594Antowain Smith; Kevin Faulk; Mike Cloud
49PHI1956418137711735.39-593Ken Keller; Don Schaefer; Dick Bielski
50PIT19353275084643.56-592Cy Casper; Warren Heller; Art Strutt
51CRD1936559150951385.1-589George Grosvenor; Al Nichelini; Clarence Kellogg
52IND199135411693554.87-589Eric Dickerson; Ken Clark; Tim Manoa
53CLE1984489169610895.52-586Boyce Green; Mike Pruitt; Earnest Byner
54WAS197750217524795.07-584Mike Thomas; Clarence Harmon; Calvin Hill
55PHI199144613968865.22-584James Joseph; Keith Byars; Heath Sherman
56NWE1987513177112845.39-582Tony Collins; Reggie Dupard; Mosi Tatupu
57BUF1979474162111835.46-577Curtis Brown; Terry Miller; Roland Hooks
58SDG200035110627635.04-577Terrell Fletcher; Jermaine Fazande; Robert Chancey
59BAL2006476163711865.53-575Jamal Lewis; Mike Anderson; Musa Smith
60BOS196537311178554.75-572Jim Nance; Larry Garron; Babe Parilli
61MIA1998458153510735.22-570Karim Abdul-Jabbar; John Avery; Stanley Pritchett
62PIT194040311022975-568Lou Tomasetti; George Kiick; Merl Condit
63PHI197239813932785.36-567Po James; Tony Baker; Larry Watkins
64PHI193647314152994.96-565Swede Hanson; Stumpy Thomason; Dave Smukler
65GNB1974482157110875.3-563John Brockington; MacArthur Lane; Les Goodman
66NYG1983506179491045.75-562Butch Woolfolk; Rob Carpenter; Joe Morris
67CIN200842015206805.62-559Cedric Benson; Ryan Fitzpatrick; Chris Perry
68KAN200738312486665.12-558Larry Johnson; Kolby Smith; Priest Holmes
69PHI197546117023845.46-556Tom Sullivan; James McAlister; Art Malone
70PIT1955420128413745.26-555Fran Rogel; Lynn Chandnois; Ray Mathews
71PHI196035111349545.13-553Clarence Peaks; Billy Ray Barnes; Ted Dean
72NYG1973456147811845.38-548Ron Johnson; Vince Clements; Johnny Roland
73KAN201148718935895.74-547Jackie Battle; Dexter McCluster; Thomas Jones
74CAR1995454157310745.37-545Derrick Moore; Howard Griffith; Vince Workman
75NWE200042413909805.4-544Kevin Faulk; J.R. Redmond; Drew Bledsoe
76CLE200033610857535.07-544Travis Prentice; Errict Rhett; Jamel White
77CLE201141515314775.55-543Peyton Hillis; Chris Ogbonnaya; Montario Hardesty
78SDG201241114614815.52-542Ryan Mathews; Jackie Battle; Ronnie Brown
79WAS196041513139835.4-542Don Bosseler; Johnny Olszewski; Dick James
80NWE199038313984655.39-542John Stephens; Marvin Allen; Bob Perryman
81SDG1999410124610695.04-539Jermaine Fazande; Natrone Means; Kenny Bynum
82CRD19433347095483.72-539John Grigas; Bob Morrow; Johnny Martin
83NYG1984493166012975.62-536Rob Carpenter; Joe Morris; Phil Simms
84ARI199538713633655.19-536Garrison Hearst; Larry Centers; Dave Krieg
85CHI19816082171131265.86-534Walter Payton; Matt Suhey; Vince Evans
86CAR200036311867635.21-533Tim Biakabutuka; Brad Hoover; Steve Beuerlein
87ATL1976470168910785.51-531Bubba Bean; Haskel Stanback; Mike Esposito
88WAS196535410377695.08-531Charley Taylor; Dan Lewis; George Hughley
89KAN1985428148610795.6-530Herman Heard; Mike Pruitt; Ethan Horton
90PIT1950477165912975.81-529Joe Geri; Fran Rogel; Lynn Chandnois
91BOS196842113628695.09-528Jim Nance; R.C. Gamble; Gene Thomas
92NYG1979498182012825.62-528Billy Taylor; Doug Kotar; Phil Simms
93CHI197035310923554.67-523Don Shy; Ross Montgomery; Ronnie Bull
94NYG194736611957565.02-522Gene Roberts; Jim Blumenstock; Gordon Paschka
95DEN1981515189512915.74-518Rick Parros; Dave Preston; Rob Lytle
96PHI19393296315974.88-518Dave Smukler; Joe Bukant; Fran Murray
97WAS197147717578775.47-517Larry Brown Jr.; Charlie Harraway; Tommy Mason
98DET19462744728493.92-517Camp Wilson; Jim Callahan; Dave Ryan
99NYG1976530190411985.67-515Doug Kotar; Larry Csonka; Gordon Bell
100SDG199740914165705.25-514Gary Brown; Terrell Fletcher; Kenny Bynum
101CLE200141713518785.31-514James Jackson; Jamel White; Ben Gay
102BOS194534584610444.18-512Pug Manders; Johnny Martin; John Grigas
103JAX201337812607715.39-510Maurice Jones-Drew; Jordan Todman; Chad Henne
104NYG1981481168511925.68-510Rob Carpenter; Leon Perry; Leon Bright
105NYG1964435140412815.46-509Ernie Wheelwright; Alex Webster; Dick James
106TAM198739413657625.24-509James Wilder; Jeff Smith; Bobby Howard
107HOU197641614986715.43-507Ronnie Coleman; Fred Willis; Don Hardeman
108NYJ19633069788525.25-506Mark Smolinski; Bill Mathis; Dick Christy
109SFO19815601941171105.84-504Ricky Patton; Johnny Davis; Earl Cooper
110HOU1971361110610625.16-503Robert Holmes; Woody Campbell; Dan Pastorini
111WAS196836011646675.24-500Gerry Allen; Bob Brunet; Steve Thurlow
112SEA199940814085655.13-500Ricky Watters; Ahman Green; Jon Kitna
113PIT1966375109213655.17-497Willie Asbury; Dick Hoak; Cannonball Butler
114BAL1950345114812565.48-495Chet Mutryn; Jim Spavital; Billy Stone
115DET1985452153813895.75-492James Jones; Alvin Moore; Wilbert Montgomery
116PHI1952434137010725.11-491John Huzvar; Ralph Goldston; John Brewer
117NOR197037112154554.82-490Tony Baker; Tom Barrington; Jim Otis
118ARI2006419133812845.57-488Edgerrin James; Marcel Shipp; Matt Leinart
119MIA199944514538815.26-487J.J. Johnson; Cecil Collins; Stanley Pritchett
120DET200337613385695.48-485Shawn Bryson; Olandis Gary; Artose Pinner
121PHO199139112956735.3-483Johnny Johnson; Anthony Thompson; Tom Tupa
122LAD1948400155411786.19-483Glenn Dobbs; Walt Clay; John Kimbrough
123ARI2012352120410585.47-482LaRod Stephens-Howling; Beanie Wells; William Powell
124PHI194031729881224.91-476Dick Riffle; Elmer Hackney; Frank Emmons
125CLE199245116077855.57-473Kevin Mack; Tommy Vardell; Eric Metcalf
126SEA198546216449965.82-472Curt Warner; Randall Morris; Dave Krieg
127PIT1939428113871135.36-465Boyd Brumbaugh; Swede Johnston; Sam Francis
128NWE199241915506715.51-464Jon Vaughn; Leonard Russell; John Stephens
129LAD1947487178017865.94-462John Kimbrough; Bob Kelly; Chuck Fenenbock
130PIT1965407137810715.45-460Dick Hoak; Mike Lind; Clarence Peaks
131CHI195435311428635.29-458Chick Jagade; Billy Stone; John Hoffman
132WAS200447117656915.74-456Clinton Portis; Ladell Betts; Mark Brunell
133CIN201042815228855.72-453Cedric Benson; Bernard Scott; Brian Leonard
134WAS198843715438885.71-452Timmy Smith; Kelvin Bryant; Jamie Morris
135CHI195336711299795.5-451Fred Morrison; Billy Stone; John Dottley
136BAL195436412754665.35-451Buddy Young; Zollie Toth; Carl Taseff
137PIT1937493141951055-449Bull Karcis; Bill Davidson; Stu Smith
138SDG199641213127805.27-448Leonard Russell; Terrell Fletcher; Aaron Hayden
139NWE199942514269725.3-447Terry Allen; Kevin Faulk; Lamont Warren
140NYG1939448128191095.45-447Tuffy Leemans; Len Barnum; Hank Soar
141STL200740415275655.48-447Steven Jackson; Brian Leonard; Antonio Pittman
142CAR199650217299935.47-446Anthony Johnson; Tim Biakabutuka; Winslow Oliver
143CHI1994487158810885.3-445Lewis Tillman; Raymont Harris; Robert Green
144ARI2004475166815865.77-445Emmitt Smith; Troy Hambrick; Obafemi Ayanbadejo
145SDG1987396130811685.4-445Curtis Adams; Gary Anderson; Tim Spencer
146PHI195539213179715.45-444Hal Giancanelli; Rob Goode; Adrian Burk
147BAL196244816019945.86-444Lenny Moore; Joe Perry; Mark Smolinski
148TAM199340212906805.3-443Reggie Cobb; Vince Workman; Mazio Royster
149CHR194740115209695.79-443Bill Daley; Ray Ramsey; Bill Kellagher
150TAM199647215898905.42-442Errict Rhett; Mike Alstott; Reggie Brooks
151CHI200238213448795.8-441Anthony Thomas; Leon Johnson; Adrian Peterson
152NOR198543116834835.82-438Wayne Wilson; Earl Campbell; Hokie Gajan
153PIT1956413135014835.76-436Fran Rogel; Sid Watson; Lynn Chandnois
154NYG19453177697504.29-436Bill Paschal; Ward Cuff; Howie Livingston
155PIT1938457141451035.34-436Whizzer White; Stu Smith; Scrapper Farrell
156NOR1973497184251005.72-430Jess Phillips; Bill Butler; Archie Manning
157STL197236112299685.6-430Donny Anderson; Johnny Roland; Leon Burns
158SDG2009427142317805.81-427LaDainian Tomlinson; Darren Sproles; Mike Tolbert
159CAR2005487167917825.66-425DeShaun Foster; Stephen Davis; Nick Goings
160TAM201342016126755.73-425Bobby Rainey; Doug Martin; Mike James
161OAK201237614204725.71-425Darren McFadden; Marcel Reece; Mike Goodson
162PIT1967431139713835.58-424Don Shy; Willie Asbury; Cannonball Butler
163ARI199739512559795.43-423Leeland McElroy; Larry Centers; Jake Plummer
164PHI198340214175915.81-423Hubie Oliver; Michael Williams; Michael Haddix
165ATL200035012146655.48-420Jamal Anderson; Maurice Smith; Chris Chandler
166CLE195648018458945.94-419Preston Carpenter; Ed Modzelewski; Fred Morrison
167KAN1986432146810835.59-416Mike Pruitt; Boyce Green; Herman Heard
168STL19785541954141035.71-416Jim Otis; Wayne Morris; Steve Jones
169SEA198940513925865.6-415Curt Warner; John Williams; Dave Krieg
170GNB1973527197310985.8-414John Brockington; MacArthur Lane; Les Goodman
171PHI1959391131513785.82-414Billy Ray Barnes; Clarence Peaks; Theron Sapp
172DAL2005521186113975.75-410Julius Jones; Marion Barber; Tyson Thompson
173DAL196031210496575.39-410L.G. Dupre; Don McIlhenny; Walt Kowalczyk
174GNB197045315958695.25-408Donny Anderson; Travis Williams; Jim Grabowski
175TAM19796092437131076.01-407Ricky Bell; Jerry Eckwood; Johnny Davis
176MIN199643515467755.43-405Robert Smith; Leroy Hoard; Amp Lee
177ATL1971494170312995.74-405Cannonball Butler; Art Malone; Harmon Wages
178DEN1960408146710845.94-403Dave Rolle; Gene Mingo; Al Carmichael
179PIT201241215378805.87-402Jonathan Dwyer; Isaac Redman; Rashard Mendenhall
180TAM199950217767975.56-402Mike Alstott; Warrick Dunn; Trent Dilfer
181SFO1972445161611875.89-402Vic Washington; Larry Schreiber; Ken Willard
182CHI1975441165311745.76-402Walter Payton; Roland Harper; Mike Adamle
183CHR1946512154110764.74-401Bob Hoernschemeyer; Walt Clay; Elroy Hirsch
184PHI198542816308825.91-399Earnest Jackson; Michael Haddix; Randall Cunningham
185MIA2004384133910715.67-399Sammy Morris; Travis Minor; Leonard Henry
186KAN19735111793111065.81-397Ed Podolak; Willie Ellison; Wendell Hayes
187MIN1971484169514895.74-397Clint Jones; Dave Osborn; Oscar Reed
188GNB19814781670111045.91-396Gerry Ellis; Harlan Huckleby; Terdell Middleton
189ARI200740214409705.6-396Edgerrin James; J.J. Arrington; Marcel Shipp
190KAN1983387125413835.84-395Theotis Brown; Billy Jackson; Bill Kenney
191MIA201044516438915.89-393Ronnie Brown; Ricky Williams; Lousaka Polite
192DET196441214147875.67-393Nick Pietrosante; Dan Lewis; Tom Watkins
193STL201042915789845.86-392Steven Jackson; Kenneth Darby; Sam Bradford
194NYG1975482162717955.85-392Doug Kotar; Joe Dawkins; Ron Johnson
195TAM200241415576906.01-391Michael Pittman; Mike Alstott; Aaron Stecker
196NYG19895561889171185.92-390Ottis Anderson; Lewis Tillman; Phil Simms
197NYG19804831730101005.86-389Billy Taylor; Larry Heater; Leon Perry
198MIN1972472174011955.96-389Oscar Reed; Bill Brown; Dave Osborn
199BCL194936212848665.63-388Herm Wedemeyer; Bob Pfohl; Billy Stone
200STL196138614058835.99-388Prentice Gautt; Frank Mestnik; John David Crow

The expansion Texans take the #2 spot, and with good reason. That was as pathetic a rushing team as I’ve ever seen, and the ranking here bears that out (Jonathan Wells showed up #3 on this list, too). The 2013 Ravens check in as the 10th worst rushing team of all time, and certainly one of the most surprising. Here’s another weird one:

In 1970, Washington (led by Larry Brown) produced 610 yards of value over average, checking in at #99 on the first table. Then in 1971, Brown and the team produced 517 yards of value below average. In ’72, Brown won the AP NFL MVP award. But in ’73 and ’74, Washington was again one of the worst rushing teams ever. That’s a pretty wild ride.

What sticks out to you from the two tables?

{ 8 comments }
  • Bryan Frye July 18, 2014, 8:49 am

    I did something similar but used fumbles (or estimated fumbles) and didn’t use first downs, and 1948 San Fran came out on top for me too, and by a pretty big margin. They were followed by 2006 SD, 1983 WAS, 2006 ATL, and 2012 WAS.

    When I took it to ARY/A, 2002 KC shot to the top, with 2011 CAR jumping to second.

    When I took it (perhaps too far) to the Z-Score level, the top three teams by volume were 2001 PIT (z=3.21!), 2009 NYJ, and 2003 DEN.

    The top three teams per attempt were 2011 CAR, 2002 KC, and 1994 DET.

    The Miami Seahawks looked pretty bad no matter what formula I tried using; they were the only team that got negative ARY for me (my method didn’t incorporate the relative component). However, using Z-Scores moved the 1974 Falcons to the bottom in both volume and rate. The 2000 Chargers have the second worst rate stat, and then LaDainian Tomlinson happened.

    One thing that sticks out to me is how (relatively) low the Lombardi Packers are. They didn’t separate themselves for me either.

    I don’t know if any of that matters, but it is always fun for me to see similarities and differences you get when you tinker with methodologies.

    Reply
    • Chase Stuart July 18, 2014, 12:05 pm

      The thing about the Lombardi Packers is that they were more a defense team than a rushing team. Lost in the magic of the power sweep, tho.

      Reply
      • Bryan Frye July 18, 2014, 1:28 pm

        They were a bit of an everything team. Best rushing team that year, and I think fifth in ANY/A as well. Pretty sure I remember Andres’ Estimated DVOA had them as the best offense and best defense that year. Just a ridiculous team. Hall of Famers all over the place, as you recently pointed out.

        My “go-to” stat is Adjusted Yards Per Play differential, and they are the highest rated team since 1960 at 3.84 AYP∂. For comparison, the 2013 Seahawks had a score of 2.61 and ranked 33rd.

        The Bears and Browns of the 40s take spots 1-4, but I don’t know how fair it is to include teams that played in such small leagues. I strayed off topic again. Woops.

        Reply
  • James July 18, 2014, 10:54 am

    2003 Titans, 21st worst rushing team of all time. Poor Eddie George. Never even cracked the Top 200.

    I notice a lot of rushing QBs among the top teams, and while that makes perfect sense it’s usually not what most people would think.

    Reply
  • Ty July 18, 2014, 1:35 pm

    Not sure if you have done this, but what is the correlation between AYPC and wins? I know the correlation between YPC and wins is pretty low, but AYPC looks to have some value, though clearly much less than any per play passing metric.

    Reply
  • Shattenjager July 18, 2014, 3:41 pm

    John Henry Johnson is one of the backs on a team in the top three and the bottom three. That’s an interesting achievement.

    Reply

Leave a Comment