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Since 1950, there have been only 24 seasons where a team’s rushing leader rushed for more yards than its passing leader gained through the air. The last team to accomplish this feat was the 2009 Titans, when Chris Johnson rushed for 2,006 yards. That year, the Titans split the duties at quarterback, with Vince Young throwing for 1,879 yards and Kerry Collins finishing with 1,225.

Can you guess which team had the largest differential?

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Trivia hint 2 Show


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Here’s the full list:

YearTmQuarterbackPass YdRunning BackRush YdDiff
1973BUFJoe Ferguson939O.J. Simpson20031064
2003BALKyle Boller1260Jamal Lewis2066806
1986RAMJim Everett1018Eric Dickerson1821803
1984CHIJim McMahon1146Walter Payton1684538
1973GNBJerry Tagge720John Brockington1144424
1976BUFJoe Ferguson1086O.J. Simpson1503417
1994DETDave Krieg1629Barry Sanders1883254
1969CHIJack Concannon783Gale Sayers1032249
1986CHIMike Tomczak1105Walter Payton1333228
1981NORArchie Manning1447George Rogers1674227
1956CLETommy O'Connell551Preston Carpenter756205
2000CINAkili Smith1253Corey Dillon1435182
1971NYJBob Davis624John Riggins769145
2009TENVince Young1879Chris Johnson2006127
1968CINJohn Stofa896Paul Robinson1023127
1968CHIVirgil Carter769Gale Sayers85687
1984RAMJeff Kemp2021Eric Dickerson210584
1967HOUPete Beathard1114Hoyle Granger119480
1979CHIMike Phipps1535Walter Payton161075
1998PHIKoy Detmer1011Duce Staley106554
2004CHIChad Hutchinson903Thomas Jones94845
1988INDChris Chandler1619Eric Dickerson165940
1988NWEDoug Flutie1150John Stephens116818
1971DENSteve Ramsey1120Floyd Little113313

Since 2009, the closest any team has come was the 2012 Chiefs, when Jamaal Charles rushed for 1,509 yards and Matt Cassel led Kansas City with 1,796 passing yards. Last year, the “closest” situation was in Washington, when Alfred Morris rushed for 1,074 yards, and Kirk Cousins led the team with 1,710 passing yards.

  • Amazing that Dickerson and Payton pulled this off three times each, while Simpson had two seasons with a delta of over 400 yards!

    Also, the 2004 Bears, presented without comment: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/chi/2004.htm

    • Bryan Frye

      I always find it weird when people complain about certain running backs being hindered by bad teams and fail to mention Walter Payton. Everyone seems to remember the Super Bowl Shuffling Bears at the end of his career, but his teams were bad-to-average for most of his tenure. The Bears had to winning seasons in Payton’s first nine years in the league.

  • Tim Truemper

    I put about 2 minutes of thought to this and guessed Walter Payton with Gary Huff as the QB. But alas, it was not to be. Great list and a nice trivia post. Now I’v e got to get to work on my 20 best RB’s of all time list.

  • Rick O’Shea

    I am very old and born in Buffalo and guessed correctly…including the year! What do I win????