List of National Football League rushing champions

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Jim Brown led the league in rushing for eight seasons, including five consecutive seasons from 1957 to 1961 and three consecutive seasons from 1963 to 1965.

In American football, running (also referred to as rushing) is, along with passing, one of the two main methods of advancing the ball down the field.[1] A running play generally occurs when the quarterback hands or tosses the ball backwards to the running back,[2] but other players, such as the quarterback, can run with the ball.[1] In the National Football League (NFL), the player who has recorded the most yards through running is considered the winner of the rushing title.[3] In addition to the NFL rushing champion, league record books recognize the rushing champions of the American Football League (AFL), which operated from 1960 to 1969 before being absorbed into the National Football League in 1970.[4]

The NFL did not begin keeping official records until the 1932 season.[5] The average amount of yardage the rushing champion has gained has increased over time - since the adoption of the 14-game season in 1961, all but two rushing champions have recorded over 1,000 yards rushing, and the adoption of the 16-game season in 1978 has resulted in many rushing champions recording over 1,500 rushing yards. Seven rushing champions have recorded over 2,000 rushing yards, a feat first accomplished by O. J. Simpson in 1973 and most recently accomplished by Adrian Peterson in 2012.

The player with the most rushing titles is Jim Brown, who was the rushing champion eight times over his career. Emmitt Smith, O. J. Simpson, Steve Van Buren, and Barry Sanders are tied for the second-most rushing titles, each having won four times. Jim Brown also holds the record for the most consecutive rushing titles with five, having led the league in rushing each year from 1957 to 1961. Steve Van Buren, Emmitt Smith, and Earl Campbell each recorded three consecutive rushing titles. The Cleveland Browns have recorded the most rushing titles with eleven; the Chicago Bears rank second, with six rushing titles. The most recent rushing champion is Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy, who led the league with 1,607 yards rushing over the 2013 season.

List of NFL rushing title winners[edit]

Cliff Battles led the league in rushing in 1932, the first season in which official statistics were kept, and in 1937.
Byron "Whizzer" White, a future associate justice of the US Supreme Court, won the league rushing title in 1938 and 1940.
Joe Perry won the rushing title in 1953 and 1954, recording over 1,000 rushing yards in both seasons.
Gale Sayers led the NFL in rushing in 1966 and 1969.
Eric Dickerson led the league in rushing in 1983 and 1984, his first two seasons in the league, and won two more titles in 1986 and 1988.
Emmitt Smith was the league's rushing champion four times, including three consecutive years from 1991 to 1993.
LaDainian Tomlinson won back-to-back rushing titles in 2006 and 2007, and is the most recent player to do so.
Adrian Peterson led the league in rushing in the 2008 and 2012 seasons.
Key
Symbol Meaning
Season The season in which the rushing title was won
Winner The player who won the rushing title
Games The number of games played in that season[A]
Yds. Rushing yards
^ Pro Football Hall of Fame member
* Player is active
dagger Player won the AP Most Valuable Player award in the same year
double-dagger Player won the AP Offensive Player of the Year award in the same year
± Player won the title in his first season of professional football
List of National Football League (NFL) rushing title winners by season
Season Winner Team Yds. Games
1932 Cliff Battles Boston Braves 576 10[6]
1933 Jim Musick Boston Redskins 809 12[7]
1934 Beattie Feathers± Chicago Bears 1,004 13[8]
1935 Doug Russell Chicago Cardinals 499 12
1936 Tuffy Leemans New York Giants 830 12
1937 Cliff Battles^ Washington Redskins 874 11
1938 Byron "Whizzer" White± Pittsburgh Pirates 567 11
1939 Bill Osmanski± Chicago Bears 699 11
1940 Byron "Whizzer" White Detroit Lions 514 11
1941 Pug Manders Brooklyn Dodgers 486 11
1942 Bill Dudley Pittsburgh Steelers 696 11
1943 Bill Paschal± New York Giants 572 10
1944 Bill Paschal New York Giants 737 10
1945 Steve Van Buren^ Philadelphia Eagles 832 10
1946 Bill Dudley^ Pittsburgh Steelers 604 11
1947 Steve Van Buren^ Philadelphia Eagles 1,008 12
1948 Steve Van Buren^ Philadelphia Eagles 945 12
1949 Steve Van Buren^ Philadelphia Eagles 1,146 12
1950 Marion Motley^ Cleveland Browns 810 12
1951 Eddie Price New York Giants 971 12
1952 Dan Towler Los Angeles Rams 894 12
1953 Joe Perry^ San Francisco 49ers 1,018 12
1954 Joe Perry^ San Francisco 49ers 1,049 12
1955 Alan Ameche± Baltimore Colts 961 12
1956 Rick Casares Chicago Bears 1,126 12
1957 Jim Brown^dagger± Cleveland Browns 942 12
1958 Jim Brown^dagger Cleveland Browns 1,527 12
1959 Jim Brown^ Cleveland Browns 1,329 12
1960 Jim Brown^ Cleveland Browns 1,257 12
1961 Jim Brown^ Cleveland Browns 1,408 14
1962 Jim Taylor^ Green Bay Packers 1,474 14
1963 Jim Brown^ Cleveland Browns 1,863 14
1964 Jim Brown^ Cleveland Browns 1,446 14
1965 Jim Brown^dagger Cleveland Browns 1,544 14
1966 Gale Sayers^ Chicago Bears 1,231 14
1967 Leroy Kelly^ Cleveland Browns 1,205 14
1968 Leroy Kelly^ Cleveland Browns 1,239 14
1969 Gale Sayers^ Chicago Bears 1,032 14
1970 Larry Brown Washington Redskins 1,125 14
1971 Floyd Little^ Denver Broncos 1,133 14
1972 O. J. Simpson^ Buffalo Bills 1,251 14
1973 O. J. Simpson^daggerdouble-dagger Buffalo Bills 2,003 14
1974 Otis Armstrong Denver Broncos 1,407 14
1975 O. J. Simpson^ Buffalo Bills 1,817 14
1976 O. J. Simpson^ Buffalo Bills 1,503 14
1977 Walter Payton^daggerdouble-dagger Chicago Bears 1,852 14
1978 Earl Campbell^double-dagger± Houston Oilers 1,450 16
1979 Earl Campbell^daggerdouble-dagger Houston Oilers 1,697 16
1980 Earl Campbell^double-dagger Houston Oilers 1,934 16
1981 George Rogers± New Orleans Saints 1,674 16
1982 Freeman McNeil New York Jets 786 9[B]
1983 Eric Dickerson Los Angeles Rams 1,808 16
1984 Eric Dickerson^ Los Angeles Rams 2,105 16
1985 Marcus Allen^daggerdouble-dagger Los Angeles Raiders 1,759 16
1986 Eric Dickerson^ Los Angeles Rams 1,821 16
1987 Charles White Los Angeles Rams 1,374 15[C]
1988 Eric Dickerson^ Indianapolis Colts 1,659 16
1989 Christian Okoye Kansas City Chiefs 1,480 16
1990 Barry Sanders^ Detroit Lions 1,304 16
1991 Emmitt Smith^ Dallas Cowboys 1,563 16
1992 Emmitt Smith^ Dallas Cowboys 1,713 16
1993 Emmitt Smith^dagger Dallas Cowboys 1,486 16
1994 Barry Sanders^double-dagger Detroit Lions 1,883 16
1995 Emmitt Smith^ Dallas Cowboys 1,773 16
1996 Barry Sanders^ Detroit Lions 1,553 16
1997 Barry Sanders^daggerdouble-dagger Detroit Lions 2,053 16
1998 Terrell Davisdaggerdouble-dagger Denver Broncos 2,008 16
1999 Edgerrin James± Indianapolis Colts 1,553 16
2000 Edgerrin James Indianapolis Colts 1,709 16
2001 Priest Holmes Kansas City Chiefs 1,555 16
2002 Ricky Williams Miami Dolphins 1,853 16
2003 Jamal Lewisdouble-dagger Baltimore Ravens 2,066 16
2004 Curtis Martin^ New York Jets 1,697 16
2005 Shaun Alexanderdaggerdouble-dagger Seattle Seahawks 1,880 16
2006 LaDainian Tomlinsondaggerdouble-dagger San Diego Chargers 1,815 16
2007 LaDainian Tomlinson San Diego Chargers 1,474 16
2008 Adrian Peterson* Minnesota Vikings 1,760 16
2009 Chris Johnson*double-dagger Tennessee Titans 2,006 16
2010 Arian Foster* Houston Texans 1,616 16
2011 Maurice Jones-Drew* Jacksonville Jaguars 1,606 16
2012 Adrian Peterson*daggerdouble-dagger Minnesota Vikings 2,097 16
2013 LeSean McCoy* Philadelphia Eagles 1,607 16

List of AFL rushing title winners[edit]

List of American Football League (AFL) rushing title winners by season
Season Winner Team Yds. Games
1960 Abner Haynes± Dallas Texans 875 14
1961 Billy Cannon Houston Oilers 948 14
1962 Cookie Gilchrist Buffalo Bills 1,096 14
1963 Clem Daniels Oakland Raiders 1,099 14
1964 Cookie Gilchrist Buffalo Bills 981 14
1965 Paul Lowe San Diego Chargers 1,121 14
1966 Jim Nance Boston Patriots 1,458 14
1967 Jim Nance Boston Patriots 1,216 14
1968 Paul Robinson± Cincinnati Bengals 1,023 14
1969 Dickie Post San Diego Chargers 873 14

Notes[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ The NFL did not have a set number of games for teams to play until the 1935 season, instead setting a minimum.
  2. ^ The 1982 season was reduced from 16 to 9 games due to a 57-day players' strike.[9]
  3. ^ The 1987 season was reduced from 16 to 15 games due to a 24-day players' strike.[9]
Footnotes
  1. ^ a b "Beginner's Guide to Football". National Football League. Retrieved September 30, 2012. 
  2. ^ "The Run". NFL360.com. Retrieved June 19, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Miami's Bush eyeing NFL rushing title". Foxsports.com. August 16, 2012. Retrieved June 19, 2013. 
  4. ^ "2012 NFL Record and Fact Book". NFL.com. pp. 625–626. Retrieved June 19, 2013. 
  5. ^ "NFL's Passer Rating". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved June 19, 2013. 
  6. ^ "1932 Boston Braves". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  7. ^ "1933 Boston Redskins". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  8. ^ "1934 Chicago Bears". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "NFL History by Decade: 1981-1990". NFL.com. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 

General references[edit]

External links[edit]