NFL stars only have relatively short careers, but some of them can earn more in a single football season than most of us do in an entire lifetime! Not that we’re envious or anything… And if you’re searching for players with the most moolah in the bank, then you best look at the quarterbacks. What’s a QB worth? A heck of a lot, if the 40 wealthiest in NFL history are anything to go by.
40. Jake Delhomme – $63.5 million
Thanks to his willingness to play, well, pretty much anywhere, Jake Delhomme has earned himself a considerable $63.5 million fortune. He even headed to Europe after his first season in the States proved a bust. Delhomme ended up back on American soil, though, and throughout his decade-plus-long career, he had stints with the New Orleans Saints, the Cleveland Browns, the Houston Texans and the Carolina Panthers.
39. Kerry Collins – $63.7 million
Kerry Collins’ most lucrative period came in the mid-’00s, when he inked a deal with the Oakland Raiders for nearly $17 million. And the Pro Bowler’s star only rose higher when Rich Gannon’s neck injury ultimately landed him the Raiders starting job. Spells with the Tennessee Titans and the Indianapolis Colts also helped to boost Collins’ bank balance before he retired from the NFL in 2012.
38. Matt Cassel – $65.5 million
By the time Matt Cassel retired from the NFL in 2018, he’d reportedly earned a cool $65.5 million. Certainly nothing to sniff at! Somewhat of a journeyman, the California native began his career with the New England Patriots before spending time at the Buffalo Bills, the Tennessee Titans and the Kansas City Chiefs. Then, following a final season with the Detroit Lions, Cassel put his knowledge of the game to good use with a commentary role at NBC Sports Boston.
37. Ryan Fitzpatrick – $71.5 million
Ryan Fitzpatrick has earned just one megabucks deal during his lengthy NFL career, and even that was cut short. Longtime armchair QBs may remember that the $59 million contract he signed with the Buffalo Bills in 2011 ended up being downgraded to $21.2 million after just two years. But Fitz has still produced enough magic on the field to keep himself in demand – and make himself one of the top 40 richest quarterbacks ever.
36. Mark Sanchez – $74.2 million
Mark Sanchez became rich beyond his wildest dreams in his first NFL season when he signed a $50 million deal with the New York Jets. In fact, that could have been one of the highlights of his time as a pro, as the former high school player of the year had a rather checkered career after that. But don’t feel too sorry for the ex-Eagles star. When Sanchez announced his retirement in 2019, he already had enough money to last several lifetimes.
35. Nick Foles – $74.4 million
Although the Philadelphia Eagles may not have won Super Bowl LII without Nick Foles, it was the Jacksonville Jaguars who actually offered him the big bucks the following season. What did BDN get? Well, a four-year contract to the tune of $88 million. Not too shabby! The Bears star has since added to his fortune with an autobiography and an endorsement deal with Lululemon.
34. Carson Wentz – $79 million
As avid Eagles fans know, Carson Wentz has single-season records in touchdowns, completions and passing yards. So, it’s little surprise that his contract was renewed for a further four years – and a potential $128 million – back in the summer of 2019. Wentz has also landed big-bucks endorsement deals with such household names as Amazon, Nike and Bose.
33. Drew Bledsoe – $79.9 million
Drew Bledsoe may have missed out on guiding the New England Patriots to victory at Super Bowl XXXVI, but he can certainly take comfort from the hefty sums he earned during the rest of his career as a starter. Since finally hanging up his cleats for good, Bledsoe has also added to his net worth as a co-owner of Doubleback Winery.
32. Joe Montana – $80 million
NFL legend Joe Montana still commands respect for winning no fewer than four Super Bowls during his stint with the San Francisco 49ers. But even after his retirement in 1994, the Comeback Kid has still raked it in. Montana’s shrewd investments and public speaking gigs have helped to boost his fortune to a pretty respectable $80 million.
31. Jared Goff – $80.7 million
Jared Goff helped to steer the Los Angeles Rams all the way to Super Bowl LIII – and that was no mean feat. He’s been handsomely rewarded for his efforts, too, landing a four-year deal in 2019 that included a signing bonus worth $25 million. And if you’re looking for a gift for that Rams fan in your life, then look no further than Goff’s JG16 clothing range – another moneyspinner for the QB.
30. Andy Dalton – $86.5 million
Andy Dalton entered the NFL’s big-money league in 2014 when he inked a contract worth a potential $115 million with the Cincinnati Bengals. The quarterback was offered the deal after guiding the Bengals to four playoffs in a row. Oh, and he also made the team record books for single-season touchdowns and passing yards. So, yeah, he pretty much earned it!
29. Matt Hasselbeck – $88 million
Matt Hasselbeck may have spent the majority of his career at the Seattle Seahawks, but he bagged arguably his most lucrative deal in 2011 with the Tennessee Titans. And although he didn’t earn the entire $21 million offered by the Titans, Hasselbeck’s enduring skills on the field meant he was still one of the all-time top earners by the time he retired in 2016.
28. Jimmy Garoppolo – $88.8 million
Jimmy Garoppolo appears on this list largely because of one colossal record-breaking deal. Yep, the 2018 contract Jimmy GQ agreed with the San Francisco 49ers offered him the highest average salary in NFL history. And while that gargantuan sum has since been overshadowed, potential earnings of $137.5 million are certainly nothing to be sniffed at.
27. Derek Carr – $91 million
Health permitting, Derek Carr has been a permanent fixture in the Las Vegas Raiders’ starting line-up since he was drafted in 2014. Plus, he has the cash to make it all worthwhile, as he was offered a five-year deal worth $125 million after just three seasons with the Raiders. You could say he’s already paid back this faith, too, by breaking records in passing yards, pass completions and fourth-quarter comebacks.
26. Matt Schaub – $94.4 million
Matt Schaub may not be as lauded as the majority of names on this list. But with a career lasting almost 20 years, the quarterback has quietly racked up a fortune of which many Hall-of-Famers can only dream. Schaub earned most of his $94 million with the Houston Texans, but it’s the Atlanta Falcons with whom he may end up breaking the nine-figure mark.
25. Donovan McNabb – $99.7 million
Donovan McNabb’s total career earnings agonizingly sit just $300,000 outside the nine-figure club. Actually, it’s probably not all that agonizing. The NFL legend bagged the majority of his vast fortune during his 11 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. And after retiring from the sport in 2011, the former quarterback bumped up his net worth even further by working for various major TV networks as an analyst.
24. Andrew Luck – $109.1 million
In 2016 the Indianapolis Colts offered Andrew Luck a record-breaking contract extension worth up to $140 million. The four-time Pro Bowler’s surname proved to be slightly ironic, then, when a shoulder injury kept him out of the whole of the following season. But the NFL star recovered and proved he was worth the money after he clinched the Comeback Player of the Year title in 2018.
23. Ryan Tannehill – $115.5 million
Ryan Tannehill had quite the remarkable 2019 season. At the start, he was merely a backup whose contract was worth a relatively low $2 million. After the last of his 12 games, though, that sum shot up to an incredible $118 million. Why? Well, the Titans were inspired to offer Tannehill a highly lucrative four-year deal after he helped to guide them to the playoffs. We guess that justifies it…
22. Jay Cutler – $122.2 million
Reality TV fans may know Jay Cutler better as the ex-husband of Kristin Cavallari. But long before he became a staple of the E! network, he was busy cementing his status as a Chicago Bears legend. The Pro Bowler also enjoyed three seasons with the Denver Broncos after a record-breaking stint as a college player at Vanderbilt University.
21. Cam Newton – $122.5 million
Cam Newton famously lit up the field during his nearly decade-long stint with the Carolina Panthers. However, much of his $122.5 million fortune was actually earned away from the gridiron. Yep, even with a Super Bowl appearance under his belt! Super Cam bolstered his bank balance through his own production firm and as an endorser for Beats and Under Armour.
20. Tony Romo – $127.4 million
Sometimes, loyalty truly can pay off. Just ask Tony Romo. He spent all 13 seasons of his NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys and was handsomely rewarded for his efforts. The quarterback also boosted his coffers by teaming up with a fashion clothing marketing firm in a $10 million deal.
19. Sam Bradford – $130 million
Although Sam Bradford has struggled with injury throughout much of his career – he hasn’t managed to play an entire season since 2012, in fact – his bank balance has always remained healthy. Bradford’s biggest payday came in 2010 when he was awarded a $78 million deal with the Rams, who back then were based in St. Louis.
18. Brett Favre – $137.8 million
Brett Favre broke many NFL records during his glittering career. Lest you forget, he was the first player ever to have won both the Super Bowl and the Associated Press NFL MVP award in the same season. And so it’s probably no surprise to hear that the star QB raked in nearly $138 million with the Green Bay Packers, the Atlanta Falcons, the New York Jets and the Minnesota Vikings. He’s also bagged various lucrative endorsement deals along the way.
17. Kirk Cousins – $140.6 million
Kirk Cousins earned a whopping $84 million during his six seasons with the Washington Redskins – now known as the less problematic Washington Football Team. But it was actually with the Minnesota Vikings that the quarterback became the highest-paid sportsman in the NFL. And the money keeps rolling in. In the spring of 2020, Cousins inked a contract extension worth $66 million.
16. John Elway – $145 million
Denver Broncos legend John Elway would have been near the top of this list had his business acumen been a little better. The Duke of Denver missed out on the opportunity to invest in the team, you see, and he also unfortunately managed to lose a large chunk of his net worth in a Ponzi scheme. Mind you, the $145 million Elway’s earned during his time as both a player and a manager is a figure still way beyond most of his peers.
15. Russell Wilson – $162.4 million
Not content with becoming the NFL’s top earner in 2019, the Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson has several lucrative business ventures. Yep, the man who rather modestly calls himself “Mr. Unlimited” is the same guy who serves as CEO of PR firm West2East Empire. Wilson, who guided the Seahawks to their first Super Bowl, has also put some of his cash into MLB’s Portland Diamond Project.
14. Joe Flacco – $167.6 million
After steering the Baltimore Ravens to glory at Super Bowl XLVII, Joe Flacco scored a lucrative three-year deal that would have tied him to the team until 2021. But even though the contract was worth a cool worth $66.4 million, he ultimately upped sticks and left for the Denver Broncos in 2019. Canny move? Perhaps, as it only added further to Flacco’s net worth.
13. Carson Palmer – $174.1 million
Carson Palmer is widely regarded as one of the finest quarterbacks never to have achieved victory at a Super Bowl. In another stroke of bad luck, the NFL legend also failed to lift an NCAA title while playing for the University of Southern California. But at least he can console himself with the $174.1 million he earned during his stints with the Cincinnati Bengals, the Oakland Raiders and the Arizona Cardinals. We’d certainly be more than happy with that…
12. Alex Smith – $189.7 million
Upon moving to Washington, Alex Smith inked a deal worth an incredible $94 million. Pretty sweet if you can get it… But the quarterback soon proved he was worth that incredible sum by breaking numerous NFL records. Smith has also bumped up his net worth to the tune of $1 million a year thanks to various sponsorship deals.
11. Steve Young – $200 million
Steve Young is a three-time Super Bowl winner who enjoyed 13 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. And, yes, he was paid pretty handsomely for his efforts. But, believe it or not, the majority of his $200 million fortune was earned away from the football field. That’s right: the former quarterback has raked in far more cash as the boss of the investments company Huntsman Gay Global Capital than he ever made playing in the NFL.
10. Matthew Stafford – $226.5 million
In 2017 the Detroit Lions’ Matthew Stafford signed a five-year contract extension worth up to $135 million. As keen stats nerds know, that made the deal the most lucrative ever inked in the NFL at the time. Why was the quarterback offered such riches? Well, he’d made it to the Pro Bowl in 2014 and had broken the league’s record for reaching 3,000 completions in the quickest time along the way. Makes sense, really!
9. Aaron Rodgers – $240.9 million
Expect Aaron Rodgers to climb even further up the rich list in the near future. You see, while the veteran QB may be in the autumn of his NFL career, he also has a keen business eye. In 2019, for example, he joined forces with Byron Roth and Nate Raabe to launch a $50 million investment fund targeted on high-growth firms. And let’s not forget: that same year, the Green Bay Packers offered him a four-year contract extension worth a highly respectable $134 million.
8. Philip Rivers – $243.9 million
Philip Rivers proved that it’s never too late to mix things up when he signed with the Indianapolis Colts in 2020. That was bad news, of course, for San Diego Chargers fans, who may have assumed the eight-time Pro Bowler would see out his final season at SoFi Stadium. But it proved a decent payday for Rivers, who was handed $25 million to add to the $200+ million he’d already earned during his glittering NFL career.
7. Matt Ryan – $244 million
In 2018 Matt Ryan’s new contract made him the first player to ever breach the $30 million-per-season mark. The deal – worth a whopping $150 million across half a decade – was the Atlanta Falcons’ way of thanking Matty Ice after ten years of service and one place at the Super Bowl. Ryan has also bolstered his income through high-profile deals with Mercedes, Nike and Gatorade.
6. Peyton Manning – $248.7 million
Peyton Manning called time on his career at the perfect moment: just a month after guiding the Denver Broncos to victory at the Super Bowl. And while the man Tom Brady calls “Peydirt” earned a not-too-shabby $4 million bonus for his hard work, this was chump change compared to the near-$245 million he’d already earned during his lengthy career. One of the NFL’s most famous faces, the star also had part-ownership of 31 Papa John’s franchise stores before relinquishing his stake in 2018.
5. Eli Manning – $252.3 million
Anything that Peyton Manning can rake in, his younger brother can earn, too. In fact, he has even more cash. Yep, Eli Manning’s net worth outflanks that of his big bro by approximately $4 million as of 2020. The $96 million contract extension he signed with the Giants helped quite a bit, mind. And retirement from the field hasn’t stopped the money coming in for Eli, as he’s managed to put both his name and his face to countless advertising campaigns.
4. Ben Roethlisberger – $253.3 million
With two Super Bowl victories and a whole clutch of NFL records to his name, Ben Roethlisberger can stand tall as one of the best starting quarterbacks in the game. And all this explains why the Pittsburgh Steelers forked out a further $37.5 million for his signature in 2019. Big Ben’s got an equally big bank balance, in fact…
3. Tom Brady – $260.2 million
One of the most famous players of his generation, Tom Brady earned the majority of his fortune during his two decades with the New England Patriots. Mind you, the six-time Super Bowl winner also earned a tidy sum with his shock transfer to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And if that wasn’t nearly enough, there are Brady’s off-the-field endeavors, too, including his 199 Productions company and lifestyle brand TB12. All in all, he’s now worth in excess of $260 million.
2. Drew Brees – $269.7 million
The title of richest current NFL star – at least, at the time of writing – goes to New Orleans Saints veteran Drew Brees. Yep, Breesus has earned nearly $270 million during a career in which he’s been picked for more than a dozen Pro Bowls and broken the NFL’s passing yards record. He’s also something of an entrepreneur, with several Dunkin’ and Jimmy John’s franchises to his name – not to mention an investment in food delivery firm Waitr.
1. Roger Staubach – $600 million
Yes, you read that right! While Roger Staubach had a pretty illustrious career with the Dallas Cowboys, you probably wouldn’t expect him to top the all-time richest quarterbacks list. But Captain America has since proved he has a decent head for business. In 2008 the two-time Super Bowl champ managed to sell the real estate firm he co-owned for a truly unbelievable $613 million. Talk about a good payday!
Without a decent running back, though, a QB can flounder. And here’s a question that’s no doubt been posed at every sports bar, football stadium and fantasy league meeting across the land: who exactly is the best RB of all time? Well, based on the career totals of rushing yards for each player, we’ve come up with a list of 40 who could easily walk – or more accurately, run – into any NFL team…
40. Jim Taylor – 8,597 total rushing yards
Renowned for his imposing frame and aggressive running style, Jim Taylor spent most of his career with the Green Bay Packers. His most successful period came in the early ’60s when he rushed for more than 1,000 yards in five consecutive seasons. Taylor was also a vital part of the team’s three NFL Championship-winning line-ups.
39. Terry Allen – 8,614
Terry Allen was considered past his best when the Washington Redskins signed him as a free agent in 1995. Yet the former Minnesota Vikings star went on to amass an impressive 1,353 yards and 21 touchdowns the following season and enjoyed a total of five years at FedExField. You may be surprised, then, to learn that he was only selected for the Pro Bowl on one occasion.
38. Ahman Green – 9,205
Ahman Green cemented his place in the Green Bay Packers’ record books in 2009 when he overtook Jim Taylor for the highest number of rushing yards. He also enjoyed a total of six 1,000-yard seasons with the franchise, who signed him from the Seattle Seahawks at the turn of the century. Green’s early years with the team also resulted in four Pro Bowl selections in a row.
37. Earl Campbell – 9,407
Earl Campbell had quite the start to his Houston Oilers career. Yes, he was crowned both MVP – Most Valuable Player – and Rookie of the Year in his first season with the franchise. And the running back also surpassed the 1,300-yard mark in all but one of his six full years at the Houston Astrodome. Sadly, injury cut short his glittering career in 1985.
36. Shaun Alexander – 9,453
Shaun Alexander broke all kinds of records during his stint with the Seattle Seahawks in the ‘00s. He scored a remarkable 73 rushing touchdowns within the space of just four seasons. And in 2005 the running back was crowned the league’s MVP having guided the franchise to their first ever Super Bowl. If his career hadn’t been dogged by injuries, Alexander may well have achieved even more.
35. Chris Johnson – 9,651
Chris Johnson almost gave Usain Bolt a run for his money when he played for the Tennessee Titans. The running back’s lightning pace helped him to get within touching distance of the 10,000-yard mark, no mean feat in what proved to be a relatively short career. Many neutrals believe that he’d have been inducted into the Hall of Fame by now had he signed with a better team.
34. Joe Perry – 9,723
One of the NFL’s pioneering figures, Joe Perry was the first ever player of color to be crowned an MVP. The San Francisco 49ers icon had also amassed a then-record of 9,723 rushing yards by the time he hung up his boots. And the man nicknamed The Jet, whose career stretched from 1948 until 1963, was twice named as an All Pro, too.
33. Matt Forte – 9,796
Matt Forte established himself as an all-time great during almost a decade with the Chicago Bears. He was the franchise’s first ever player to amass 900 rushing yards in every single one of his first seven seasons. The running back also came within a whisker of achieving the feat in his eighth. In fact, he only missed out by just two agonizing yards!
32. Clinton Portis – 9,923
Clinton Portis quickly endeared himself to the Washington Redskins after signing from the Denver Broncos. He surpassed the 1,000 rushing yards mark four times and in 2008 was selected for the Pro Bowl. But you may remember that he was just as entertaining in his post-game interviews as he was on the football field.
31. Ricky Williams – 10,009
Ricky Williams’ questionable extra-curricular activities often overshadowed his achievements on the field. But when he was in form, few running backs could compete. The Miami Dolphins star was particularly impressive in the 2002 season when he scored no fewer than 16 touchdowns and averaged an incredible 115.8 yards per game.
30. Ottis Anderson – 10,273
After overcoming various injury problems, Ottis Anderson established himself as an all-time great at both the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Giants. While playing for the latter in 1989 he was crowned the NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Anderson was also given the MVP title after guiding the G-Men to triumph at Super Bowl XXV.
29. Marshawn Lynch – 10,413
Marshawn Lynch’s astounding 67-yard run in the 2011 playoffs against the New Orleans Saints is considered by many to be the finest example of NFL rushing play ever. The man nicknamed Beast Mode has also helped to steer the Seattle Seahawks to victory at the Super Bowl. And his career rushing touchdown tally of 84 and five Pro Bowl selections suggest he’s a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame.
28. Eddie George – 10,441
Eddie George was named as an All Pro while playing for the Houston Oilers and then again when the team transitioned into the Tennessee Titans. He also enjoyed one of the most enduring careers in the history of his position. In fact, Walter Payton is the only running back who’s started more regular season games in a row.
27. Tiki Barber – 10,449
By the time that Tiki Barber waved goodbye to the NFL in 2006 he’d become the New York Giants’ leading rusher of all time. The three-time Pro Bowl-er amassed a tally of more than 10,000 yards during his decade-long career with the franchise. Much to his fans’ disappointment, the running back hasn’t yet been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
26. Thomas Jones – 10,591
Thomas Jones only played 45 games for the Chicago Bears but still made the franchise’s all-time Top Ten leading rushers list. The running back also guided the team to the Super Bowl during his three seasons before moving to the New York Jets, where he added a Pro Bowl selection to his resume. Jones was quite the traveler, having played for the Virginia Cavaliers, the Arizona Cardinals and the Kansas City Chiefs, too.
25. Jamal Lewis – 10,607
Jamal Lewis had achieved an astonishing career average of 81 rushing yards per game by the time he retired from the sport in 2009. His golden year proved to be 2003, when he scored no fewer than 14 touchdowns and amassed 2,066 rushing yards. Three seasons before Lewis had also helped the Baltimore Ravens to win the first Super Bowl of the new millennium.
24. Ricky Watters – 10,643
Ricky Watters was selected for the Pro Bowl on no fewer than five occasions but somehow never made it as an All Pro. The man nicknamed “Running” also helped the San Francisco 49ers lift the Super Bowl during his decade-long stint in the NFL. Spells with the Seattle Seahawks and the Philadelphia Eagles added to Watters’ impressive career rushing yards total of 10,643.
23. Warrick Dunn – 10,967
Warrick Dunn wasted little time establishing himself in the NFL after being drafted in 1997. He was selected as a Pro Bowl-er and crowned Offensive Rookie of the Year in his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The running back twice achieved the 1,000 rushing yard mark during his long-running stint with the franchise; you might not know that the former athlete is so obsessed with his game of choice that he now owns a minority stake in the Atlanta Falcons, a team with whom he spent six years of his career.
22. LeSean McCoy – 11,070
Now plying his trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, LeSean McCoy may well move further up this list before he calls time on his career. The running back first caught attention with the Philadelphia Eagles where he broke numerous records. McCoy achieved the franchise’s highest rushing tally in a single game, a single season and of all time.
21. O.J. Simpson – 11,236
It’s easy to forget that before that infamous court case, O.J. Simpson was one of the most talented footballers of his generation. The hugely controversial star’s biggest achievement on the field came in 1973 when he racked up an incredible 2,003 yards in just 14 games. Famed for his explosive speed, The Juice enjoyed nine seasons with the Buffalo Bills and two with the San Francisco 49ers. Mind you, he only ever got to the playoffs once.
20. Corey Dillon – 11,241
Corey Dillon spent seven seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals where he was selected for the Pro Bowl on three consecutive occasions. The running back achieved his biggest success, though, during his final NFL years with the New England Patriots. Not only did Dillon guide the franchise to the Super Bowl XXXIX but in 2006 he also scored a career high of 13 touchdowns.
19. John Riggins – 11,352
John Riggins certainly had more stamina than most running backs. His NFL career lasted 14 years, the majority of which were spent with the Washington Redskins. Riggins would surpass the 1,000-yard mark on no fewer than four occasions during his career. And in 1982 he was crowned the Super Bowl MVP after helping the Redskins to defeat the Miami Dolphins.
18. Steven Jackson – 11,438
Steven Jackson isn’t exactly short of confidence when it comes to his talents on the football field. When asked who he believed to be the St. Louis Rams’ greatest running back by the Los Angeles Times in 2018, he put his very own name forward. Jackson does have the receipts, though. He finished his nine-year spell at the Rams with a total of 56 touchdowns and 10,138 rushing yards.
17. Fred Taylor – 11,695
Fred Taylor would no doubt be held in even higher regard if he’d played for a team more successful than the Jacksonville Jaguars. The running back was only once selected for the Pro Bowl and was completely snubbed when it came to the All Pro. But his 11,695 rushing yards career tally is far greater than many of his more celebrated peers.
16. Thurman Thomas – 12,074
Thurman Thomas spent all but one of his 13 NFL seasons with the Buffalo Bills, where he cemented himself as an all-time great. The running back amassed a rushing yards total of more than 12,000 and achieved the 1,000-yard mark eight seasons in a row. In 2007 Thomas deservedly received a Hall of Fame induction.
15. Franco Harris – 12,120
Famed for the play hailed as the Immaculate Reception, Franco Harris was an instrumental part of one of the greatest NFL teams of the 1970s. The running back played in four Super Bowls during his 12-season spell with the Pittsburgh Steelers. And by the time Harris hung up his boots, he’d amassed an astonishing rushing yards total of 12,120.
14. Marcus Allen – 12,243
Marcus Allen booked his place in the NFL record books when he became the first running back ever to reach the 10,000 rushing yards mark. The footballing legend also lifted the Super Bowl during his lengthy spell with the Los Angeles Raiders. And thanks to a further five seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, Allen ended his career with a rushing touchdown total of 123.
13. Edgerrin James – 12,246
Edgerrin James burst out of the blocks at the turn of the century as part of the Indianapolis Colts. He was crowned Rookie of the Year following a rushing attempts total of 369 and was also selected for the Pro Bowl. James continued to impress when he moved to the Arizona Cardinals in the mid-‘00s where he surpassed the 12,000-yard milestone.
12. Marshall Faulk – 12,279
Marshall Faulk was a vital part of the turn of the century St. Louis Rams’ line-up hailed as the Greatest Show on Turf. You may recall that the running back also helped the franchise win a Super Bowl during this period. And thanks to a previous five-year spell with the Indianapolis Colts, he ended his career with an impressive rushing yard tally of 12,279.
11. Jim Brown – 12,312
The legendary Jim Brown spent nine seasons with the Cleveland Browns in the mid-20th century and surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in all but two. Had he not retired at the age of 29, there’s every chance he could have topped the all-time list. Brown was also selected as an All-Pro on eight occasions and was crowned MVP three times, too.
10. Tony Dorsett – 12,739
Tony Dorsett retired from the game way back in 1988 but still remains the only NFL player ever to achieve a 99-yard rush. The running back spent all but one of his 12 years in the game with the Dallas Cowboys. And if it hadn’t been for the 1982 campaign cut short by a strike, then he would no doubt have achieved nine consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.
9. Eric Dickerson – 13,259
Standing at 6ft 3in, Eric Dickerson was much taller than your average running back. And he used his extra height to his full advantage, particularly in the 1984 season where he achieved a record-breaking 2,105 yards. The former Los Angeles Rams and Indianapolis Colts star also surpassed the 10,000-yard mark in record time.
8. Jerome Bettis – 13,662
Jerome Bettis wasn’t nicknamed “The Bus” for no reason. The running back used his imposing frame to score 91 touchdowns and achieve a rushing yard total of more than 13,000 during his stints with the Los Angeles Rams, the St. Louis Rams and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Bettis also enjoyed the sweet taste of success at the Super Bowl and played at no fewer than six Pro Bowls.
7. LaDainian Tomlinson – 13,684
San Diego Chargers legend LaDainian Tomlinson passed the 1,000-yard mark eight seasons in a row after breaking through to the NFL in 2001. The running back was also crowned the 2006 Walter Payton Man of the Year and ended his career with the New York Jets with a rushing yard total of 13,684. Unfortunately, Tomlinson never got the chance to showcase his talents at a Super Bowl.
6. Curtis Martin – 14,101
Curtis Martin posted his team’s best rushing yards tally in all of his three seasons with the New England Patriots and all of his eight with the New York Jets. The running back was also only the second NFL player ever to achieve the 1,000-yard mark in each and every one of his first ten years on the field. Martin’s best performance came in 2004 with a remarkable total of 1,697.
5. Adrian Peterson – 14,530
Adrian Peterson debuted in the NFL in 2007 but 13 years later is still going strong. That’s right, the Detroit Lions star bounced back from severe injury to continue his career and take his rushing yards tally to an astonishing 14,530. The running back’s golden year came with the Minnesota Vikings in 2012 when he posted a total of 2,000 rushing yards. Had Peterson remained in full health, he’d undoubtedly be vying for the top spot here.
4. Barry Sanders – 15,269
Barry Sanders was considered to still be very much at the top of his game when he walked away from the NFL in 1998. Just a year earlier he’d amassed a rushing yards tally of 2,053! Renowned for his brute strength, the Detroit Lions icon had passed the 1,000-yard mark in each and every one of his ten seasons with the franchise.
3. Frank Gore – 15,657
Frank Gore is another NFL star who still has the chance to extend his incredible rushing yards tally before retiring from the football field. You see, the running back has already added more than 300 yards during his current stint with the New York Jets. But he amassed the majority of his 15,650+ total while playing for the San Francisco 49ers from 2005 until 2014.
2. Walter Payton – 16,726
What Walter Payton lacked in speed he more than made up for in determination. The late great running back never stopped working whenever he took to the football field, which perhaps explains how he racked up a colossal 16,726 rushing yards during his career. Payton spent all 13 of his NFL seasons with the Chicago Bears and even more remarkably only ever missed a single game.
1. Emmitt Smith – 18,355
So the running back who holds the NFL’s all-time rushing yards record of 18,355 is a man who was once told he’d never make it. Yes, Emmitt Smith’s smaller than average frame deterred many franchise scouts early on in his career. But after the Dallas Cowboys took a punt, Smith repaid their faith by reaching the 1,000-yard mark 11 seasons in a row.