There have been some ludicrous statements made on this thread.
The title was "Greatest Runningbacks"
What is that?
1) Greatest at longevity?
2) Greatest at accumulating yards?
3) Greatest at leading his team to superbowls?
4) Greatest single season?
5) Greatest package of speed/power?
6) Could have been the greatest but injuries cut him short?
7) Greatest, most advanced for his era?
First off, Jim Brown was the greatest for sheer talent. His career wasn't too short, he played almost 10 years. Gail Sayers unfortunately was too short.
Jim Brown played when seasons were 12 games not 16. Jim Brown played when the hashmarks were spread out much further thus narrowing the point of attack on rushing. Go back and look at the impact of bringing in the hashmarks in the 70's, there was a boom of 1,000 rushers the next year. Jim Brown could sprint like OJ Simpson and hit like Earl Campbell. IMO if he kept playing as long as Emmit he would have had 20,000 yards.
Did you know Barry Sanders also holds the record for most yards lost from scrimage? Tremendously exciting too watch but IMO would never lead a team to a superbowl. You can't win games consistantly when you are waiting for the homerun, which is what Barry was too the Lions. Too bad we couldn't have seen him on a better team, and we could have but he walked away.
OJ Simpson also played in the shorter season era. He was without a doubt one of the best. Blazing speed, could cut on the fly without loosing a step. The year he gained 2003 yards some shlub blocking for him gained over a thousand
. Imagine that, 3,000 yards in a backfield in one year. Everyone knew OJ was coming and they still couldn't stop him.
Walter Payton was similar too Pete Rose, they both played a long time and accumulated big numbers. I love Walter, I don't mean to diss him. He had a huge heart and more toughness than any player I've seen but I don't think he was as physically gifted as many, nor as consistantly spectacular.