Everyone has an opinion about the best players in NFL history, and Dolphins star receiver Tyreek Hill recently offered his take when naming the league's five best running backs. It's an interesting list with Hill giving a few unconventional answers, including omitting who many consider the greatest running back of all-time: Jim Brown.
So how does the top of this list break down? Peterson was the best running back of Hill's generation, so it's not a surprise he was the No. 1 pick. The best running back in an era where passing games dominated, Peterson has rushed for 14,820 yards and 118 touchdowns in his career. Peterson is fifth in NFL history in career rushing yards and fourth in rushing touchdowns -- 449 yards behind Barry Sanders for fourth and five touchdowns behind Marcus Allen for third.
Peterson holds the NFL record for rushing yards in a game with 296, one of six 200-yard rushing games in his career (tied with O.J. Simpson for the most in league history). His eight 1,000-yard seasons are tied for sixth-most in NFL history and his eight seasons of 10-plus rushing touchdowns are tied with Emmitt Smith for second-most in league history.
Peterson is just one of eight players with 2,000 rushing yards in a season, rushing for 2,096 yards in his MVP season (2012). A four-time First Team All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowl selection, Peterson led the league in rushing three times, rushing yards per game four times, and rushing touchdowns twice. Peterson has the most 50-yard rushing touchdowns in a career (16) and 60-yard rushing touchdowns in a career (13) -- along with the most rushing yards in an eight-game stretch (1,322).
Henry has been the best running back since Hill entered the league, leading the NFL in rushing with 7,101 yards along with 68 touchdowns over the last five seasons-- 20 more than the next closest player (Nick Chubb). Averaging 4.9 yards per carry during that stretch, Henry has four 1,000-yard seasons and has led the NFL in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns twice (2019, 2020).
With the top two being Peterson and Henry, Hill named Sanders at No. 3. Sanders played 10 seasons in the NFL and never had fewer than 1,100 rushing yards in a season or fewer than 1,300 yards from scrimmage in a season. He made an All-Pro team and Pro Bowl in every season.
The only running back that could top those accolades is Brown -- who Hill did not have in his top five. Brown is the only player in NFL history to average more than 100 rushing yards per game. and the only non-quarterback to win league MVP three times. He led the league in rushing five straight years (1957-1961) -- no other player has five rushing titles in a career. Brown also never missed a game.
Hill could have been a victim to history -- Brown played long before Hill was born -- but Sayers is on the list and his prime was immediately after Brown played. Sayers was also one of the best return men in NFL history, which may have factored into Hill's decision to place him on his list.
Of course, this is Hill's opinion and he's entitled to his selections.