In this article, we will try to rank some of the greatest fullbacks of all times. Our picks are all throwbacks from another era of the NFL. Nowadays, the fullback position is considered a very thankless job, and it is often confused with the running backs.
10. Tony Richardson
Born on December 17, 1971, Antonio Richardson is now a former NFL fullback who played in the league for sixteen seasons. He started at Auburn University as a college football player. In 1994 Richardson signed with Dallas Cowboys as a free agent, because no team selected him. His career continued with Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, and New York Jets.
Although he rushed for only about 1000 yards in 16 NFL seasons, he was considered one of the best blocking backs of his generation. Also, in 2000 he leaded the Kansas City Chiefs in rushing yards. During his career in the NFL, Richardson blocked for multiple running backs, such as Adrian Peterson, Larry Johnson, and Thomas Jones.
9. Mike Alstott
Michael Joseph Alstott, also known as “A-Train” played as a fullback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 12 years. Before his NFL career, he started with college football at Purdue.
As a rookie, he showed a diverse skill set by catching 67 passes for 557 yards. After he started playing for the Buccaneers, he scored at least five rushing touchdowns each season and almost managed to hit the 1000-yard mark in 1999.
In 2002 Alstott won the Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the Oakland Raiders.
8. Larry Csonka
With his height of 6’ 3” and weight around 235 lb, Csonka was a dominant football player. He was part of both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
During his career in the NFL, Csonka played for the New York Giants but his most successful seasons were with the Miami Dolphins. In 3 years, they only had five losses, while making it to the Super Bowl three times and winning 2 of them. Over these three seasons, Csonka recorded over 1000 yards in total.
In Super Bowl VIII, he dominated the Minnesota Vikings with two touchdowns and 145 yards. In the same game, Csonka also won the MVP award.
7. Franco Harris
Franco Harris played in the NFL between 1972 and 1984. He spent 12 years in the league, with the Pittsburg Steelers and his final two years – with the Seattle Seahawks.
In 1972 the Steelers picked Harris in the first round of the NFL Draft. After his first season with the Steelers, Harris become Rookie of the Year because of his 1055 yards on the field. Over the years, Franco Harris was selected for nine consecutive Pro Bowls (1972-1980). In 1977 he was an All-Pro. Harris won four Super Bowls with the Steelers. In 1975, he won the MVP award.
In his career, Franco recorded a total of 12,120 rushing yards.
6. John Riggins
Robert John Riggins, also known as “The Diesel” and “Riggo”. He played in the NFL for the New York Jets (1971-1975) and the Washington Redskins (1976-1985).
He was well known for his special barreling running style and productivity in the later years of his career. At the age of 34, he had his best season in 1983, when he made a league-best 24 touchdowns and 1347 rushing yards.
Riggo was selected for a Pro Bowl player only once, but his greatest success was the MVP award in Super Bowl XVII. In this game, he rushed for 166 yards and scored one touchdown for the Washington Redskins over the Miami Dolphins.
In 1992 John Riggins was elected to be part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
5. Lorenzo Neal
Lorenzo LaVonne Neal played in the NFL for sixteen seasons. In college, he played football for Fresno State University. Over the years in NFL, Neal was part of quite a few teams – New York Jets, , Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders.
He was selected for a Pro Bowl four times and was also a three-time All-Pro. His statistics were not outstanding, but his behavior on the field definitely was. Neal is one of the best blockers in the NFL history.
4. Marion Motley
Marion Motley was an NFL fullbck and linebacker. In his career, he was a member of two teams – the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburg Steelers. He was quick and sharp and excellent on both offense, and defense. With the Browns, Motley won the NFL rushing title, and the team itself won the championship over the Rams.
In 1950, in the game against the Steelers, Motley achieved an outstanding record that stood for 52 years – 17,09 yards per rush in a 188-yard game.
3. Bronko Nagurski
Bronko Nagurski played in the NFL as a fullback and a tackle for the Chicago Bears. He was well known for his size and strength. Nagurski started with football at the University of Minnesota and later he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
With the Chicago Bears, Nagurski made a total of 2778 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns in nine years. In 1963 he was elected for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
2. Earl Campbell
Earl Christian Campbell played in the NFL for eight years with the Houston Oilers and the New Orleans Saints. He was known with his ability to break tackles and his aggressive and brutal running style.
In college, Campbell played for the University of Texas and won the Heisman Trophy. In 1978, when the Oilers drafted him, he won the NFL Rookie of the Year award. In each of his first three seasons, Campbell was named NFL's Offensive Player of the Year. He ran for almost 1700 rushing yards per year.
His most fabulous season would definitely be in 1979/80 when he leaded the league in touchdowns and rushing yards winning the NFL MVP award.
Earl Campbell ended his career with 9407 rushing yards and 74 touchdowns in total.
1. Jim Brown
James Nathaniel Brown was one of the greatest players in American Football history. He had many achievements as part of the NFL, playing for the Cleveland Browns.
In his career, Jim Brown had 12,312 rushing yards and 106 touchdowns in 9 nine years. He dominated the NFL with his records, and he is still the Browns' all-time rushing leader.
In 1964, Jim Brown helped his Cleveland Browns to win the NFL Championship.