Check NFL rushing stats over the last two seasons and there is one very obvious trend—running backs over the age of 30 almost never cross the century mark anymore.
No running back age 30 or older ran for 1,000 yards last season. The last to do so was former Denver Bronco Willis McGahee in 2011.
As production withers as backs get closer to 30, they often opt for either retirement or a lessened role to limit the already immense amount of pounding their bodies have taken.
35-year-old running back rushing for 1,000 yards? That’s just crazy—unless you’re the great John Riggins.
Over on NFL.com is a list complied of some of the greatest individual performances in league history by guys 35 and older and Riggins makes the list for most rushing yards in a single season.
The 1992 Hall of Fame inductee leads the franchise is attempts (1,988), yards (7,472) and touchdowns (79).
1,239 yards of those yards came during a 1984 season where he was 35 years old—an age when most at his position were playing golf on Sundays.
Of the 250 greatest seasons by a running back, only 15 have come from backs 30 or older. Only one has come from a 35-year-old.
In eight games against the NFC East (back when the St. Louis Cardinals were a member, too) No. 44 ran for 689 yards and six touchdowns of his league-high 14 rushing touchdowns.
Not too shabby for an “old” guy.
Tags: John Riggins
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