We’re now in waiting mode for Super Bowl 51, where the New England Patriots face off against the Atlanta Falcons. We could see another great Super Bowl as the number one scoring defense (New England) tries to stop the number one scoring offense (Atlanta).
Both teams are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball and some of those players could enter the discussion of what players made the most impact in Super Bowl history.
Here is the first segment on an all-time Super Bowl All-Offense team where we showcase the best running backs on the NFL’s biggest stage.
Four running backs will make the team and also one fullback. Due to the amount of great performances, the criteria will be career greatness, single-game greatness, and amount of game MVP’s.
Despite what could have been if not for the injuries, Terrell Davis made his mark as possibly the greatest running back in Super Bowl history.
In Super Bowl 32, despite playing in only three quarters, he ran 30 times for an amazing 157 yards and a Super Bowl record three touchdowns on his way to winning the game’s MVP.
Simply put, the Broncos don’t win their first Super Bowl without Davis. It was his running that kept Brett Favre off the field and wore out the Packers defensive unit.
The next year, while he wasn’t as dominant, he still ran for over 100 yards, allowing John Elway to work off the play-action and carve up the Atlanta secondary.
In just two games, Davis is the fourth leading rusher in Super Bowl history with 259 yards. To put that into context, he trails Franco Harris (4 games, 354 yards), Larry Csonka (3 games, 297 yards), and Emmitt Smith (3 games, 289 yards).
In the words of “Mean” Joe Greene, “Before Franco, we didn’t win. Once Franco got here, we started winning.”
Throughout the decade of the 1970’s, the Steelers’ offense largely went through Franco. In Super Bowl IX, he rushed for 158 yards on 34 carries and had a key nine yard touchdown run.
In his four games, he is the leading rusher in Super Bowl history with 354 yards and has scored four career touchdowns.
As bruising of a back as anyone, Larry Csonka steamrolled through his opponents and Miami was able to capture back to back Super Bowl championships in 1972 and 1973.
He was the centerpiece of the offense and ran for 297 yards in three games and was the MVP of Super Bowl VIII with 145 yards and two touchdowns.
Emmitt Smith led the Dallas Cowboys to three Super Bowls and was the cornerstone of that offense. He is the current leader with five career Super Bowl rushing touchdowns and has 289 career yards, with his best game coming in Super Bowl 28 where he rushed 30 times for for 132 yards and two scores, where he topped off that performance by winning the game’s MVP award.
After comparing the fullbacks (those who specialized in lead-blocking), Howard Griffith was the most productive.
In Super Bowl 32, he primarily punished linebackers and opened holes for Terrell Davis, as the ground game beat Green Bay into submission. His 23 yard catch and run was also a key play on a late touchdown drive.
In Super Bowl 33, Griffith took on more of an offensive role as he scored two short touchdowns, much to the surprise of the Atlanta Falcons. His blocking also helped Terrell Davis run for over 100 yards again en route to Denver’s back to back championships.
A lot of consideration was given to Marcus Allen and Timmy Smith as they had amazing single games. For one game, they were as good or better than anyone, but it was very difficult to ignore these backs’ ability to show up big for multiple games.
Next up…..the All-Time Super Bowl Defensive Backfield.
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