• July 14, 2023

The Greatest Running Backs of the New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints entered the National Football League in 1966, and like most expansion teams, they had some rough years early on. Since then, they’ve had a good mix of successful years and years that were more difficult.

Like all NFL teams, the Saints have relied on running backs over the years. Lucky for them, they’ve also had some very good ones in their history. Here’s a look at some of the greatest New Orleans Saints running backs of all time.

The best for a race
The Saints’ all-time leading rusher is running back Deuce McAllister. He played for the team from 2001-2008, rushing for 6,096 yards during that time. That’s nearly 2,000 yards more than the second-place player on that list, Dalton Hilliard. McAllister also leads the list in rushing touchdowns scored with 49, again Hilliard is in second place, this time with 39 scores of his own. The running back with the highest average yards per carry, with a minimum of 300 rushing attempts in his career, is Pierre Thomas at 5.1. Thomas is outshone in this category, but not by a running back. Former quarterback Archie Manning carried the ball 357 times for 2,058 yards, an average of 5.8 yards per carry.

The best for a season
No New Orleans Saints running back has rushed for more yards in a season than George Rogers. In 1981, Rogers had 1,674 yards. McAllister missed this spot in the team record books by just 34 yards in 2003 when he rushed for 1,641 yards. Three players are tied for the team record for most rushing touchdowns scored in a season with 13. George Rogers did this in the same 1981 season, Dalton Hilliard matched that mark in 1989, and then Deuce McAllister joined them with 13 in 2002. When he averages the highest yards per carry over the course of a season, with a minimum of 150 rushing attempts, Chuck Muncie tops the list. In 1979, Muncie carried the ball 238 times for 1,198 yards and an average of 5.0 yards per carry.

The best for a game
In a 28-17 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in 1983, George Rogers set the all-time record for rushing yards in a game for the Saints when he had 206 yards. In 1986, Rueben Mayes came close to taking that mark for himself when he rushed for 203 yards in a 31-27 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Eight different Saints players are tied for the record for most rushing touchdowns in a game at three, but no player has done it twice. Those players are Mario Bates, Reggie Bush, Rueben Mayes, Deuce McAllister, Chuck Muncie, George Rogers, Ricky Williams and Wayne Wilson. Tony Galbreath holds the single game record for highest average yards per carry in a game, with at least ten carries. In a 1976 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, Galbreath carried the ball 14 times for 146 yards or an average of 10.43 yards per carry. Two other running backs averaged more than ten yards per carry in a game for the team. Gill Fenerty carried the ball ten times for 104 yards in a 1990 win over the Rams and Hokie Gajan carried the ball 11 times for 113 yards in a loss against the New York Jets.

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