Where does Ladainian Tomlinson rank among the all time RBs?

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Where does Ladainian Tomlinson rank among the all time RBs? 

Post#1 » by therealbig3 » Tue Jan 4, 2011 2:30 pm

How does Tomlinson compare to the greats like Emmitt Smith, Jim Brown, Barry Sanders, etc.? A lot of people are reluctant to rank him close to top 5 all time, and a lot of people don't rank him as top 10. I think he might be getting underrated. After all, he has the 2nd most TDs for a RB ever, he holds the single season TD record, and he averages a great 4.3 Y/A for his career. One of the best receiving RBs ever too.

Also, I think you have to admire how great he's been despite the fact he isn't physically the best RB. Not the fastest, not the most elusive, not the strongest. He was just blessed with incredible vision, and could see the openings and knew how to use his blockers to perfection imo.
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Re: Where does Ladainian Tomlinson rank among the all time RBs? 

Post#2 » by Roger Murdock » Tue Jan 25, 2011 6:59 pm

In his prime top 3 and his overall career was incredible. He was great at everything, receiving, blocking, running inside or out, making guys miss, HB passes etc. Probably the best red zone back ever.
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Re: Where does Ladainian Tomlinson rank among the all time R 

Post#3 » by ElGee » Mon Jan 9, 2012 6:15 pm

therealbig3 wrote:How does Tomlinson compare to the greats like Emmitt Smith, Jim Brown, Barry Sanders, etc.? A lot of people are reluctant to rank him close to top 5 all time, and a lot of people don't rank him as top 10. I think he might be getting underrated. After all, he has the 2nd most TDs for a RB ever, he holds the single season TD record, and he averages a great 4.3 Y/A for his career. One of the best receiving RBs ever too.

Also, I think you have to admire how great he's been despite the fact he isn't physically the best RB. Not the fastest, not the most elusive, not the strongest. He was just blessed with incredible vision, and could see the openings and knew how to use his blockers to perfection imo.


So here's the thing - football has way more moving variables than basketball, so looking at raw stats/production by misleading can potentially be more misleading. So to use a bunch of career stats doesn't resonate with me.

What do you want from a RB? Speed, strength, good vision, can run inside/outside, can block, and can catch. That's ideal. Like in basketball, the combination or versatility doesn't entirely matter as long as the holistic package improves an offense. But it's much harder to measure that impact than merely looking at some stats, especially without at least taking a long hard look to start with at offensive line strength and passing game strength.

Let's just look at the 16 guys ahead of LDT on the yards per game list (obviously this stat isn't a great indicator so I'm using to build an idea of a list):

Brown. I'd say he's better.
Sanders. Again, clearly better IMO.
TD and AP. Career was too short. Dickerson. I think you can make a strong case he was better.
CJ and Foster. Career too short.
Payton. I'd say he was better.
Portis. I don't think he was better.
Sims. Don't think he was better and a super short career.
Martin. This one's interesting bc like Edge James, Martin was a master of the 8-yard run and he blocked well. I think Tomlinson is better than both.
Simpson. I'd say he's better.
Campbell. I tink he had a better peak.
Emmitt. I can go either way here.
Lewis. LDT is better.

Then there are only a select number of players behind him that are candidates. I think he was always better than Shaun Alexander. Tony Dorsett is a potential. Gale Sayers for peak. Jerome Bettis depending on your preferences. Same for Franco Harris. I think Marshall Faulk is better. Thurman Thomas was an interesting weapon. John Riggins and Larry Csonka have quite the rep due to the titles. Some people love Marcus Allen.

All told, without going into great detail, I'd say:

Brown, Sanders, Payton, Simpson and Marshall Faulk were all better. Tomlinson is top-10 I'd say, maybe claiming the next spot.
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Re: Where does Ladainian Tomlinson rank among the all time R 

Post#4 » by therealbig3 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:51 am

Damnnn, I forgot about this, I made it over a year ago lol.

But thanks for the response, I love LDT, one of my favorite players ever. I started watching football only a few years ago, and the first play I ever saw from LDT was this:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4z5f8YGgck[/youtube]
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Re: Where does Ladainian Tomlinson rank among the all time R 

Post#5 » by LAKESHOW » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:47 am

totally underrated now that his career is winding down. but i his time, was rated ELITE all-timer type of back. but hey, thats what you get with ESPN the greatest guy in the moment type of stuff. to me, his cutting ability and vision in the box was supreme! some guys are one cut guys and down hill. he was one cut, then 2 or 3 if needed, all in the span of a few feet, in the hole in the box! his vision was extraordinary. and in my estimation was better than emmit smith talent wise. emmit was a tough tough guy. but i did not see the natural ability of an emmit over LT. LT was posessed with ability and talent, but wasnt always TOUGH in the trenches.
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Re: Where does Ladainian Tomlinson rank among the all time R 

Post#6 » by Chicago76 » Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:17 pm

ElGee wrote:
therealbig3 wrote:How does Tomlinson compare to the greats like Emmitt Smith, Jim Brown, Barry Sanders, etc.? A lot of people are reluctant to rank him close to top 5 all time, and a lot of people don't rank him as top 10. I think he might be getting underrated. After all, he has the 2nd most TDs for a RB ever, he holds the single season TD record, and he averages a great 4.3 Y/A for his career. One of the best receiving RBs ever too.

Also, I think you have to admire how great he's been despite the fact he isn't physically the best RB. Not the fastest, not the most elusive, not the strongest. He was just blessed with incredible vision, and could see the openings and knew how to use his blockers to perfection imo.


So here's the thing - football has way more moving variables than basketball, so looking at raw stats/production by misleading can potentially be more misleading. So to use a bunch of career stats doesn't resonate with me.

What do you want from a RB? Speed, strength, good vision, can run inside/outside, can block, and can catch. That's ideal. Like in basketball, the combination or versatility doesn't entirely matter as long as the holistic package improves an offense. But it's much harder to measure that impact than merely looking at some stats, especially without at least taking a long hard look to start with at offensive line strength and passing game strength.

Let's just look at the 16 guys ahead of LDT on the yards per game list (obviously this stat isn't a great indicator so I'm using to build an idea of a list):

Brown. I'd say he's better.
Sanders. Again, clearly better IMO.
TD and AP. Career was too short. Dickerson. I think you can make a strong case he was better.
CJ and Foster. Career too short.
Payton. I'd say he was better.
Portis. I don't think he was better.
Sims. Don't think he was better and a super short career.
Martin. This one's interesting bc like Edge James, Martin was a master of the 8-yard run and he blocked well. I think Tomlinson is better than both.
Simpson. I'd say he's better.
Campbell. I tink he had a better peak.
Emmitt. I can go either way here.
Lewis. LDT is better.

Then there are only a select number of players behind him that are candidates. I think he was always better than Shaun Alexander. Tony Dorsett is a potential. Gale Sayers for peak. Jerome Bettis depending on your preferences. Same for Franco Harris. I think Marshall Faulk is better. Thurman Thomas was an interesting weapon. John Riggins and Larry Csonka have quite the rep due to the titles. Some people love Marcus Allen.

All told, without going into great detail, I'd say:

Brown, Sanders, Payton, Simpson and Marshall Faulk were all better. Tomlinson is top-10 I'd say, maybe claiming the next spot.


I like your list of Brown, Sanders, Payton, Simpson, and Faulk. I'd probably throw Dickerson in there as well. He had a better line, but everyone knew he was running the ball, and they still couldn't stop the guy. The two knocks on him were his hands (pass receptions and fumbles) and longevity. Hands is a legit complaint, although in an era when guys were stacking the box and waiting for the RB (especially one w/ a weak passing game), fumbles are going to happen more frequently.

The age thing is more a function of carries than anything else. Just so many early in his career. With a substantially deteriorated Colts O line when he was 29 and 30 yrs old, Dickerson was still a 4.1 to 4.2 yard per carry RB...again with guys like Trudeau and a rookie Jeff George as the team's QB. LT was just as abused by that time, but at least the guy had a solid QB that in theory should have opened up the game a bit for a RB.

Net it all out, and I'd take Dickerson's field vision and the relative speed advantage he had vs. his peers compared to LT. LT's production seemed to waver more based upon context year to year (personnel and offensive focus) than Dickerson's too. I'm not saying he was a "system" guy, but he was probably more of a "system" guy than Dickerson.
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Re: Where does Ladainian Tomlinson rank among the all time R 

Post#7 » by jvalanciunas » Mon May 14, 2012 9:25 am

i have been a huge Tomlinson hater throughout his whole career, i think he is has always been highly overrated.

Tomlinson just can't take over games and that is why he is on the list of worst running back in the playoffs ever. his playoff performances are just pathetic, especially when you compare it to other running backs.

it was so easy to stop Tomlinson, like every great running back, you have to stack the box, and the great running backs are still able to produce, even when the defense stacked the box, but but Tomlinson was just pathetic.

i have Barry Sanders, Jim Brown, and Marshall Faulk way ahead of Tomlinson, because those guys could produce even with 8-9 guys in the box.

Tomlinson is not even in the top 10. Vick, even when he is running is more illusive and productive than Tomlinson as a running back.
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Re: Where does Ladainian Tomlinson rank among the all time R 

Post#8 » by Icness » Wed May 16, 2012 1:02 pm

I would rank them like this:
1. Jim Brown
2. Walter Payton
3. Marshall Faulk
4. Barry Sanders
5. Eric Dickerson
6. Emmitt Smith
7. Ladanian Tomlinson
8. Marcus Allen
9. Marion Motley
10. Tony Dorsett

But that's pretty off the top of my head without a full load of morning coffee. The top 5 are basically set in stone for me though.
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Re: Where does Ladainian Tomlinson rank among the all time R 

Post#9 » by LAKESHOW » Fri Aug 3, 2012 8:48 am

no OJ SIMPSON? cmon ice, i know there are still allegations out there that he killed his wife and all, but sheesh, do you still have to pile on?
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Re: Where does Ladainian Tomlinson rank among the all time RBs? 

Post#10 » by andrewww » Thu Feb 12, 2015 4:14 am

He's top 10 for sure imo. I personally think the top 3 rb's of all time are in the same tier followed by 4-12 in the next tier.

Jim Brown
Barry Sanders
Walter Payton

Eric Dickerson
Marshall Faulk
LaDainian Tomlinson
Adrian Peterson
Emmitt Smith
OJ Simpson
Gale Sayers
Terrell Davis (incredible peak)
Earl Campbell
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Re: Where does Ladainian Tomlinson rank among the all time RBs? 

Post#11 » by RavenMad31 » Sat Sep 12, 2015 3:31 am

andrewww wrote:He's top 10 for sure imo. I personally think the top 3 rb's of all time are in the same tier followed by 4-12 in the next tier.

Jim Brown
Barry Sanders
Walter Payton

Eric Dickerson
Marshall Faulk
LaDainian Tomlinson
Adrian Peterson
Emmitt Smith
OJ Simpson
Gale Sayers
Terrell Davis (incredible peak)
Earl Campbell

I can get down with putting Terrell Davis on the list despite the short career, but also having Gale Sayers on is going too far when Eric Dickerson, OJ Simpson and Marcus Allen are absent. Plus, Bo Jackson > Gale Sayers. Hmmm, maybe there should be an All Time Career Cut Short list.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to say that Jerome Bettis is a bum and shouldn't even be allowed to mop floors at the Hall of Fame. He stayed big and fat enough during a long enough stretch of time to stay upright for like 13 years which allowed him time to compile more yards than he's worth.
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Re: Where does Ladainian Tomlinson rank among the all time RBs? 

Post#12 » by Huntsinger2 » Sun Dec 6, 2015 6:28 pm

About 12th. He never brought it in the big games or playoff games.

Emmitt
Barry


Those are the two best

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