Barry Sanders

American former professional football player who played as a running back in the National Football League (NFL), from 1989 to 1998 for the Detroit Lions Website

Approval Rate: 87%

87%Approval ratio

Reviews 53

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  • by


    Tue Aug 25 2009

    His legacy could have been so much better...ended up looking like a quitter. Which he kind of was at the end....

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    Fri Nov 28 2008

    I would have loved to have watched Barry play several more years, but as the Rolling Stones once sang “you can’t always get what you want” Barry was remarkable while playing on some awful Detroit teams. The only knock on the guy was he would dance a little too much for my taste behind the line of scrimmage. However if you are as elusive as Barry you can get away with that. He was a great one.

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    Thu Nov 06 2008

    The best 2 Running backs of all time both ended there careers early. Jim Brown is the other back i'm talking about.....I still to this day think about "what if" Sanders just palyed 2 or 3 more years. He had records no one would have touched. Specially if u account for the team he played for vs what others (emmit Smith) and any future backs have....Most people dont even think of this stat. All 10 years in his career he rushed for 1000 yards +, including his first year. Alot of backs that have had long streaks didnt rush for 1000 there first nfl season.... He also had 5 years in arow he rushed 1500 + yards....He was my idle growing up and it was disappointing, but anyone that watch Barry run knows he's the best no matter what the paper stats show for the future....

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    Sun Aug 24 2008

    As much as I love Emmitt Smith, I have to admit Sanders was probably better. He played on horrible teams, yet was a threat everytime he touched the ball. His footwork was incredible.

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    Wed Jul 16 2008

    This guy was amazing. He never complained about money, he only wanted to win. If he had a better quarterback and offensive line, he would not have retired so early and would have set rushing records no one would ever touch including the great Emmitt Smith.

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    Fri May 23 2008

    Its not enough to hit him. This guy had a creepy knack for keeping his balance. UPDATE: Ifs aside, he still threw down despite a horrible team around him and on raw talent was a better back than Emmitt Smith. Plus he had the good sense to hang it up before he was a joke like Emmitt, as Emmitt played junk seasons with the Cardinals just to break a couple records. UPDATE: Is the Emmitt fan club back? Kids, it was all about the line with Emmitt. I could have banged out four yards a carry with those beasts. Eh, where's Emmitt on the list anyways...

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    Fri May 23 2008

    A fine back, one of the best ever, but he's not on the same page as Brown, Payton, Dickenson, Sayers or Simpson. He's just behind them though, and not by much. As to his retirement, that's a non-issue as far as I'm concerned.

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    Fri May 23 2008

    he's no Emmitt Smith, never was never will be. Never will have a superbowl ring. never mind 3 that Emmitt Smith has. Maybe if he didn't have his daddy tell the lions he's quiting the team & stuck it out maybe he would have one 1. Emmitt Smith never quitted on his team. Get that thru your thick scull all of you Barry Sanders fans. Emmitt Smith is the rushing king & you all can't do nothing about it. you can say what you want, but records he broke will always be there. so don't be jelious & just envy him.

  • by


    Fri May 23 2008

    Other than Jim Brown the greatest running back ever!!!!

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    Fri May 23 2008

    Great balance, great speed, great vision, great feet, great power in his legs and a man of great character! I guess I am saying that he was great! It is hard to compare him to other great backs. Dickerson only was great for 3 or 4 years, Sayers, as well. Emmitt played on a great team nearly his whole career and played much longer than Barry. Payton played much longer as well. Jim Brown played in a different era. I think Barry was the most gifted runner of all time.

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    Fri May 23 2008


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    Tue Apr 29 2008

    He just up and quit on his team!

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    Tue Apr 15 2008

    he was unstoppable and couldnt be touched hes the greatest player to ever play the game!!!!!!!

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    Thu Feb 28 2008

    The best running back ever (after Sweetness).  Unfortunate that he played for such a horrible team.  Left with class though.  Said he was retiring, and he actually did.  And seriously, how could you blame him??

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    Wed Feb 13 2008

    Barry was the most exciting RB I've ever seen. If only he'd have had a team around him...?

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    Wed Dec 12 2007

    As an all-around back goes, I wouldn't rank him as the best because he didn't have terribly good blocking or recieving skills, but damn was this guy a freak when he ran the ball!!! He was constantly making runs that would make your jaw drop, and would have easily won the career rushing title if he wouldn't have left the game early after the '98 season. Barry didn't care about the record, he just wanted to win. He didn't think he ever would win with the Lions. Instead we got to watch the overrated, over-the-hill Emmitt Smith hang on and limp to the all-time mark, then play for the Cardinals simply for the sake of putting the record further out of reach. Oh a Packer fan, it was a pleasure to go against Barry all those years. He was great!!!

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    Fri Sep 07 2007

    if you watched his games you would have been amazed of what you saw!! 1 second he would have been goin left anouther he will be goin right and then back left!! knowbody could every get him just amazin!

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    Mon Jul 23 2007

    the only reason say sanders isnt the best of all time is becuase heretired so ealry in his prime if couldv just stayed for 3 or 4 years more and had a btter offensive line he wouldve lft paytons record in the dirt and with his moves man but for real the lions had the crapyest line of like all time like the raiders line and h still found a way to get out and bust big moves the guy had litlerally 10 pple coming his way!! unlike payton smith and jim brown and all those other guys barry hadno lie what so eveer so wtf ith all that he is the greatets back of all tim no offence tomlinson u wil be the gratest back of all time

  • by


    Mon Feb 19 2007

    Barry Sanders is the best running back of all-time. If he had played only 3 or 4 more years than he did he would have the most  yards by a RB.

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    Sun Feb 18 2007

    Yeah, look at his stats. Year in and year out they matched or beat those of Emitt Smith. I guess the fact that Emitt had one of the best run-blocking O lines in the history of the NFL has nothing to do with it, right? There is no "if"....Barry was the best.

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    Sun Feb 18 2007

    Everybody seems to love to play the "if" game with Sanders. "IF Barry had Emmitt's offensive line.." "IF Barry hadn't retired..." BLAH BLAH BLAH! Keep on fantasizing, because that's pretty much all you can do. Barry was flashy, he had the moves, and he excited people because of it. But look at his playoff stats..including a negative yardage game against the Packers.

  • by


    Wed Jan 03 2007

    Barry Sanders rushed for over a thousand yards in every single one of his seasons. He even beat O.J. Simpson's record for most yards gained in a single season (O.J. had 2,003 yards) Barry Sanders had 2,053 yards. His 2,053 yards is behind only Jamal Lewis (2,066) and Eric Dickerson (2,135) He is the third all time leading rusher in NFL history with 15,269 yards. What really makes me mad is that he retired at the age of only 30. If he had played for a few more seasons he would have easily beat Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith. Walter Payton had 16,726 yards and Emmitt Smith had 18,355. If you think about it Barry could have easily beaten their records. That is why I think Barry Sanders is the best running back in NFL history. He also made the Pro Bowl in all of his ten seasons in the NFL.

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    Fri Nov 24 2006

    Haters recognize the greatestrunning back hands down!

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    Thu Oct 12 2006

    his huge thighs says it all like some one we know patriots ring a bell what about the name maurice drew u know what im talking about guys

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    Sat Jun 17 2006

    Looked like an artist when he held the ball. It was amazing seeing him juke and spin around opponents much bigger than him

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    Tue May 16 2006

    He was not only the best, but the most exciting to watch. I have to rate him number one of all time for three reasons. He has the second highest yards per carry (Jim Brown being number one) and he was the most elusive and exciting player to watch in all of football history. Third, he was a humble man with alot of class.

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    Sat May 13 2006

    Barry Sanders rarely played on 3rd down passing downs. A great runner but many are better.

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    Mon Feb 13 2006

    Hands down, THE best RB who have ever put on a football helmet other than Walter Payton. It's a shame he retired early. The only reason Emitt broke the record for rushing yards in a career in 2002 because of that reason.

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    Sun Feb 05 2006

    It seems to me that there is no gray area in everyones arguments. So let's settle this once and for all. In terms of pure skill Barry was better than Emmitt. Yes he quit, but that is none of your business. It took Emmitt I think around 4 years after Barry retired to pass him in yards. Yes Emmitt had a better O-Line, a real quarterback and a great coach, but he was still a good running back. I see all these one star ratings on both Emmitt and Barry's sites, and that is just absurd. The one star should be given to the people giving those ratings. Anyone who doesn't have the respect for the game to realize the greatness of both of these men should go to the politics page, you would fit right in. Oh and by the way Jim Brown was the greatest running back of all time, HANDS DOWN!!!

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    Tue Jan 31 2006

    definently the greatest running back of all time. but if he had a good offensive line then we probably wouldn't have seen him make all those great plays becase he would just be running through the gaps and hole the o. line had made for him, that means no jukes, breaking tackles, or explosiveness. but it would make me happy to have seen him on a(n) half decent team then he would have probably have had double the yards but not in a more gracefull style of his godly running back years for my home-town team of the Detroit lions. the lions showed his skills but also constricted him by sucking and never winning a superbowl.

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    Sun Jan 01 2006

    never seen a better running back period. he made a game very interesting watching him juke defenders. sure do miss watching him.

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    Sat Dec 24 2005

    The numbers speak for themselves. Emmitt is the best of all time. Don't tell me Barry would have been better with Dallas' line...they a are 2 different types of runners. Emmitt found creases and ran up the middle. Barry ran around the outside. If Emmitt wanted to, he could still be rushing for 1,000 yards this season for the lowly Cardinals!

  • by


    Wed Dec 21 2005

    Easily the greatest collage running back, really playing only his junior year while backing up Thurman Thomas his first two. His marks of single season rushing and single season touchdowns are still records in the NCAA, and no one is has ever really come close to matching them. He was short, but tough and stocky. Something like 5'8 but also just over 200 pounds! He was too quick, and too strong to be brought down by one player, and his greatest attribute of all, explosiveness. He was probably the greatest back to watch, as he could make the best talkers look extremely bad. Whereas Brown would simply run a player over (noting wrong with that though), he would go around them easily. He could juke anyone, and he was probably the greatest player with the least amount to say. Unlike the great players of today (really no one comes close to his caliber today, but, for the purpose of comparison) he did not shove anything in the defense's face, rather, after he made a great play, it sim... Read more

  • by


    Mon Dec 19 2005

    Sanders was not only the greatest Running Back to ever touch a ball but he was also a true role model and professional. Never once has he done an endzone dance or celebrate in any way. He simply did his job phenominally, broke the plane of the goal line and handed the ball to the line judge and trotted back to the sideline.

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    Mon Dec 19 2005

    He's the greatest player of all time. End of discussion.

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    Tue Dec 13 2005

    Frankly, the best pure talented running back I've ever seen. I give much respect to Emmitt Smith and what he did in his career, but Barry Sanders handed him the rushing title. When it comes to impacting the game from the running back position, Barry is the Micheal Jordan of football.

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    Mon Dec 12 2005

    This guy was the best back in the nfl, and in my opinon the best ever. He didn't have a good team or offensive line, yet he excelled still. At the goal line he didn't get the ball because the offensive line couldn't stop the defensive, and he scored well beyond the goalline.

  • by


    Mon Dec 05 2005

    this guy is the greatest running back ive ever seen. stay str8 barry much love cya.

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    Sun Dec 04 2005

    Terrible O-Line and still at the top for league leader in yards every year. He led the Lions to playoffs. If he had Emmitt Smiths O-Line or if he wouldnt have retired so early he would have about 20,000 yards. Watching him was just amazing.

  • by


    Sun Dec 04 2005

    We used to watch him when he played for Oklahoma State, and he was sensational. He was even better in the NFL. I can't find anyone who will explain why he quit so early, when he would have surely broken Walter Payton's record. Did someone threaten him? (anybody out there know?)

  • by


    Sun Nov 27 2005

    I agree. Sanders had trash O-Line's, and he still efficiently carried his teams offense. The only year he had a passing game was when Scott Mitchell passed for 4,000+ yards, and Moore and Perriman set the record for most yards and receptions between a receiver duo. And he retired because he never envisioned the Lions ever winning a superbowl. And I agree with his decision, the organization expected him to do everything and wasn't committed at all. But the way he did it, in the middle of training camp was a little unlike him. But still, nontheless he had a good reason I suppose. And Emmitt Smith wouldn't have the TD's he had if the Cowboys decided they would let Aikman throw the TD's at the goaline instead of Smith running it. Priest Holmes is a really similar player, except he had a passing attack even betterthen Aikman's, which means that Priest might actually be on the same level as Emmitt in his prime.

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    Wed Nov 16 2005

    this guy ran for 1,000 yard seasons every year with a terrible offensive line. they didn't give him the ball inside the red zone because he wasn't a power back. emmitt smith had quite possibly the best offensive line in the history of the league, so they moved defenses, which allowed him to waltz into the end zone. he chose not to continue his career and retired in his prime. he is hands down the greatest nfl player ever! he hasn't played in 5 years, yet they still show his clips in pregame videos because there hasn't been anyone near as gifted as he was in the open field before or since.

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    Mon Nov 14 2005


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    Sun Nov 06 2005

    Certainly electrifying but I'm not sure I'd want a back who might run for 200 yds in a game and then again, if he doesn't get his three or four holes to open up, he may be contained for 50 yds. People forget that for most of his prime the Lions had like 18 wide receivers who could play even with the bums they had at pivot - Barry got a lot of pass dee to run into. Give me a back, or even a pair of backs that will get me a steady 125-150 yds a game and can convert two of every three short third down situations and I'll get in the playoffs every year. Plus I think for every yard he gained the Lions defense gave up two, at least Payton got his championship.

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    Fri Nov 04 2005

    best of any back ever in the numbers and grace.

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    Thu Nov 03 2005

    Probably the best that will ever grace the gridiron. I have such a mancrush on him it's not even funny. I won't bash other backs (you know who) but how many pro-bowlers did Barry have blocking for him and how many did that other guy have. That's what I thought. I don't get why people give him 1 star for quitting, who here hasn't got fed up with a crappy job or company and wanted to walk out. I'm fairly certain that if the Lions had actually put forth some effort to win instead of relying on him every year to sell tkts and get them 8 or 9 wins he might have stuck around longer. Long live Barry and my Barry Sanders figurine collection.

  • by


    Mon Oct 24 2005

    All though I think that the Sweatness definitely deserves to be up close to the top, I think that if Barry would have continued on the pace that he was on and was alos on a better team w/ a better Off. Line, he would have been the best w/o question.

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    Tue Oct 11 2005

    Barry sanders is the greatest running back of all time ( so far ) cument_id=4584 just because he doesnt have as much as yards as Emmitt Smith look he was only like what 10 years pro? if he didnt quit so early he would have Emmitt Smith's records right now

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    Tue Aug 09 2005

    A gift from the football gods...If only for a short while. Took Emmit Smith like two extra years, or something to even catch up to Sanders, and Smith had the superior offensive line! Barry Sanders was the most electrifying player at ANY position in my admittedly heavily biased opinion.

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    Sat Jul 23 2005

    What an amazing player. My favorite Barry moment was during a Thanksgiving day game. My mom walked in from cooking and Barry ran hog-wild for a 40 yard TD run. My mom just said: That was AMAZING! (She hated football.)

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