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Monday’s Prime Numbers looks at No. 34

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The Prime Numbers series on NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk continues Monday, with a number that has been worn by multiple Hall of Famers and one guy who would have made it if his hip hadn’t been irreversibly damaged in January 1991.

No. 34 takes center stage, and we’ll look at the results of your votes for the best to ever don the digits.

Go ahead and vote for two, since we assume Walter Payton would get 100 percent of the vote if we allowed only one.

Then, tune in at 5:30 p.m. ET Monday for the one-hour edition of the program.  Unless you live in Portugal.  If so, you’re not invited.

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48 Responses to “Monday’s Prime Numbers looks at No. 34”
  1. raiderapologist says: Jun 22, 2014 9:01 PM

    Bo Jackson got hurt so bad playing football he had to finish his career as a baseball player.

  2. bronx77 says: Jun 22, 2014 9:03 PM

    Not even worth a vote. Walter then nobody else in my opinion.

  3. joker65 says: Jun 22, 2014 9:04 PM

    I still think Payton was the best of all time.

  4. numberoneinthehoodg says: Jun 22, 2014 9:10 PM

    There’s two “O’s” in Goose, there is one “T” in Payton. Great list, but being a fan from an opposing team in the same division, it’s Walter Payton and then everybody else.

  5. rutchaser says: Jun 22, 2014 9:10 PM


  6. jacobk621 says: Jun 22, 2014 9:11 PM

    Earl Campbell wasn’t too shabby !!

  7. ketch20too says: Jun 22, 2014 9:15 PM

    raider…don’t you mean he got hurt so badly playing football that his baseball career ended too?

  8. rdrfan says: Jun 22, 2014 9:16 PM

    Walter by a mile. Earl Campbell and Bo Jackson weren’t to bad either but injuries cut them short.

  9. gnrfan8804 says: Jun 22, 2014 9:22 PM

    Payton and Thurman Thomas?

  10. clownsfan says: Jun 22, 2014 9:26 PM

    Kevin Mack. He wasn’t the greatest but he was nasty!

  11. buffalomook says: Jun 22, 2014 9:26 PM

    Walter Peyton then Thurman Thomas

  12. mgr4fun says: Jun 22, 2014 9:33 PM

    Joe Perry is not getting the respect he is due, he was amazing … I voted for Walter but they were all gr8.

  13. gofor2with3pointlead says: Jun 22, 2014 9:34 PM

    Don’t get me wrong Bo Jackson was a phenomenal athlete but the only plausible explanation for Bo Jackson finishing above Earl Campbell is those who voted for Jackson never saw Campbell play.

  14. hurricanegrabowski says: Jun 22, 2014 9:47 PM

    Payton is amongst the greatest players of all time, and it can be argued he’s the greatest RB of all time. Those others were fine players, but I don’t understand how anyone who has followed the sport could vote for anyone other than Payton. He succeeded on some bad Bears teams, and played a good chunk of his career on offenses without much else. Guys like Sanders and especially E. Smith had pro-bowlers on their offense alongside them. The first Bears player, other than Payton, to get a pro-bowl nod during Payton’s tenure came in 1985, ten years after Payton entered the league. His accomplishments, breaking the rushing record at the time chief among them, is amazing considering that for a large chunk of his career, was THE Bears offense.

  15. metalhead65 says: Jun 22, 2014 9:53 PM

    why is the guitar player for Aerosmith on here? Bo Jackson was the best athlete of all time but Walter is the best football player to ever wear the number.

  16. bronx77 says: Jun 22, 2014 10:00 PM


    I completely agree. Adrian Peterson carries his offense nowadays but even he doesn’t compare to what Walter did for the bears all those years. I only bring up Adrian to have a comparison for people who can’t remember Walter playing. He was truly great. Still the greatest in my opinion. And I’m not a bears fan.

  17. iamdinguskhan says: Jun 22, 2014 10:06 PM

    Sweatiness!! Walter Payton hands down

  18. bwisnasky says: Jun 22, 2014 10:20 PM

    I love Walter, and voted for him… but this was the toughest of these polls that I’ve seen. Bo may have been up there had he stayed healthy… Earl Campbell was an absolute Beast…. Thurman was an unsung hero of the Bills teams that went to 4 straight Superbowls… Walker was an exciting player every time he touched the ball.. and those that don’t know who Joe Perry don’t have any idea about the history of the game…… Ultimately, Waldo was the best to wear 34 though…..

  19. rdrfan says: Jun 22, 2014 10:21 PM

    Thurman Thomas …. Are you delusional ?

  20. 1bigtex says: Jun 22, 2014 10:24 PM

    Bo Jackson never had a 1000 yard season and had 16 TD’s total for his career. Earl had almost as many yards in one season (1934) as Bo had all time and he had a season with 19 TDs as well as 71 for his career.

    Bo could have been great. Earl was great.

  21. luz56 says: Jun 22, 2014 10:35 PM

    Walter Payton carried the Bears.. I watched him destroy a Vikings D in 77 whose best days were past prime but still pretty good…he was what AP is today … The best in the game that dominates games

  22. theoriginalbvan says: Jun 22, 2014 10:36 PM

    This rival owner votes “sweetness”! Dang me!

  23. ketch20too says: Jun 22, 2014 10:39 PM


  24. durskichiro says: Jun 22, 2014 11:14 PM

    IMO the greatest 34s:

    1 Payton: I have only OJ Simpson ahead of him all time.
    2 Campbell
    3 Walker
    4 James Wilder
    5 William Andrews
    6 Perry
    7 Thomas
    8 Jackson
    9 Mack

  25. Aaron Rodgers Has Tiny Hands says: Jun 22, 2014 11:23 PM

    Did you seriously put Herschel Walker on that list?

  26. chinahand11 says: Jun 23, 2014 12:21 AM

    This has to be one of the toughest. I voted for Walter, then it got tough. I always like the running backs. So Earl got my other vote. That man was a human truck. A fast one.

  27. wyrdawg says: Jun 23, 2014 12:31 AM

    Earl Campbell will always be one my heroes as a kid. The man… just.. moved.. walls.. People. Concrete. Didn’t matter.

    Thurman Thomas: consummate professional (with helmet attached. 🙂 ). I’ve always liked Thurman’s style of play. Jim Kelly and Andre Reed too. Shoot. As a Bears fan, I loved that whole team.

    There will always be the thought (or should be): anyone getting the “34” these days is probably a “camp body.” Any team. Anywhere. This number is magical.

    Mr. Payton was “the” guy. The guy was funny (google Walter’s SNL visits). The guy was the epitome of a teammate. Poll every true Bears fan: SB XX. The Fridge? McMahon? Nope. Broken-hearted that Walter didn’t get to score..

    .. after all he did for his team. Led the Bears in rushing AND catches. Blocking? Forget about it. This man blew you up.


  28. wyrdawg says: Jun 23, 2014 12:36 AM

    The best part about this post? Scrolling up to read the comments, then seeing the man representing it up top. Great, great idea on these!

  29. gofor2with3pointlead says: Jun 23, 2014 2:07 AM

    Something else that should be mentioned, all of the gentleman mentioned, were decent people and they deserve the respect they earned. Let’s remember that.

  30. nosleeptilsb says: Jun 23, 2014 2:19 AM

    After Walter Payton, they should have retired the # not just for the Bears, but across the board.

  31. rukkus1 says: Jun 23, 2014 4:58 AM


    All these others were really special too. That says a lot about who Payton was.

  32. joetoronto says: Jun 23, 2014 4:58 AM

    Thurman Thomas, LOL!

  33. 315judman says: Jun 23, 2014 6:19 AM

    Thurman Thomas > Bo Jackson

  34. durskichiro says: Jun 23, 2014 7:43 AM

    I should not have tried to go off memory. Wilder was 32 and Andrews 31.

  35. indywilson40 says: Jun 23, 2014 7:46 AM

    Trent Richardson will be in this group one day….

  36. djshnooks says: Jun 23, 2014 8:02 AM

    Thurman Thomas, hands down.

  37. themeccalambeaufield says: Jun 23, 2014 8:46 AM

    Why in the world would people vote Bo Jackson and worse yet why is he even on the list? Has this changed to the greatest in potential to ever wear the number?

  38. edgeofepic says: Jun 23, 2014 8:57 AM

    One word: Tebucky. As in “Tebucky Jones”

  39. donterrelli says: Jun 23, 2014 9:50 AM

    Ricky Williams

  40. supesfan34 says: Jun 23, 2014 11:14 AM

    I was a huge fan of Thurman Thomas back in the day, but the vote here is for Payton and no one else is close.

  41. swede700 says: Jun 23, 2014 12:35 PM

    Bo was probably one of the more electric players, but he was unable to play long enough to warrant selection here.

  42. Moudabo says: Jun 23, 2014 12:37 PM

    Bo was incredible. Like a meteor, he flashed brightly
    but unfortunately, burned out much too quickly.
    Sweetness did it all at a high level for a long time, and
    was such an amazing person. He was my favorite, may he RIP.

    But I have to give the edge to Earl Campbell.
    He was fearless. His combination of size, strength
    and athleticism were unmatched. As a divisional
    opponent, he earned my respect many times over.
    The battles of Campbell vs the Steel Curtain were
    always bloody and epic affairs. Much respect.

  43. DitkasHair says: Jun 23, 2014 1:26 PM

    Bo was one hell of a lot better human being than Walter….

  44. 1bigtex says: Jun 23, 2014 5:46 PM

    To all the Raiders fans who always insist on what an all time great Bo was: the guy does not crack the top 250 in total rushing yards. HE IS NOT EVEN IN THE TOP 250 RB’S IN YARDS GAINED FOR HIS CAREER. Fran Tarkenton gained more yards rushing than Bo for Pete’s sake. If you are going to be considered one of the all time greats, it’s best if you actually had a career. Anyone who voted for Bo is an idiot.

  45. durskichiro says: Jun 24, 2014 12:03 AM

    IMO top 34s revised

    1 Payton
    2 Ricky Williams: It is close with Campbell but Williams was a better receiver, blocker, faster and had better shake.
    3 Campbell
    4 Walker
    5 Thomas
    6 Perry
    7 Jackson
    8 Mack

  46. lagg1 says: Jun 24, 2014 2:30 PM

    Of course, Walter Payton is number one. You can throw in Earl Campbell-the ‘Human battering ram’. But some props should be given to Joe Perry. Joe attended Compton Juco then the NFL. He had two years with the 49n’ers where his yards per carry was over 6 as a 200 lb fullback-yikes!

  47. jayfish6402 says: Jun 24, 2014 10:09 PM

    If Bo Jackson didn’t get hurt and didn’t play baseball, he would be better than Payton, but that’s not the case. They spelled Payton wrong on the poll.

  48. canedaddy says: Jun 25, 2014 4:57 PM

    Campbell was better than Sweetness. Campbell was better than everybody (except maybe Jim Brown).

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