Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles was somewhat overshadowed this season by running backs like DeMarco Murray, Le’Veon Bell and Marshawn Lynch. But Charles did something this season that puts him in some truly elite company in NFL history.
Charles finished the season with 1,033 rushing yards and a 5.0 yards per carry average. For Charles, that’s par for the course: It was his fifth season with at least 1,000 yards and an average of at least 5.0 yards a carry.
But while that’s a normal season for Charles, it’s an extraordinary season for most NFL running backs. Here’s the entire list of running backs in NFL history who have had five seasons with 1,000 yards and an average of 5.0 yards a carry or more: Jim Brown and Barry Sanders. And now Jamaal Charles.
Running backs can rarely maintain a high average while carrying a big enough workload to get 1,000 yards, so the 1,000-yard, 5.0-per-carry season is more rare than most fans might think. Other than Charles, no active player has done it more than twice. Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton did it once each.
Charles leads all running backs in NFL history with an average of 5.5 yards a carry for his career, and he’s never finished a season with an average of less than 5.0 yards a carry. He may not have been the best running back in the NFL this year, but he took another step toward the Hall of Fame.