Frank Gore closing in on Barry Sanders on all-time rushing list

Getty Images

Bills running back Frank Gore is one big game away from catching Barry Sanders for the third-most rushing yards in NFL history.

Gore has 15,136 rushing yards in his career, while Sanders retired with 15,269 rushing yards. So if Gore has 134 or more rushing yards on Sunday against the Eagles, he’ll move ahead of Sanders for the top spot in NFL history.

Gore and Sanders got to these places in very different ways. Sanders’ career lasted just 10 years, but he led the league in rushing four times and never finished outside the Top 4 in rushing yards in any of his 10 seasons. Gore has never led the league in rushing and finished in the Top 5 just once, in 2006. But he has had an extraordinarily long career, and is the only player in NFL history to rush for more than 6,000 yards after turning 30.

Soon, possibly as soon as Sunday, Gore will have more career yards than Sanders, something that would have seemed impossible on Gore’s 30th birthday.

70 responses to “Frank Gore closing in on Barry Sanders on all-time rushing list

  1. Frank Gore is also 174 behind Marshall Faulk for 4th in career yards from scrimmage and 203 yards behind Faulk for 7th on the all-purpose yards list.

  2. Congrats on longevity, but perspective please. Gore has 4-1/2 more seasons and many years with an excellent offensive line. Sanders was a 1-man army most of the time. Ask yourself whose highlight reel you’d rather watch or if only 1 could be a Hall of Famer, who you’d choose (without using a single brain cell).

  3. I always thought Gore was a very good player who had a very good career but wasn’t a Hall of Famer. At his peak his career didn’t scream hall of famer to me. But there’s no denying his career numbers. And there’s something to be said about a player who has played 15 years at a position where most players are lucky to play 10 years. He’s getting into the hall of fame.

  4. Been watching him since the U.
    Glad to see, especially with how running backs are used these days.

  5. While I congratulate Mr. Gore on his longevity and brilliant career, these two running back can not be spoken of on the same page. Maybe not even in the same chapter. Barry Sanders was a threat to go to the endzone every time he touched the ball from any place on the field. Hats off to Mr. Gore. However, he. Is not Barry Sanders equal.

  6. Sanders was the best to ever do it ( with the exception of Jim Brown )

    Frank Gore is a rare breed, deserved way more success than he has gotten so far, but I don’t think its an exaggeration to say he has earned every yard he ever got, well done sir.

    Not enough hard nose runners anymore, more finesse runners, they look good and they are productive but just for me, I like a bit of the old school running over defenders Frank Gore thrives on

  7. Barry Sanders is my favorite football player to watch, even eclipsing my home team hero Walter Payton. In self serving way, I really don’t want Frank Gore to break Sanders record. But Gore has endured the brutal physicality of his position to have a long career so that should be respected. Kudos to him.

    Regardless of yardage, to me the trinity of running backs will always be Jim Brown (father), Barry Sanders (son), and Walter Payton (holy ghost).

  8. Frank Gore was NEVER the best RB in the league at any point in his career. Sanders won the rushing title 4 times in 10 years. He had one amazing year, 2006 with almost 1700 yards. He had lots of good years 900-1200 yards, 11 of them. He was very durable (amazing after his college career was ruined by injuries) and hes a grinder. Hes a very good player BUT..
    He is not the same level of player Sanders, Payton, or even Smith were.

  9. Sanders was the best to ever do it ( with the exception of Jim Brown )

    Not enough hard nose runners anymore, more finesse runners, they look good and they are productive but just for me, I like a bit of the old school running over defenders Frank Gore thrives on

    _____

    The best I ever saw was Walter, amazing combination of speed, balance, toughness, and finesse at times. Would run guys over or jump over them.

    You say you dont like finesse runners but Sanders was a finesse runner. He couldnt run anyone over. Amazing highlight reels, but also had the most rushes for loss of any RB ever. Left his team in a lot of 2nd and 11 situations. They used to pull him at the goal line because he was ineffective in short yardage.

  10. With all due respect to Frank, it’s a shame that no one 20 years old or younger ever got the opportunity to watch Barry play. He was truly in an entire class all by himself.

    Defenses could hold him to 22 yards rushing in the first half of games and he’d still end up with over 150. He always made Thanksgiving a little more enjoyable. Thanks Barry!

  11. “he’ll move ahead of Sanders for the top spot in NFL history.”

    Not exactly…. just sayin…..

  12. Didn’t like it when he broke Markeith Cooper’s rushing record, but respected him. Love that he’s still showing out, inspires me that I’m not too old to live out loud.

  13. He’s had a long and productive career but he’s closer to Fred Taylor than he is to Barry Sanders.

  14. He is a Hall of Famer

    The best ability you can have in Football is availability. So, he has earned it.

    He had to do it the Hard way… we see alot of these stats “accumulators” in Baseball, but rarely in Football.

    Hats off to the guy… it’s pretty impresseive

  15. Great career. A lot to be said for longevity… But in no way is he in the same category as other Hall of Fame running backs. Especially ones like Barry Sanders!!!!
    Come on people, how is this even a discussion?

  16. joetoronto says:
    October 26, 2019 at 6:36 am
    Hats off to Frank Gore, too bad for him he had to go to Buffalo.
    ——————————————————–
    Could have been worse for Gore if he ended up on the Argos

  17. Gore didn’t have a good line in Indy, or he would have had more yardage, but at least he is on team that is getting better. He doesn’t compare to Barry, but has always ran between the tackles.

  18. Basically, Gore is the opposite of Gale Sayers. Sayers was extremely great for a very short time and Gore has been just ok for a very long time.

  19. Gore is the definition of a compiler. Nice player, but if anyone confuses him for a HOFer then they’re embarrassing themselves

  20. No comparing Gore to Barry. Barry is the GOAT. He only played to 29. If je went a fee more years he would have been 1 st all time.

  21. October 26, 2019 at 8:42 am
    joetoronto says:
    October 26, 2019 at 6:36 am
    Hats off to Frank Gore, too bad for him he had to go to Buffalo.
    ——————————————————–
    Could have been worse for Gore if he ended up on the Argos
    ———————————————————
    Wouldn’t Gore play for Toronto’s NFL team? You know, the “lock”, the “sure thing|” NFL team in Toronto. Amazing how people can’t see what is in front of them. Some in Toronto claim the Argos are Bush League. That is exactly how the NFL sees Toronto in terms of a potential city for a franchise. Toronto, the city that doesn’t support football at any level, but somehow thinks it deserves a team. Long live the Argos, the ONLY football that will ever be played in Toronto!!!

  22. You know my view on this isn’t a debate on who is better obviously both backs a great in their own way. So what difference does it make if someone likes someone else more and who they think is better. They are both great backs. Gore might be the last back to get into this rare air. I am just glad he is doing it on buffalo so Toronto Joe can continue to hate. Go Bills and Sabres !

  23. Compiler or not, Gore plays good football and deserves to be in the Hall. When the 49ers went to three straight championship games, their defence needed the offence to move the chains and eat the clock…Gore did that for them.

  24. joker65 says:

    October 26, 2019 at 7:43 am

    Sanders was the best to ever do it ( with the exception of Jim Brown )

    Not enough hard nose runners anymore, more finesse runners, they look good and they are productive but just for me, I like a bit of the old school running over defenders Frank Gore thrives on

    _____

    The best I ever saw was Walter, amazing combination of speed, balance, toughness, and finesse at times. Would run guys over or jump over them.

    You say you dont like finesse runners but Sanders was a finesse runner. He couldnt run anyone over. Amazing highlight reels, but also had the most rushes for loss of any RB ever. Left his team in a lot of 2nd and 11 situations. They used to pull him at the goal line because he was ineffective in short yardage
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    That was back when finesse runners weren’t ten a penny, a heck of a lot rarer than they are now, so although I do prefer hard runners, Barry Sanders is my favourite rb of all time and after only Jim Brown the best ever.

    I think if he didn’t retire 4 or 5 years too early, he could have done for rb yardage what Rice did for catch yardage, daylight between himself and the rest and nobody will ever pass it.

  25. Nine 1,000 yd seasons, 5 Pro Bowls, one All-Pro year, and a career 4.4 ypc – yeah, he’s getting into the HOF. First ballot unless five QB’s retire the same year anyway.

  26. This is like comparing a Corvette to a Silverado. Both do the same thing but they do it in a very different way. Amazing careers from both men. Amazing for someone to play the position for so long. I know a lot of “what ifs” are out there with Barry, but at age 30 he may not have had much more production coming either way. When you play with the speed/explosiveness he had, when you hit the wall you generally hit it hard and fast.

  27. The idea that he’s nothing more than a stat compiler is a joke, as if he’s Vinny Testeverde. He’s played 5 times longer at a position that has a shelf life of just 3 years and nobody is comparing him to Barry Sanders so please learn to read.

    And I’d make the same argument for emmitt smith. Where would he be without those lines.

    Don’t forget… Barry Sanders couldn’t surpass Thurman Thomas in college. So should we hold that against sanders? No. All are great in their own way. Gore is great because he was the model of consistency

  28. Barry Sanders might have been the best all time pure running back. Dude was amazing.
    But you gotta give props to Gore…truly incredible career and should be HOF too.

    If I am not mistaken Gore has had 2 ACL tears too….possibly both in college at Miami which makes his career even more amazing.

  29. Peak value is close to that of Matt Forte and below that of LeSean McCoy and Le’veon Bell, but I guess longevity does count for a lot.

    Curtis Martin was the headliner of the compiler vs. peak value debate but Martin had a better, more consistent career than Gore.

    Marcus Allen was another compiler but he had 4 spectacular seasons at the start of his career and was a top 3 running back for those seasons.

    FYI I think he is better than say, Jerome Bettis so Gore does have a shot of getting in to the Hall of Fame.

  30. _______________________________

    Barry Sanders is my favorite football player to watch, even eclipsing my home team hero Walter Payton.

    _______________________________

    As a 50+ year Lions fan, Sweetness was my favorite. He had 95% of Barry’s juke, ran solid WR patterns, threw for touchdowns, bowled people over, LEAPED for TDs and never gave an inch going OB. It’s cool how we’re opposite in opinion and I think that comes from your word “favorite”, not “best”. Plus, the way he held the loaf of bread, taped his ankles so high, and behaved like a gentleman then blocked a giant lineman into bolivian (sp) was so freaking cool.

    Here’s where I go out on a limb: Pound for pound, regardless of position, and for production as a team player, Walter Payton is the best player in NFL history.

  31. The most insignificant rb in history. Plus this is a very easy offensive era.

    Please don’t insult the all time greats who impacted the game. Stat collectors, while showing impressive consistency, are not hall of famers.

  32. I was definitely kind of “hmmmmmm” when the Bills signed him, but it’s been a joy to have him on the team this year. He’s still got it, and I think he has become one of the team’s true leaders.

    And he’s automatic for the HOF. That guy IS football.

  33. Being a compiler isn’t a bad thing. It’s incredibly difficult to have an NFL career at all and Gore has been consistently good for a very long time. He’s the football equivalent of baseball’s Eddie Murray. He deserves a place in Canton for sure.

  34. FYI, Jim Brown is 11th all-time in rushing yards and 27th in yards from scrimmage, so we should take the career rushing list with a grain of salt.

    Jim Brown and Walter Payton are the names mentioned most often when it comes to best running backs of all time and rightfully so. Frank Gore is a good running back with a long career but he’s not the 4th best running back of all time.

    John Riggins is a decent comparison, he had several good seasons and had a long career, but it’s probably the Super Bowl MVP performance followed by two strong seasons that pushed him over the edge. If Gore got his ring in 2012 his legacy would be much stronger.

  35. Barry Sanders was phenomenal and a blast to watch.

    But if you were at 3rd and goal from the 3, you’re giving it to someone like Gore or Walter or Brown.

    Same if you are playing on grass. Sorry, but it’s true.

  36. I dont get why everyone is calling Gore a compiler.

    Man came into the leagye with two torn ACLs and shoulder injury year one. It was questionable if he’d even be able to play. Instead he has been a model of consistency and is playing/starting at age 36, where even the best RBs arent considered past the 30 mark.

    The position has a short life span, and given his wear and tear as a bell cow the fact he’s lasted this long is remarkable. Im rooting for him, hope the Bills win the SB this year. Hes the consummate team player.

  37. Frank Gore reminds me of Emmitt Smith more so than Barry Sanders. Sanders has no equal at the running back position.

    Gore has had good solid career, good player who after an injury plagued college career stayed healthy in the pros. Hell I’d like to see him break Smiths record

  38. People forget how talented Frank Gore was coming out of high schoolin Miami as the “best ever” in south Florida. A long great list of NFL running backs from south Florida. His freshman year at college averaging over 9 yards a carry. He was amazing with smooth gliding cuts shifting on a dime. Then he“overcame two devastating ACL tears on the same knee in two seasons. The fact that he is even walking around right now, let alone rushing for 1,000 yards year after year, is a miracle. He was never close to the same running back he once was and many thought including Gore that his career was over. Just think if Gore never had those devastating injuries how great he could have been. There is only one Barry Sanders who in my opinion is the best running back ever, but for Frank Gore just to pass Sanders even though Sanders retired years to soon is saying a lot. Gore, the greatest injuries comeback of all time.

  39. Reminds of Philip Rivers career. Sure, nice stats and iron man qualities, but the trophy case is empty. Jim Plunkett is more deserving than Rivers because he led teams to the Super Bowl & won, twice.

  40. Gore will get in the HOF. I have no issue with that. However, he’s passing a guy that played five years less than him.

    That shows you how great Barry Sanders was. Too bad Sanders wasn’t in the playoffs more.

  41. What gets lost in the discussion when it comes to Gore is in the early years of his career when the 49ers bounced from one QB to another every single year. Every single season defenses laughed at the 49ers passing game and setup their defense to stop Gore, constantly having 8 men down in the box. Gore still somehow managed to produce during those dark years, playing behind makeshift offensive lines and having to do his thing even though he never had as many carries as some of his contemporaries due to those 49ers getting blown out fairly regularly and passing the ball despite the issues at QB anyways. The constants with those teams were a lot of losses and Gore falling forwards for 4-5 yards, again and again, game in and game out.

    Beyond that he’s easily the best pass blocker at RB that I’ve ever seen. Young RBs could get a master’s education in that skill just by watching how Gore does it, and is still doing it. Always reliable, always in the right spot, he has saved his quarterbacks from countless huge hits over the years.

    He’s been the model of consistency and as complete of a 3 down back as you could hope to get. Great ball security, great pass protector, good hands out of the backfield and an overall high football IQ back that quietly leads by example. If Gore isn’t a HOFer then something is terribly wrong with the selection process.

  42. tylawspick6 says:
    October 26, 2019 at 10:53 am

    The most insignificant rb in history

    ————

    If you really believe that then you are delusional. Frank Gore, (as anyone who actually watches football will attest) has been a model of consistency, dependability, and productivity throughout his career. His career statistics validate those attributes and certainly make him worthy of the HOF

  43. I’m sure he’ll be wearing a gold jacket some day. He’s definitely better than some that are already in. In my opinion he’s never played at a HOF level, just been good for a long, long time. Definitely HOF character, so I’m looking forward to him going in on the first ballot. The criteria for the HOF seems to change from voter to voter and from time to time. They make it up as they go. I just don’t look at the HOF the way I used to. Same with baseball. I kind of have my own opinions on who’s a HOFer and who’s not. I figure I know more about football than most of the voters, although I’ll admit that’s probably not saying much.

  44. Heck, I’d be long snapper, if it meant I could play in the NFL as long as Frank Gore. Good for him!!

  45. How Gore is still playing in the NFL is crazy to me considering the change over of the position! So hats off to him for that. I get that the career numbers by themselves and his longevity put him into the HOF, but he is miles apart from all of the other running backs in that top tier.

    Just using Barry Sanders as an example. He quit in what most people felt was still his prime. It caught the world by surprise when he decided to hang up his cleets. Sanders could have easily ran for a few thousand more yards if he decided to keep playing.

  46. tylawspick6 says:
    October 26, 2019 at 10:53 am
    The most insignificant rb in history. Plus this is a very easy offensive era.

    Please don’t insult the all time greats who impacted the game. Stat collectors, while showing impressive consistency, are not hall of famers.

    6 37 Rate This

    That insignificant running back ran for 109 yards on 17 carries for a 6.4 yard average against that amazing Patriots defence 😉

  47. Barry was the most dangerous. I still want Walter Payton as my guy. He could do it all and played with a violent style. Throw, catch, run over or around you and was a nasty blocker. Not a just a great back but a great PLAYER.

  48. geneftalley says:
    October 26, 2019 at 10:29 pm
    Frank Gore will be the “Craig Biggio” of the pro football hall of fame.
    ——————————————————————–
    Exactly. Gores is a compiler…… He has played over 5 more seasons than Sanders did and almost 500 more carries. Solid back, great career.. But this is further proof that numbers do not tell the whole story..

  49. I get so sick of hearing that Detroit didn’t have an offensive line and Sanders did it on his own. How about Lomas Brown, Dave Lutz, Doug Widell, Kevin Glover, Ray Roberts, Jeff Hartings? All first or second round picks within the top 35 college players. Mark Tuinei undrafted, Nate Newton undrafted, Erik Williams 3rd round, Mark Stepnoski 3rd round, John Gesek 10th round, Kevin Gogan 8th round. Emmitt Smith earned the top RB designation. Although some of his OL did turn out to be pretty good players.

  50. ggtth1875 says:
    October 26, 2019 at 7:16 am
    Sanders was the best to ever do it ( with the exception of Jim Brown )

    ——-

    My guess is you never got to watch OJ Simpson play. He was the best RB in the history of the NFL.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.