Who Has The Most NFL Career Rushing Touchdowns?

Who Has The Most NFL Career Rushing Touchdowns? Photo by Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Top 10 Career Rushing Touchdown Leaders

NFL Stats and Records

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The landscape of the NFL has shifted towards a league that’s driven by aerial offense, but we can’t forget about the guys who like to keep things on the ground and run the ball down your throat when given the chance. Let’s take a look at the 10 players who have the most rushing touchdowns in NFL History. Get NFL Predictions and NFL Picks for Every NFL game at Sports Chat Place. 

 #1: Emmitt Smith, 164 rushing TD, 1990-2004, The NFL’s leading rushing scorer is also the league’s rushing yardage leader, racking up 18,355 yards in his illustrious 14-year career, spending most of it with the Dallas Cowboys from 1990-2002. Including a 25-touchdown campaign in 1995 after logging 21 TDs in 1994. Smith suited up for the Arizona Cardinals in his last couple of years, adding 9 TDs in his final season, but to be honest, it was just weird seeing him in anything other than Cowboy blue and white.

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 #2: LaDainian Tomlinson, 145 rushing TD, 2001-2011, The former TCU Horned Frog was one of only two hall of famers from the 2001 draft class, getting his call to Canton in 2017. Tomlinson finished his career as a 5-time pro-bowler and the NFL MVP and Offensive player in 2006 after logging a league-leading 1,815 rushing yards and an NFL record 28 rushing touchdowns that year, a record that still holds true to this day, breaking the record of 27 touchdowns set by Shaun Alexander the previous year and Priest Holmes in 2003.

 #3: Marcus Allen, 123 rushing TD, 1982-1997, Allen took the NFL by storm as one of the premier dual-threat running backs logging three straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons from 1983-1985, and strangely enough those were the only 1,000-yard seasons of his career. Allen would be the lead back up until the 1987 season where he would split the workload with Bo Jackson over the next four seasons, including missing half of the 1989 season with a knee injury. Allen was relegated down the depth chart up until his departure from the team following the 1992 season, undergoing a career resurgence with the Kansas City Chiefs, logging at least 1,100 all-purpose yards in four straight years from 1993-1996 before ultimately retiring in 1997.

 #4: Adrian Peterson, 111 rushing TD, 2007-present, The only active player on this list, Peterson was the 7th overall selection in the 2007 draft and looked every bit the part of a star, logging four straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons in his first four years in the league, including a league-high 1,760 yards in 2008 and a league-high 18 rushing TDs in 2009. In 2012, Peterson won the MVP and offensive player of the year award, logging 2,097 yards that season, falling just nine yards shy of breaking Eric Dickerson’s record of 2,105 yards in a season in 1984. AP slowed down for the better part of 2014-2017 before finding new life with the Washington Redskins over the past two seasons and that number is sitting at 111 and counting as Peterson will try to climb the list before riding off into the sunset.

 #5: Walter Payton, 110 rushing TD, 1975-1987, “Sweetness” as he was known as around the NFL, spent his entire 12-year career with the Chicago Bears and is widely heralded as one of, if not the best running back in NFL history. Payton is still currently 2nd in NFL history with 16,726 rushing yards, including a league-high 1,852 yards in the 1977 season, one of Payton’s ten 1,000-yard rushing seasons. Payton was also considered one of the best pass-catchers out of the backfield, including logging a career-high 53 receptions for 607 yards in the 1983 season, finishing his career with almost 500 catches and over 4,500 receiving yards.

 #6: Jim Brown, 106 rushing TD, 1957-1965, Also considered by many to be the greatest running back of all-time, only played 9 seasons, all with the Cleveland Browns while winning 3 MVP awards and an NFL championship in 1964. Brown also had seven 1,000-yard seasons and the other two saw Brown rack up at least 942 yards with one season falling just four yards shy of becoming eight 1,000-yard seasons.

 #7: John Riggins, 104 rushing TD, 1971-1985, “The Diesel” was the 6th overall pick by the Jets in 1971, and as a rookie he became the first Jet to lead the team in rushing and receiving as a rookie. Riggins would sign with the Washington Redskins in 1976, and it took him a while to get going before back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons in 1978 & 1979, leading to Riggins missing all of the 1980 season with a contract dispute after asking for a wage increase. Riggins saved some of his best years for last, logging career-highs of 1,347 yards and 24 rushing TDs in 1983 followed by another 1,000+-yard season and 14 TDs in 1984.

 #8 (Tie): Shaun Alexander, 100 rushing TD, 2000-2008, The only non-active, non-hall of famer on this list, the former Alabama Crimson Tide running back spent the majority of his eight year NFL career with the Seattle Seahawks, logging 5 straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons, culminating with 1,880 yard and a then-NFL record 27 rushing touchdowns in 2005, helping lead Seattle to an NFC-Best 13-3 record and a Super Bowl appearance where the Seahawks would fall to Pittsburgh 21-10. Alexander had a brief stint with the Washington Redskins before retiring in 2008.

 #8 (Tie): Marshall Faulk, 100 rushing TD, 1994-2006, Faulk is the highest drafted player on this list, taken 2nd overall by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1994 NFL draft. Faulk was a stud coming into the league, logging 11 TDs in each of his first two seasons, including 1,282 rushing yards in his rookie season. In Faulk’s first eight seasons, he had seven 1,000-yard campaigns, including a 1999 season where he totalled an NFL record 2,429 all-purpose yards with 1,381 rushing yards and a career-high 87 receptions for 1,048 yards in his first year with the then-St. Louis Rams in their Super Bowl season while 2000 saw Faulk log a career-high 18 rushing TDs.

 #10: Barry Sanders, 99 rushing TD, 1989-1998, Sanders, the former Heisman award winner out of Oklahoma State was taken 3rd overall by the Detroit Lions, playing all ten years in the Motor City and earning a pro-bowl nod in each of those ten seasons. Sanders took home the 1997 MVP and offensive player of the year honors after logging a career-high 2,053 rushing yards, as well as logging 1,491 rushing yards in his final season in 1998, making it ten years out of ten with at least 1,100 rushing yards.


The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a Sports Chat Place site consensus.