NFL Players with the Most Rushing Yards in a Single Super Bowl

While some NFL teams dominate and win their games in the air, others use their running game to exploit opposing defenses and win the championship. Here’s a look at the top 10 players with the most rushing yards in a single Super Bowl*.

10. Michael Pittman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Super Bowl XXXVII

Statistics: 29 carries, 124 rushing yards, 1 touchdown

In a Super Bowl where the Buccaneers defense scored three defensive touchdowns, Pittman’s 124 yards helped construct several scoring drives. The Buccaneers defeated the Oakland Raiders 48-21.

9. Emmitt Smith, Dallas Cowboys, Super Bowl XXVIII

Statistics: 30 carries, 132 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 26 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns

The NFL’s MVP for the regular season and the Super Bowl, Smith became the second player to run for 100 yards in back-to-back Super Bowls. The Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills 30-13.

8. Thurman Thomas, Buffalo Bills, Super Bowl XXV

Statistics: 15 carries, 135 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 55 receiving yards, 1 touchdown

Thomas’ 135 rushing yards was the most ever by a player on the losing team in the Super Bowl. The New York Giants defeated the Bills 20-19.

7. Clarence Davis, Oakland Raiders, Super Bowl XI

Statistics: 16 carries, 137 rushing yards

Davis had two key runs in the second quarter (35 yards) and third quarter (18 yards) to set up two field goals by Errol Mann. The Raiders defeated the Minnesota Vikings 32-14.

6. Larry Csonka, Miami Dolphins, Super Bowl VIII

Statistics: 33 carries, 145 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns

With records of 33 carries and 145 rushing yards in 1974, Csonka was the first running back to earn Super Bowl MVP honors. The Dolphins defeated the Vikings 24-7.

5. Terrell Davis, Denver Broncos, Super Bowl XXXII

Statistics: 30 carries, 157 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 8 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns

Despite missing a good portion of the second quarter with a headache, Davis put up incredible numbers in the win and was named Super Bowl MVP. The Broncos defeated the Green Bay Packers 31-24.

4. Franco Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers, Super Bowl IX

Statistics: 34 carries, 158 rushing yards, 1 touchdown

Also the MVP of the game, Harris’ solid running coupled with the Steelers’ Steel Curtain gave Pittsburgh their first Super Bowl title. The Steelers defeated the Vikings 16-6.

3. John Riggins, Washington Redskins, Super Bowl XVII

Statistics: 38 carries, 166 rushing yards, 1 reception, 15 receiving yards, 1 touchdown

Surpassing some of the records set previously by Csonka in 1974, Riggins, the game’s MVP, set new records in 1983 for rushing attempts and rushing yards. The Redskins defeated the Miami Dolphins 27-17.

2. Marcus Allen, Los Angeles Raiders, Super Bowl XVIII

Statistics: 20 carries, 191 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 18 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns

One year after Riggins’ record, Allen set a then-record total of 191 yards and became the third Heisman Trophy winner to be named Super Bowl MVP. The Raiders defeated the Redskins 38-9.

1. Tommy Smith, Washington Redskins, Super Bowl XXII

Statistics: 22 carries, 204 rushing yards, 1 reception, 9 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns

In a game that was absolutely dominated by the Redskins in the second quarter, Smith rushed the ball only five times but went for 122 rushing yards and a touchdown. The Redskins defeated the Broncos 42-10.

*Statistics are updated as of Super Bowl XLV.


Super Bowl Leaders,

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Austin Chang is a lifelong football fan, San Francisco 49ers supporter, and a Featured Contributor for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Follow this contributor on Twitter @_austinchang.

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