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Pete Fierle, Manager - Digital Media/Communications
Pete's familiarity with the game's history is a result of spending two decades surrounded by the world's largest collection of pro football information. His many duties include overseeing the Hall's website as well as the day-to-day operation of the Ralph Wilson, Jr. Pro Football Research and Preservation Center.
A new "For Pete's Sake" blog appears each Thursday on Profootballhof.com.
You may call it “water cooler” talk, I call it work! That’s right, I get paid to discuss football.
On any given day the research staff at the Pro Football Hall of Fame talk more football than one can imagine. A typical day’s casual conversation is sprinkled with the occasional challenge on football knowledge. We’ll fire off a football history question at one another to test how well we’ve retained all of the info we’ve digested as a result of years of scouring through the world’s largest football library.
So, the other day while I was busy working away, one of our researchers, Saleem Choudhry, ran this one by me because of my Buffalo, NY roots. He observed how Fred Jackson is currently the NFL’s leading rusher.
Saleem asked me, ‘who was the last Bills’ player to lead the league in rushing, O.J. Simpson?’
I quickly ran through some of whom may have done it. I knew that Thurman Thomas won an AFC rushing title but never the NFL crown. Did Joe Cribbs do it? No. Hmmm…what about Terry Miller in the late ‘70s? No. So, my answer was yes, it was O.J. For the record, I was correct.
Now, that wasn’t too terribly difficult to figure out. But, we got to thinking about other teams and which players have led the NFL rushing. We quickly scanned through the NFL’s Record & Fact Book and its list of the annual stat leaders. As I looked at the list, it struck me that there are some surprises about this rather glamorous honor which has led to my topic for this week’s blog.
The NFL began keeping official stats in the early 1930s. So, here’s a few notes about the annual rushing leaders.
Hopefully, I’ve poked your curiosity enough that you’ll peruse these two new pages on our website.
ANNUAL RUSHING LEADERS - BY TEAM | ALPHABETICALLY