Let's face it, between playing in a passing league, running back timeshares and the new 17-game NFL schedule, the 1,000-yard rusher is not quite what it used to be.
I'd be lying through my teeth if I told you a bell cow running back was essential to winning. The last Super Bowl champion with a 1,000-yard rusher was LeGarrette Blount with the 2016 Patriots. The six-season drought without one is tied for the longest in NFL history (1966-71). There were nine in the '70s, six in the '80s, seven in the '90s, six in the 2000s and three in the 2010s.
Only six of the 16 players with 1,000 rush yards last season made the playoffs.
But c'mon, running for 1,000 yards is still cool and has some magic to it! Jamaal Williams hit this mark last season and got a nice deal with the Saints (three years and $12 million). He also snapped the league's longest active drought without a 1,000-yard rusher, the Lions' first since Reggie Bush in 2013.
That means the dubious distinction of the longest drought without a 1,000-yard rusher belongs to a new team, one you might not expect.
Read on to find out who this mystery team is. I guarantee you'll find a lot of good info, great names and trivia fodder along the way.
Last 1,000-yard rusher for all 32 teams
Atlanta Falcons -- Tyler Allgeier (2022)
Tyler Allgeier just cracked this list with 1,035 rush yards last season, the first Falcons player to hit 1,000 yards since Devonta Freeman in 2016, when Atlanta reached the Super Bowl. It's been a carousel of Freeman, Tevin Coleman, Todd Gurley and Cordarrelle Patterson since, but Atlanta's backfield is in good hands now with Allgeier and rookie first-round pick Bijan Robinson.
Chicago Bears -- Justin Fields (2022)
Rushing definitely was not the problem for Chicago in 2022. Justin Fields joined Lamar Jackson and Michael Vick as the only QBs in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. They finished first in rushing (3,014 yards) and last in passing (2,219 yards) last season. They had 795 more rush yards than pass yards, the largest margin by any team since the 1978 Chiefs. Talk about setting the league back a few decades. They are poised for better balance in 2023 with the addition of WR D.J. Moore.
Cleveland Browns -- Nick Chubb (2022)
Nick Chubb has four straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons, tied with Dalvin Cook for the longest active streak in the NFL. Chubb is the first player in NFL history to average at least 5 yards per carry in five straight seasons (min. 150 rushes). He is the favorite to win the rushing title in 2023 (+650 at Caesars Sportsbook). Now if only the Browns can get Deshaun Watson going. He was last among qualified QBs in EPA per play last season (min. 200 plays). Pressure is on to get both clicking on all cylinders in 2023.
Dallas Cowboys -- Tony Pollard (2022)
Tony Pollard ran for 1,000 yards last season for the first time in his career. Dallas' backfield is in great shape after franchising Pollard and releasing Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott had more touches than Pollard last season despite ranking last in the NFL in yards per touch (min. 200 touches). Pollard ranked first. These moves have paved the way for a more efficient offensive attack, if Pollard (coming off a broken leg) proves to be healthy.
Detroit Lions -- Jamaal Williams (2022)
Jamaal Williams ran for 1,066 yards in 2022 and broke Barry Sanders' franchise single-season rushing touchdown record with 17. Prior to Williams, the last two Lions' 1,000-yard rushers were Reggie Bush in 2013 and Kevin Jones in 2004. Detroit underwent a major backfield shake-up this offseason. Williams signed with the Saints, D'Andre Swift was dealt to Philadelphia, while Detroit drafted Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs in the first round and signed former Bears RB David Montgomery.
Green Bay Packers -- Aaron Jones (2022)
Aaron Jones recorded his third career 1,000-yard rushing season in 2022. Green Bay returns one of the most formidable backfield duos in the league with Jones and A.J. Dillon.
Jacksonville Jaguars -- Travis Etienne (2022)
Travis Etienne hit the 1,000-yard mark while averaging over 5 yards per carry in 2022. He is the fifth 1,000-yard rusher in franchise history (James Robinson, Leonard Fournette, Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor) and looks poised for another productive year in 2023.
Las Vegas Raiders -- Josh Jacobs (2022)
Josh Jacobs became the second Raiders player to win a rushing title, along with Marcus Allen in 1985. He was "rewarded" with the franchise tag for 2023.
Minnesota Vikings -- Dalvin Cook (2022)
Minnesota released Dalvin Cook after four straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons, tied with Nick Chubb for the longest active streak in the NFL. Among the top 13 RBs in rush yards last season, Cook was the only one with negative rush yards over expected, per NFL Next Gen Stats. Alexander Mattison will get the first crack at filling Cook's void.
New England Patriots -- Rhamondre Stevenson (2022)
In 2022, Rhamondre Stevenson became the first player in Patriots history with 1,000 rush yards on 5-plus yards per rush in a season. He will have a bigger workload in 2023 with Damien Harris signing with the Bills.
New York Giants -- Saquon Barkley (2022)
Saquon Barkley finished fourth in the NFL in rushing last season behind Josh Jacobs, Derrick Henry and Nick Chubb. He was franchised this offseason and has until the July 17 deadline to sign a long-term deal. His presence is key to the success of Daniel Jones, who has a 91.4 passer rating when Barkley plays, and a 77.3 rating when he doesn't.
Philadelphia Eagles -- Miles Sanders (2022)
Miles Sanders became the Eagles' first 1,000-yard rusher since LeSean McCoy in 2014. Philadelphia proceeded to make a wise move in signing Rashaad Penny and trading for D'Andre Swift rather than re-sign Sanders or draft Bijan Robinson. Swift is fifth in the NFL in yards per touch in the last three seasons (min. 500 touches) while Penny leads the league in yards per rush in the last two seasons (min. 150 rushes).
Pittsburgh Steelers -- Najee Harris (2022)
Najee Harris is one of two players in NFL history with 1,000 rush yards on under 4 yards per rush in each of his first two seasons. The other was Errict Rhett (1994-95 Buccaneers), and I think we all remember how his career turned out ... just kidding. Harris should be more efficient with a return to full health and upgraded offensive line in 2023.
Seattle Seahawks -- Kenneth Walker III (2022)
Kenneth Walker III was part of a star-studded Seahawks rookie class, becoming the first Seahawks rookie with 1,000 rush yards since Curt Warner in 1983. Walker was a second-round pick in 2022 and Seattle followed that up by taking RB Zach Charbonnet in the second round in 2023. There's plenty of talent for Geno Smith between those two and a WR trio that includes first-round rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
Tennessee Titans -- Derrick Henry (2022)
Henry fell short of history in 2022 as the Titans finished the season on a seven-game losing streak. He still finished second in the NFL in rushing behind Josh Jacobs and reeled off four straight 100-yard rushing games to end the season. He looks to shake off the trade rumors and compete for a third rushing title in 2023.
Indianapolis Colts -- Jonathan Taylor (2021)
Jonathan Taylor fell short of 2,000 rushing yards in 2021 (1,811) before an ankle injury slowed him down in 2022. He is coming off surgery in January and is in a more dynamic rushing attack with QB Anthony Richardson, so a return to the 1,000-yard rushing club is all but assured.
Cincinnati Bengals -- Joe Mixon (2021)
Joe Mixon has 1,000 rush yards in three of his first six seasons, but finished with 814 yards in 2022, along with a career-high 60 receptions. Mixon could easily hit 1,000 yards again with backup RB Samaje Perine signing with Denver.
Washington Commanders -- Antonio Gibson (2021)
Antonio Gibson is the last Commanders player with 1,000 rush yards in a season, but did you know who was the last to hit it before him? Try Adrian Peterson in 2018. Brian Robinson led the Commanders with 797 yards in 2022, but don't look for any 1,000-yard rusher in Washington in 2023.
Baltimore Ravens -- Lamar Jackson (2020)
Lamar Jackson is the last Ravens player with 1,000 rush yards in a season, but those days might be over with Baltimore focusing more on the passing attack under new OC Todd Monken. J.K. Dobbins is poised to be the next 1,000-yard rusher after he was coming off an injury last year. And here's some bonus trivia for your friends. Who was the first 1,000-yard rusher in Ravens history? It was Priest Holmes in 1998. Now you might know him for something more -- his 2003 season with 27 touchdown runs on the Chiefs, which followed up his 2002 season with 21.
Carolina Panthers -- Christian McCaffrey (2019)
Carolina hasn't had a 1,000-yard rusher since Christian McCaffrey in 2019, although that could change in 2023 after investing in Miles Sanders (four-year deal worth $25 million).
Houston Texans -- Carlos Hyde (2019)
The Texans' last 1,000-yard rusher was Carlos Hyde in 2019. Before that it was Lamar Miller, Adrian Foster (four times), Steve Slaton and Domanick Williams (four times). Dameon Pierce was poised to join the club before getting hurt near the end of last season (939 yards in 13 games). He impressed as a steamroller in his rookie season, avoiding tackles at the highest rate in the NFL (min. 100 carries).
Denver Broncos -- Phillip Lindsay (2019)
Denver's list of most recent 1,000-yard rushers is not exactly a group of household names: Philip Lindsay, C.J. Anderson, Knowshon Moreno, Willis McGahee, Tatum Bell, Mike Anderson and Reuben Droughns. Melvin Gordon wasn't able to crack the mark in the last couple of seasons and now it'll be up to JaVonte Williams and Samaje Perine. Chances are neither hits the 1,000-yard mark in 2023. There were only three 1,000-yard rushers under Sean Payton with the Saints. Deuce McAllister (once) and Mark Ingram (twice).
Los Angeles Rams -- Todd Gurley (2018)
You have to go back five years to find the Rams' last 1,000-yard rusher, Todd Gurley. It takes a special back to crack that mark for the Rams apparently. The last four were Gurley, Steven Jackson, Marshall Faulk and Jerome Bettis. Cam Akers can join the club in 2023. He finished last season with three straight 100-yard rushing games in his return from an Achilles tendon tear. Still, I'd bet on the Rams' drought continuing.
New Orleans Saints -- Mark Ingram (2017)
Alvin Karama has been the Saints' leading rusher in every season since their last 1,000-yard rusher, Mark Ingram in 2017. He's averaged 855 rush yards per season but has yet to hit 1,000 and probably won't in 2023, thanks to a timeshare with Jamaal Williams and a possible league suspension. The more startling trend is Kamara's 4.8 yards per touch in the last two seasons (6.2 in first four years).
Kansas City Chiefs -- Kareem Hunt (2017)
The Chiefs haven't had a 1,000-yard rusher since Kareem Hunt in 2017 and they clearly haven't needed one. They won the Super Bowl last year after rookie Isiah Pacheco ran for 830 yards during the regular season. Remember when 2020 first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire was supposed to be the next Fantasy star? It never happened but he's still in a crowded backfield with Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon, so don't expect a 1,000-yard rusher this year.
Los Angeles Chargers -- Melvin Gordon III (2017)
The Chargers' last 1,000-yard rusher was Melvin Gordon III in 2017. But with Austin Ekeler, who needs one? Ekeker had 915 rush yards in 2022, but more importantly caught 107 passes. He's back in 2023 after restructuring his deal, but it's more likely he catches another 100 passes than rushes for 1,000 yards.
Buffalo Bills -- LeSean McCoy (2017)
The Bills' last 1,000-yard rusher was LeSean McCoy in 2017, and Thurman Thomas or O.J. Simpson aren't walking through that door anytime soon. Buffalo has a timeshare with James Cook and the newly signed Damien Harris after Devin Singletary went to the Texans. This drought will continue between the timeshare and Josh Allen's rushing ability.
Arizona Cardinals -- David Johnson (2016)
It doesn't seem like too long ago that David Johnson racked up over 2,000 scrimmage yards and 20 touchdowns in 2016. Arizona hasn't found a bell cow back since then, cycling through Johnson, Kenyan Drake and now James Conner. Conner is back in 2023, but with the worst roster in the NFL you can't expect his first career 1,000-yard season.
Miami Dolphins -- Jay Ajayi (2016)
Miami is the No. 1 team linked to Dalvin Cook for good reason. The Dolphins' last 1,000-yard rusher was Jay Ajayi in 2016. He's what we call a list-ruiner. He's one of five players with three 200-yard rushing games in a season since 1970 along with O.J. Simpson, Earl Campbell, Tiki Barber and Derrick Henry. Miami hasn't come very close to 1,000 yards since with leading rushers Frank Gore, Kenyan Drake, Myles Gaskin and Raheem Mostert. Ryan Fitzpatrick even led the team in rushing in 2019! I guess that's why they call him Fitzmagic. Assuming head coach Mike McDaniel is from the Shanahan RB factory school, this drought could continue for a while.
Tampa Buccaneers -- Doug Martin (2015)
Tampa Bay's last 1,000-yard back was Doug Martin in 2015. It's been a carousel of Jacquizz Rodgers, Peyton Barber, Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette ever since. They had the worst rushing attack in the entire league in 2022 and their starting QB is Baker Mayfield so the ball might not be moving much in 2023. Tampa Bay has only had 12 1,000-yard rushers in its history. Where's Warrick Dunn and Mike Alstott when you need them?
New York Jets -- Chris Ivory (2015)
The Jets' last 1,000-yard rusher was Chris Ivory in 2015. It may not be the longest active drought in the league, but New York has bragging rights for a different reason. It has gone eight straight seasons with a different leading rusher between Ivory, Matt Forte, Bilal Powell, Isaiah Crowell, Le'Veon Bell, Frank Gore, Michael Carter and Breece Hall. I'm sure the Jets didn't envision a 37-year-old Gore leading the team in rushing in 2020, just a year after inking Bell to a lucrative four-year deal. Hall should stop that trend and has a pretty good shot at 1,000 rushing yards. I'm pretty sure Jets fans are more worried about their quarterback play, though.
San Francisco 49ers -- Frank Gore (2014)
The answer to the trivia question you've all been dying to know is the 49ers and Frank Gore. San Francisco has the longest active drought in the NFL without a 1,000-yard rusher, last pulling it off in Gore's last season in the Bay Area in 2014. It was so long ago that Gore is now 40 years old and played for four more teams after leaving the 49ers. The Shanahan RB factory has not been welcoming to 1,000-yard rushers as the 49ers have had a different leading rusher in all six seasons with Kyle Shanahan (Carlos Hyde, Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, Elijah Mitchell and Christian McCaffrey). There should be a new team with the crowning achievement of the longest active 1,000-yard rusher drought, however. That is, if Christian McCaffrey can stay healthy. A big IF.