Who is the best running QB in NFL history?
The mobile quarterback is where it’s at in today’s NFL. Teams want a quarterback who can move, who can escape, who can extend a play with his legs. Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott, Carson Wentz, DeShaun Watson – if you can move, you can succeed.
There’s a strong history of mobile quarterbacks in NFL annals. And that’s this week’s Talk of Fame Network poll question – who’s the best running quarterback in NFL history. Lots of good options:
Randall Cunningham. Cunningham ranks second all-time in career rushing yards by a quarterback with 4,928 in 775 carries with 35 touchdowns. He rushed for 940 of those yards in 1990 for the third-best single-season by an NFL quarterback, averaging an NFL-leading 8.0 yards per carry that year. He’s had three career 100-yard games, topped by his 124 against New England in 1990.
Bobby Douglass. In terms of running ability, Douglass was Vince Young before Vince Young. He played 10 years in the NFL but was the primary starter in only two of those seasons. At 6-4, 225, Douglass was jumbo for his position in the 1970s. Defenses didn't fear Douglass in the pocket -- he was only a 43 percent career passer with almost twice as many interceptions (64) as touchdowns (36). But when he escaped the pocket -- look out. Douglass had the second best rushing season by a quarterback in NFL history with 968 yards and eight touchdowns in 1972. His 6.9-yard average led the league. He had three 100-yard rushing games in his career, including 127 on 14 carries versus the Raiders in 1972, and rushed for 22 career touchdowns.
Colin Kaepernick. Holds the NFL single-game record for rushing yards by an NFL quarterback with 181 yards on 16 carries with two touchdowns in a 2012 playoff victory against the Packers. That’s an average of 11.3 yards per carry. Kaepernick also has the fourth best rushing game by an NFL quarterback in history with 151 yards on seven carries with a touchdown in 2014 against the San Diego Chargers. That’s an average of 21.6 per carry.
Cam Newton. No one deposits the ball in the end zone with his legs like Newton – no quarterbacks, anyway. Newton rushed for 14 touchdowns in a single season (2011) and 54 touchdowns in his career. Both are records for the quarterback position. Newton also had a 10-touchdown season rushing in 2015. He has three career 100-yard games, topped by a 116-yard effort against Atlanta in 2012.
Fran Tarkenton. The original scrambler, Tarkenton was running for his life with the first-year expansion Minnesota Vikings in 1961. A Hall of Fame quarterback, Tarkenton retired as the NFL’s all-time leading passer (47,003) and quarterback rusher (3,674). He has since slipped to 11th in passing and fourth in rushing.
Michael Vick. The only quarterback ever to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season. Vick rushed for 1,039 yards for the Atlanta Falcons in 2006. Vick is the all-time leader among NFL quarterbacks in career rushing yards with 6,109 yards in 873 carries for a record 7.0 yards per carry. Vick has the second- and third-best rushing games by a quarterback in NFL history – 173 yards against Minnesota in 2002 and 161 against New Orleans in 2006. He holds the position record with 10 100-yard rushing games.
Steve Young. Ranks third all-time among quarterback rushers with 4,239 yards in 722 carries with a runnerup 43 touchdowns at his position. Young rushed for a career-best 537 yards and four touchdowns in 1992 on his way to NFL MVP honors.