To be in the NFL record books as one of the all-time leading rushers in NFL playoff history obviously means that one would have to participate in a high number of postseason games. The same goes for the all-time postseason rushing touchdowns list.
While a somewhat obscure name might appear on a list of single-game records for passing, rushing, or receiving, that’s usually not the case when discussing all-time lists and that’s definitely not the case here as the all-time leaders in NFL playoff rushing yards and touchdowns are all big-name players.
And it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that the all-time leading rusher in NFL history in the regular season, Emmitt Smith, is also the postseason leader in both yards and touchdowns.
All-time leading regular-season rusher Emmitt Smith also has the most NFL playoff rushing yards
Over the course of 15 NFL seasons, 13 with the Dallas Cowboys and two with the Arizona Cardinals, Emmitt Smith racked up a record 18,355 regular-season rushing yards, 1,629 yards more than the man who held the record for 18 years, the late, great Walter Payton.
In addition, the three-time Super Bowl champion rushed for 1,586 yards in the NFL playoffs, which is also a league record, a mark that’s all the more impressive due to the fact that he appeared in just 17 NFL playoff games in his career, a total that’s currently tied for 158th in league history.
Here’s a look at the top five rushers in NFL playoff history.
- Emmitt Smith: 17 games — 1,586 rushing yards
- Franco Harris: 19 games — 1,556 rushing yards
- Thurman Thomas: 21 games — 1,442 rushing yards
- Tony Dorsett: 17 games — 1,383 rushing yards
- Marcus Allen: 16 games — 1,347 rushing yards
Terrell Davis is the only other player to rush for more than 1,000 yards in the postseason and if he’d had more chances, he very easily could be No. 1 on this list as he rushed for 1,140 yards in just eight NFL playoff games with the Denver Broncos.
Emmitt Smith also has the most rushing touchdowns in the NFL playoffs
As Emmitt Smith is the all-time rushing leader in both the NFL regular season and postseason, he’s also the all-time leader in rushing touchdowns in both the regular season and postseason.
The eight-time Pro Bowler rushed for 164 touchdowns during his 15-year career and an additional 19 in the NFL playoffs. Here’s a look at the top five on the postseason rushing touchdowns list, which is actually the top six with ties.
- Emmitt Smith: 17 games — 19 rushing touchdowns
- Franco Harris: 19 games — 16 rushing touchdowns
- Thurman Thomas: 21 games — 16 rushing touchdowns
- Terrell Davis: 8 games — 12 rushing touchdowns
- Marshawn Lynch: 13 games — 12 rushing touchdowns
- John Riggins: 9 games — 12 rushing touchdowns
Steve Young is the QB leader in both categories
As it pertains to quarterbacks, San Francisco 49ers legend and two-time NFL MVP Steve Young is his position’s leader in both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns in the NFL playoffs.
In 22 postseason games, Young rushed for 594 yards, which is good for 33rd on the all-time list, and eight touchdowns, which is currently tied for 12th in NFL playoff history.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference