3. Jamaal Charles – 5.4 Yards Per Carry
"“Hopefully, I proved I have the heart for the game.” – Jamaal Charles"
As great as Jamaal Charles truly was, he is extremely under-appreciated outside of Chiefs Kingdom. Charles was an exceptionally slight running back for the era in which he ran, but what he lacked in size he made up for in tenacity and all-world speed and quickness. The way he glided across the gridiron was something to behold, and made other professional athletes look like high school JV players.
Even with poor players around him at many positions on offense Charles had a career that could one day see him selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In his five healthy seasons from 2009 to 2014, removing his 2011 season in which he only played two games, Charles averaged nearly 1,300 yards rushing with an incredible 5.5 yards per carry.
It’s this yards per carry average that lands Charles at number four on the list of greatest individual Chiefs achievements. While he diminished near the end of his career, and thus averaged slightly less for his career at 5.4 yards per carry, this is still good enough to give Charles the highest average yards per carry for a running back’s career since both the AFL and NFL began operating in parallel in 1960.
It’s possible there are those this won’t impress, but you have to consider a couple things. Charles played for one of the worst franchises in the NFL during his prime with the Chiefs. The team won at a incredibly low percentage of 38 percent during the best years of his career.
The runner up to Charles, who happens to be considered by many as the best player of all time in Jim Brown, played on a team that won 67 percent of their games during his prime. What’s more, they played in far fewer games in those days which arguably reduced the wear and tear inflicted on players at the games most physical position.
At the end of the day, maintaining the highest yards per carry for a running back over the last 60 seasons makes Charles arguably history’s most effective runner. While he won’t be remembered for winning championships, he will be remembered for this and it lands him at number three on this list.