Player Points - Steven Jackson
By Chase Stuart
May 17th, 2010

It would be an understatement to say that Steven Jackson's a very good player on a very bad team. Jackson has spent nearly all of his career playing for the hapless Rams. How bad has it been for Jackson? The last three seasons, St. Louis has won just six games; over that time, Jackson has rushed for over 3500 yards.

I was curious to see how many other running backs have been as unfortunate as Jackson. I didn't want to simply take each running back's career winning percentage, it would feel weird to consider Emmitt Smith's years with the Cowboys as equally important as his years with the Cardinals. So what I did was take a weighted-average approach to winning percentage based on how many rushing yards each running back had in each season. If a player gained 25% of his career rushing yards in one season, his team's winning percentage in that year would count towards 25% of his weighted career winning percentage. For Jackson, he has a career weighted winning percentage of just 0.283. The "ratio" column multiplies his team's winning percentage in that season by the percentage of his career rushing yards he gained in that season; the sum of the rows in that column represents his career winning percentage:

Year
Yards
Win%
% Car Yd
Ratio
2004
673
0.500
0.100
0.050
2005
1046
0.375
0.156
0.058
2006
1528
0.500
0.228
0.114
2007
1002
0.188
0.149
0.028
2008
1042
0.125
0.155
0.019
2009
1416
0.063
0.211
0.013
0.283

Obviously Jackson has had it tough. But even I didn't realize how bad his 0.238 mark really was; among the 109 running backs with at least 5,000 career rushing yards, Jackson has the 2nd lowest career winning percentage.

Running Back
Car Rsh Yd
Win%
Teams
Years
James Wilder
6008
0.271
TAM-DET-WAS
1981-1990
Steven Jackson
6707
0.283
STL
2004-2009
Ollie Matson
5173
0.330
CRD-RAM-DET-PHI
1952-1966
Adrian Murrell
5199
0.358
NYJ-ARI-WAS-DAL
1993-2003
Jim Nance
5401
0.377
BOS-NWE-NYJ
1965-1973
O.J. Simpson
11236
0.382
BUF-SFO
1969-1979
Gerald Riggs
8188
0.384
ATL-WAS
1982-1991
Floyd Little
6323
0.398
DEN
1967-1975
Chris Warren
7696
0.401
SEA-DAL-PHI
1990-2000
Frank Gore
5561
0.405
SFO
2005-2009
Travis Henry
6086
0.417
BUF-TEN-DEN
2001-2007
Corey Dillon
11241
0.426
CIN-NWE
1997-2006
Dexter Bussey
5105
0.433
DET
1974-1984
Dick Bass
5417
0.436
RAM
1960-1969
Herschel Walker
8225
0.437
DAL-MIN-PHI-NYG-DAL
1986-1997
John Brockington
5185
0.443
GNB-KAN
1971-1977
Charlie Garner
7097
0.443
PHI-SFO-OAK-TAM
1994-2004
Michael Pittman
5627
0.445
ARI-TAM-DEN
1998-2008
Willis McGahee
5787
0.450
BUF-BAL
2004-2009
Greg Pruitt
5672
0.453
CLE-RAI
1973-1984
Marion Butts
5185
0.458
SDG-NWE-HOU
1989-1995
Chuck Muncie
6702
0.465
NOR-SDG
1976-1984
Larry Johnson
6219
0.465
KAN-CIN
2003-2009
James Stewart
5841
0.484
JAX-DET
1995-2002
Earl Campbell
9407
0.485
HOU-NOR
1978-1985
Emerson Boozer
5135
0.489
NYJ
1966-1975
Barry Sanders
15269
0.492
DET
1989-1998
Billy Sims
5106
0.492
DET
1980-1984
Ottis Anderson
10273
0.494
STL-NYG
1979-1992
Rodney Hampton
6897
0.494
NYG
1990-1997
Pete Johnson
5626
0.499
CIN-MIA-SDG
1977-1984
Kevin Mack
5123
0.503
CLE
1985-1993
John Henry Johnson
6803
0.503
SFO-DET-PIT-HOU
1954-1966
Mike Pruitt
7378
0.503
CLE-BUF-KAN
1976-1986
Jamal Anderson
5336
0.506
ATL
1994-2001
Thomas Jones
9217
0.507
ARI-TAM-CHI-NYJ
2000-2009
William Andrews
5986
0.508
ATL
1979-1986
George Rogers
7176
0.510
NOR-WAS
1981-1987
John L. Williams
5006
0.513
SEA-PIT
1986-1995
Rudi Johnson
5979
0.517
CIN-DET
2001-2008
Deuce McAllister
6096
0.517
NOR
2001-2008
Ricky Williams
8892
0.517
NOR-MIA
1999-2009
Hugh McElhenny
5281
0.518
SFO-MIN-NYG-DET
1952-1964
Clinton Portis
9696
0.518
DEN-WAS
2002-2009
Don Perkins
6217
0.522
DAL
1961-1968
James Brooks
7962
0.525
SDG-CIN-CLE-TAM
1981-1992
Tiki Barber
10449
0.528
NYG
1997-2006
Priest Holmes
8172
0.529
BAL-KAN
1997-2007
Delvin Williams
5598
0.531
SFO-MIA-GNB
1974-1981
Fred Taylor
11540
0.532
JAX-NWE
1998-2009
Freeman McNeil
8074
0.533
NYJ
1981-1992
Warrick Dunn
10967
0.534
TAM-ATL-TAM
1997-2008
Bill Brown
5838
0.536
CHI-MIN
1961-1974
Sam Cunningham
5453
0.536
NWE
1973-1982
Terry Allen
8614
0.537
MIN-WAS-NWE-NOR-BAL
1991-2001
Clem Daniels
5138
0.543
DTX-OAK-SFO
1960-1968
Jerome Bettis
13662
0.545
RAM-STL-PIT
1993-2005
Marshall Faulk
12279
0.548
IND-STL
1994-2005
Curtis Martin
14101
0.549
NWE-NYJ
1995-2005
Eric Dickerson
13259
0.551
RAM-IND-RAI-ATL
1983-1993
Ken Willard
6105
0.553
SFO-STL
1965-1974
Antowain Smith
6881
0.554
BUF-NWE-TEN-NOR
1997-2005
Curt Warner
6844
0.556
SEA-RAM
1983-1990
Jamal Lewis
10607
0.560
BAL-CLE
2000-2009
Natrone Means
5215
0.561
SDG-JAX-SDG-CAR
1993-2000
Stephen Davis
8052
0.563
WAS-CAR-STL
1996-2006
Duce Staley
5785
0.564
PHI-PIT
1997-2006
Earnest Byner
8261
0.568
CLE-WAS-CLE-BAL
1984-1997
Lydell Mitchell
6534
0.568
BAL-SDG-RAM
1972-1980
Joe Cribbs
5356
0.570
BUF-SFO-IND-MIA
1980-1988
Mike Alstott
5088
0.574
TAM
1996-2006
Wilbert Montgomery
6789
0.574
PHI-DET
1977-1985
Emmitt Smith
18355
0.574
DAL-ARI
1990-2004
LaDainian Tomlinson
12490
0.577
SDG
2001-2009
John Riggins
11352
0.578
NYJ-WAS
1971-1985
Joe Perry
9723
0.580
SFO-BAL-SFO
1948-1963
Neal Anderson
6166
0.581
CHI
1986-1993
Mike Garrett
5481
0.581
KAN-SDG
1966-1973
Walter Payton
16726
0.584
CHI
1975-1987
Ricky Watters
10643
0.589
SFO-PHI-SEA
1992-2001
Garrison Hearst
7966
0.602
PHO-ARI-CIN-SFO-DEN
1993-2004
Shaun Alexander
9453
0.605
SEA-WAS
2000-2008
Wendell Tyler
6378
0.606
RAM-SFO
1977-1986
Brian Westbrook
5995
0.612
PHI
2002-2009
Ahman Green
9205
0.618
SEA-GNB-HOU-GNB
1998-2009
Eddie George
10441
0.619
HOU-TEN-DAL
1996-2004
Rick Casares
5797
0.622
CHI-WAS-MIA
1955-1966
Willie Parker
5378
0.629
PIT
2004-2009
Lenny Moore
5174
0.635
BAL
1956-1967
Joe Morris
5585
0.636
NYG-CLE
1982-1991
Larry Brown
5875
0.638
WAS
1969-1976
Edgerrin James
12246
0.647
IND-ARI-SEA
1999-2009
Sammy Winder
5427
0.649
DEN
1982-1990
Larry Csonka
8081
0.651
MIA-NYG-MIA
1968-1979
Marcus Allen
12243
0.651
RAI-KAN
1982-1997
Robert Smith
6818
0.660
MIN
1993-2000
Leroy Kelly
7274
0.661
CLE
1964-1973
Thurman Thomas
12074
0.662
BUF-MIA
1988-2000
Tony Dorsett
12739
0.676
DAL-DEN
1977-1988
Mark van Eeghen
6651
0.696
OAK-NWE
1974-1983
Jim Brown
12312
0.696
CLE
1957-1965
Calvin Hill
6083
0.697
DAL-WAS-CLE
1969-1981
Steve Van Buren
5860
0.703
PHI
1944-1951
Franco Harris
12120
0.713
PIT-SEA
1972-1984
Roger Craig
8189
0.720
SFO-RAI-MIN
1983-1993
Jim Taylor
8597
0.722
GNB-NOR
1958-1967
Terrell Davis
7607
0.723
DEN
1995-2001
Chuck Foreman
5950
0.732
MIN-NWE
1973-1980
Lawrence McCutcheon
6578
0.743
RAM-DEN-SEA-BUF
1972-1981

Some players, like O.J. Simpson, Ollie Matson and Floyd Little, managed to rise above their teammates and get elected into the Hall of Fame. For Jackson, I think his career can be summed up by the words, 'what if?' It's through no fault of his own, but I doubt he'll be remembered as one of the great players of our era. But I think he could have been. Unless Sam Bradford and the Rams have a dramatic and immediate turnaround, Jackson will spend all of his prime years playing for bad teams. In 2006 - the last time Jackson played for a decent team - he had 2,334 yards from scrimmage, the sixth most in NFL history. Unfortunately for him, he hasn't played for a good team since.

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to stuart@footballguys.com.