clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ranking the Chiefs: Jamaal Charles was the best of all running backs

On Saturdays through May, Arrowhead Pride contributors weigh in on the five best Chiefs of all time. This time, Matt Stagner weighs in.

Kansas City Chiefs v Oakland Raiders Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

On Saturdays through May, Arrowhead Pride contributors list (and explain) their top five Kansas City Chiefs of all time.

My top five all-time Chiefs

  1. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes
  2. Edge rusher Derrick Thomas
  3. Quarterback Len Dawson
  4. Guard Will Shields
  5. Running back Jamaal Charles

Patrick Mahomes is now the greatest player in Chiefs history. He’s the best not only because of the achievements (MVP, Super Bowl title, Super Bowl MVP) but also the way he’s gone about it: with class, humility, swagger and fun. Only twice during my time as a Chiefs fan has the team drafted the guy I wanted in the first round. The first was Eric Berry. The second was Mahomes. It was a swing-for-the-fences pick that ended up better than anyone could have dared to imagine. The best news is that the kid isn’t done yet — not even close.

Derrick Thomas represents the Chiefs teams that I grew up watching — the era of Martyball. Those teams rushed the passer and ran the football. That’s what they did. Nobody was better at terrorizing quarterbacks than Derrick Thomas. I’ll never forget watching the seven-sack game — and the agony of the eighth sack he nearly had. He’s inspired generations of pass rushers and will still go down as one of a kind.

Len Dawson represents the early years of the franchise — the championship squads stocked with all-time greats. You could fill up a top ten list in franchise history just with guys from this era. Hell, SEVEN Chiefs from that decade are in the NFL Hall of Fame. Bobby Bell and Buck Buchanan should rightfully have spots on my list. But narrowing it to the top 5, I’ll stick with the signal-caller who won Super Bowl IV — and went on to be one of the TV and radio voices I’ll always associate with Chiefs football.

To select an offensive guard for this list seems crazy. But Will Shields was one of a kind. He never missed a game (224 of them) in fourteen seasons, made 12 Pro Bowls, won the Walter Payton Man of the Year award and made the NFL Hall of Fame. He is among the most accomplished interior offensive linemen in the history of the league — and he is on this list to represent the best collective offensive line we’ve ever seen (Willie Roaf, Shields, Casey Weigmann, Brian Waters and John Tait).

The Kansas City Chiefs franchise has been defined by a decades-long tradition of great running backs, so the final spot on my list represents this group. Christian Okoye, Barry Word, Marcus Allen, Larry Johnson, Priest Holmes are some of the most memorable players of my lifetime. But the franchise rushing leader — and record holder for most yards per carry — might have been the best. Nobody was more explosive and fun to watch than Jamaal Charles, who gave us games that included five touchdowns against the Oakland Raiders and his 91-yard touchdown against the New Orleans Saints. He was the brightest star on some very good (and some very bad) Chiefs teams.


How perfect is this list?

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    Strongly perfect
    (301 votes)
  • 53%
    Somewhat perfect
    (733 votes)
  • 18%
    Somewhat imperfect
    (255 votes)
  • 5%
    Strongly imperfect
    (71 votes)
1360 votes total Vote Now

Cumulative ranking

  • Patrick Mahomes (10 points)
  • Derrick Thomas (7)
  • Len Dawson (7)
  • Travis Kelce (2)
  • Will Shields (2)
  • Derrick Johnson (1)
  • Jamaal Charles (1)

Previous articles

Ranking the Chiefs: Derrick Johnson squeaks in the top five — Ron Kopp, Jr.

NEW: Join Arrowhead Pride Premier

If you love Arrowhead Pride, you won’t want to miss Pete Sweeney in your inbox each week as he delivers deep analysis and insights on the Chiefs' path to the Super Bowl.