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Greatest Super Bowl performances: Running backs

Running backs have been considered the lifeblood of fantasy football, but a select few have found immense statistical success in the Super Bowl. In fact, a mere seven backs have won the MVP honor in 41 championships -- quarterbacks have won the award 21 times -- and a total of 17 runners have rushed for 100-plus yards.

In the second part of our three-part series that combines Super Bowl success and fantasy football, we've looked back and found the top 10 running back performances in the ultimate sports championship. Again, players will be rewarded six points for touchdowns and one point for each 10 rushing and receiving yards.

Associated Press
Marcus Allen dominated the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII.

1. Terrell Davis, Denver (Super Bowl XXXII): Davis was able to put the Broncos on his shoulders and lead his team to a 31-24 win over the Green Bay Packers despite the affects of a painful migraine headache in the first quarter. The talented back rushed for 157 yards with a Super Bowl record three touchdowns and scored 33 fantasy points -- the most ever for a back in a championship contest. Davis, who can now be seen on the NFL Network, was awarded the MVP honors for his performance and level of statistical success.

T-2. Marcus Allen, Los Angeles Raiders (Super Bowl XVIII): Allen led the Raiders, then in Los Angeles, to its third club championship by setting a Super Bowl record with 191 rushing yards and two touchdowns in a 38-9 win over the Washington Redskins. The most memorable moment of the game and one that will live in the annals of Super Bowl lore was Allen's elusive 74-yard run in the third quarter that put his team ahead 35-6. He would finish the contest with a 9.5 yards-per-carry average and a total of 32 fantasy points.

T-2. Timmy Smith, Washington (Super Bowl XXII): Smith, an unknown rookie who had a mere 29 carries in the regular season, came out of the blue to rush for a Super Bowl record 204 yards and two touchdowns in the Redskins' 42-10 win over the Denver Broncos. Smith scored on runs of 58 and 4 yards and notched 32-fantasy points. His success on the grandest stage of them all would not be a window into the future -- he rushed for 476 yards and three touchdowns the rest of his career.

4. Roger Craig, San Francisco (Super Bowl XIX): One of the most versatile running backs to ever grace the gridiron, Craig was a prominent contributor in the Niners' 38-16 win over the Miami Dolphins. He rushed for 58 yards, caught a team-high seven passes for 77 yards and found the end zone three times for a total of 30 fantasy points. Craig's three scores set a Super Bowl record -- he found the end zone on a 2-yard run and on passes of 8 and 16 yards from Joe Montana, who would take home MVP honors in the contest.

5. Ricky Watters, San Francisco (Super Bowl XXIX): While it was MVP Steve Young who recorded the most fantasy points in a Super Bowl (53) in the 49-26 win over the San Diego Chargers, Watters also produced a stat line that would have made owners salivate. The Notre Dame product rushed for 47 yards, caught three passes for 61 yards, tied a Super Bowl record with three touchdowns and finished with a solid 28 fantasy points. His touchdowns came on a run of 9 yards and receptions of 51 and 8 yards from Young.

6. Emmitt Smith, Dallas (Super Bowl XXVIII): The NFL's all-time leading rusher, Smith started slow but finished like a man on fire in the Cowboys' 30-13 win over the Buffalo Bills. He recorded 30 carries for 132 yards and two touchdowns in his final stat line, but he had 19 carries for 92 yards and recorded both of his scores in the second half. Smith, who scored on runs of 15 yards and 1 yard and earned MVP honors for his performance, totaled 27 fantasy points. The win was Dallas' second consecutive in the Super Bowl.

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7. Larry Csonka, Miami (Super Bowl VIII): In what is the oldest performance in our top 10 at the running back position, Csonka rushed 33 times for what was a record 145 yards with two touchdowns in a 24-7 win over Fran Tarkenton and the Minnesota Vikings. Csonka, who earned MVP honors and scored a total of 26 fantasy points in the contest, scored on runs of 5 and 2 yards. With the win, Csonka and the Dolphins became the second team to win back-to-back Super Bowl championships (Green Bay did it in 1966-67).

T-8. Thurman Thomas, Buffalo (Super Bowl XXV): In a game that will forever be remembered for Scott Norwood's failed 47-yard field goal attempt with seconds on the clock, Thomas' statistical performance was somewhat overshadowed. He rushed for 135 yards, caught five passes for 55 yards, scored on a 31-yard run and finished with 24 fantasy points in a 20-19 loss to the New York Giants. What made his stat line even more impressive is that the Bills had the football for just nine minutes in the second half and 19:27 overall.

T-8. Eddie George, Tennessee (Super Bowl (XXXIV): This Super Bowl will forever be remembered for how it ended. St. Louis linebacker Mike Jones tackled Tennessee wideout Kevin Dyson at the 1-yard line as time expired to preserve the Rams' 23-16 win over the Titans, but George recorded a solid stat line nonetheless. The veteran featured back rushed for 95 yards, caught two passes from Steve McNair for 35 yards, scored touchdowns on runs of one yard and two yards and would finish with 24 fantasy points in the contest.

10. John Riggins, Washington (Super Bowl XVII): Riggins put the Redskins on his broad back and led them to a 27-17 win over the Miami Dolphins for the franchise's first-ever Super Bowl title and first NFL championship since 1942. The Diesel carried the football a record 38 times for what was a record 166 yards and scored on a 43-yard run to finish the game with 23 fantasy points. It was Riggins' fourth consecutive 100-yard rushing performance in the postseason, and he earned MVP honors as a result of his heroics.

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