By the numbers: Running backs

Between 21 and 32 teams a year have combined for 1,357 seasons since the American Football League was formed in 1960, taking professional football above 20 teams for the first time.

And among all of those seasons and all of the runners to carry the football for their teams, the collective performance of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart stands out as being unlike any in modern pro football annals.

The numbers prove it ...

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Number of teams since 1960 whose two leading rushers combined for at least 2,000 yards.  That tally includes 17 teams this decade, more than double the tally in the 1990s, when just seven teams had a pair of runners combine for 2,000 yards -- two of which needed a single 2,000-yard runner to do it: 1997 Detroit Lions (Barry Sanders) and 1998 Denver Broncos (Terrell Davis).

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Number of teams since 1960 whose two leaders in rushing touchdowns combined for at least 20 scores.  Thirteen of these seasons have come this decade; in eight of those 13, one-half of the combination had at least four times as many rushing touchdowns as the other, including the 2006 San Diego Chargers, who had 30 touchdowns between LaDainian Tomlinson (28 scores) and Michael Turner (two).

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Number of teams since 1960 that had two runners combine for over 2,000 yards -- with each gaining at least 800 yards: 1972 Miami Dolphins (Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris), 1975 Buffalo Bills (O.J. Simpson and Jim Braxton), 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers (Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier), 1978 Chicago Bears (Walter Payton and Roland Harper), 1980 Atlanta Falcons (William Andrews and Lynn Cain),  1985 Cleveland Browns (Kevin Mack and Earnest Byner), 1988 Cincinnati Bengals (Ickey Woods and James Brooks), 2004 Falcons (Warrick Dunn and Michael Vick), 2006 Falcons (Dunn/Vick), 2006 Jacksonville Jaguars (Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew), 2007 Minnesota Vikings (Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor), 2008 New York Giants (Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward), 2008 Panthers.

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Number of teams since 1960 that had two runners combine for 2,300 or more yards: 1963 Browns (Jim Brown and Ernie Green) 1973 and 1975 Bills (Simpson/Braxton), 1977 and 1978 Bears (Payton/Harper), 1984 Los Angeles Rams (Eric Dickerson and Barry Redden), 2003 Baltimore Ravens (Jamal Lewis and Chester Taylor), 2003 Green Bay Packers (Ahman Green and Najeh Davenport), 2006 Chargers (Tomlinson and Turner) and 2008 Panthers.

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Number of teams since 1960 that had two players combine for at least 25 rushing touchdowns: 1962 Packers (Jim Taylor and Tom Moore),  1975 Bills (Simpson/Braxton), 1983 Washington Redskins (John Riggins and Reggie Evans), 1995 Dallas Cowboys (Emmitt Smith and Daryl Johnston), 2003 Kansas City Chiefs (Priest Holmes and Tony Richardson), 2005 Chiefs (Larry Johnson and Holmes), 2005 Seattle Seahawks (Shaun Alexander and Maurice Morris), 2006 Chargers (Tomlinson/Turner), 2008 Panthers.

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Number of teams since 1960 that had two players run for 10 or more touchdowns since 1960: 1975 Baltimore Colts (Lydell Mitchell and Don McCauley), 2002 Vikings (Moe Williams and Daunte Culpepper) and 2008 Panthers.

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Number of teams since 1960 with a 1,500-yard runner and another ballcarrier who ran for at least 800 yards: 1975 Bills (Simpson/Braxton) and 2008 Panthers.

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Number of teams since 1960 that had two runners with at least 10 touchdowns and at least 800 yards apiece while combining for over 2,000 yards: 2008 Panthers.

In other words ... it hasn't happened before in the modern NFL.  By those standards, Williams and Stewart stand together -- and stand alone as the most prolifically balanced running duo since facemasks were mandated on helmets.

The numbers prove what the eyes witnessed ... that "Double Trouble" was a perfect storm unlike any other in recent memory.



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