Inside The Bills

Jackson defying what NFL history says

Posted by Chris Brown on December 24, 2013 – 10:48 am

Bills RB Fred Jackson is 32-years old. Most NFL executives and personnel men cast a wary eye upon any NFL back that’s on the wrong side of 28. That’s because history has shown a significant drop-off in production for backs once they pass their 28th birthday. There have been few exceptions, but Fred Jackson looks to be one of them.

On the advanced metrics site NumberFire, Jackson’s 2013 season was broken down to reveal he’s putting up production as good as almost any back in the league, several of whom are several years younger than Jackson.

Most significant however, is where Jackson’s production stands in NFL history among running backs 31-years old or older.

NumberFire listed all of the backs in league history who at age 31 or older had at least 800 rushing yards AND 300 receiving yards in a season. The grand total was nine… in NFL history! Walter Payton was responsible for two of those seasons, so there have been 10 such seasons by players 31 or older.

Jackson is now the 11th player after surpassing the 800-yard plateau last Sunday (now 836) with a game to play.

The list of players is obviously short, and it’s worth noting that it includes three Hall of Famers (Payton, Dorsett, Little) and a likely future Hall of Famer in LaDainian Tomlinson.

Here’s the chart courtesy of, and it should be noted that Jackson and “Sweetness” were the only two to pull this off at age 32.

Player                   Year       Age        Team                     Rush yards          Rec. yards
Tiki Barber           2006         31             NYG                            1,662                     465
Walter Payton      1985         31             CHI                              1,551                     483
Walter Payton      1986         32            CHI                              1,333                     382
Tony Dorsett        1985         31             DAL                             1,307                     449
Ricky Watters      2000        31             SEA                             1,242                     613
James Brooks      1989         31             CIN                              1,239                     306
James Stewart    2002         31             DET                             1,021                     333
Floyd Little          1973         31             DEN                             979                         423
Garrison Hearst 2002        31             SF                                 972                         317
L. Tomlinson       2010        31             NYJ                              914                         368
Fred Jackson   2013         32           BUF                          836                       334


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