#20 Barry Sanders - RB

Barry Sanders Career NFL Stats 1989-1998


Barry Sanders was born on July 16, 1968 in Wichita, KS. He is the son of Shirley and William Sanders. Growing up, Barry's passion in sports was basketball. Howver, his father encouraged him to play football as he would stand a better chance at getting a college scholarship. The switch paid off to say the least.



Sanders played high school football for Wichita North High School. Although he played tailback for the school since his sophomore year, he didn’t get the chance to show what he would do for years to come until his senior year. After taking over the starting spot midway through his senior season, Barry went on a tear to end the season finishing with 1,417 yards and earn all-state honors. However, the exciting running back didn’t garner many scholarship offers. He decided to play college football in Stillwater, OK at Oklahoma State University.


Barry Sanders College Career Stats and Notes

Barry’s college start, like his high school beginnings, began by being a backup. This time to All-American and 2005 NFL Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas. After being a backup for two years, Sanders finally got his chance when Thomas headed to the NFL. Again, once given the opportunity Barry didn’t disappoint. In 1988, his junior year for the Oklahoma State Cowboys was one of the greatest collegiate seasons in history. He ran for a NCAA record 2,628 yards, which still stands to this day. He averaged over 200 yards a game, ran for 200 yards in 5 consecutive games (NCAA record) and had multiple 300 yard games. He added 39 TDs as well. This led to Sanders winning the 1988 Heisman Trophy. To finish out his remarkable junior season, Sanders ran for 222 yards and scored a Holiday Bowl record 5 TDs. This would be his last years as a Cowboy as he would declare for the 1989 NFL Draft.


Awards and Achievements

1st Team: 1989, 1990, 1991, 1994, 1996, 1997

2nd Team: 1992, 1993, 1995, 1998

Pro Bowl Selections
1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997,1998
Rushing Titles:
1990, 1994, 1996, 1997

Offensive Rookie of the Year


NFL Offensive Player of the Year

1994, 1997

Member of 1990s All-Decade Team
Member of NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team



Barry Sanders NFL Career Stats and Notes

The Detroit Lions selected the Heisman trophy winner 3rd in the 1989 NFL Draft. For 10 years, Sanders electrified his opponents and amazed NFL fans across the country. His jukes, shifty start and stop moves and deceptive power and speed left defenders on highlight reels on a play by play basis.

Sanders would retire in 1999 and finished his career with 15,269 rushing yards, which was second all-time to Walter Payton. He surpassed 1,100 yards rushing every season of his career, which is an NFL record. In 1997, he put together his best season. After being held to 53 yards the first two games, Sanders shifted into high gear, rushing for 2,000 yards in the final 14, to become only the 3rd running back at the time to eclipse 2,000 in a season. The others were O.J. Simpson and Eric Dickerson.  He did it the only way Barry could, by rushing for over 100 yards in 14 straight games, setting another NFL record. Barry Sanders would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004.


Monday Night Football: Barry vs. Emmitt

There were so many great moments Sanders created during in his illustrious career, but one that stands out was a Monday Night game for the ages. On September 19, 1994, in a game billed as a duel between two of the best running backs in the game, Sanders and the Lions took on Emmitt Smith and the defending Super Bowl Champion Dallas Cowboys in Texas Stadium.

The game didn’t disappoint as it was a tight contest throughout, and neither did the running backs. Smith rushed for 143 yards on 29 carries and caught 7 passes for 49 yards. Sanders outdid him, gashing the vaunted Cowboys' defense for 194 yards on 40 carries. His performance helped the underdog Lions pull off a 20-17 upset win in OT on the road.


Barry Sanders Stats by Season


List of Pro Football Hall of Fame Members