There was a time when your running back was more important than any wide receiver you had on your team. Now the running back is not even as important as the tight end. That era has past us by.

Keep in mind this is one of my lists. It won't be in order of yards gained, most TD's, it won't account for championships or even playoff wins. They were just electric talents ranked in the order of times they made me say "WOW!" These 10 running backs passed the eyeball test and could change the entire game with one touch.

#10 - Jerome Bettis - I'm not even going to bother with his days as a member of the Steelers, which were awesome. I'm talking young, emerging talent, impossible to stop Bettis as a member of the Rams. This guy looked like a Volkswagen with cleats doing 100 mph on the football field.

9 - Emmitt Smith - The crazy thing about this guy was how often he was never touched. He played behind one of the great offensive lines in football history. Giants fans, do not look back fondly on these years.

8 - Marshawn Lynch - It's almost not even fair to talk about Marshawn as a running back. The man is a football player. He ran angry and dumb. Of course he is still playing but not the way he used to. Run thoo somebody face.

7 - Eric Dickerson - I bet NFL Films has hours of slow motion footage of Dickerson running with gassed opponents chasing him in vain.

6 - Marshall Faulk - I remember hearing about him when he was in college at San Diego State. They talked about him as if it he was a "sure thing" in the NFL, turns out "they" were right for once. He ended up as the focal point as an offense that would be known as "The Greatest Show on Turf."

5 - Walter Payton - Walter was one of two players I remember that looked like they were doing ballet in the middle of a gladiator fight. Him and Lynn Swan did not look like they belonged. It's as if his feet never touched the ground.

4 - Marcus Allen - I'm a Raider fan, so yes I am biased but he could run like the wind, change the game with one touch and was real fun to watch. Very few players were able to change direction and improvise like Allen.

3 - Bo Jackson - In Bo's way to short NFL career he was unstoppable. He could run through or around you, depending on his mood.

2 - Reggie Bush - (College) - His NFL career has been OK but during his years at USC, as a Trojan he was as exciting as any athlete I have ever seen.

1 - Barry Sanders - If Barry had Emmitt Smith's offensive line there is no telling what else he could have done. Without that line he still was one of the greatest of all time. He was the most exciting running back in my lifetime.

P.S. Finding NFL highlights sucks. The NFL has such a stranglehold over their material that you cannot use any of their videos. The others all have terrible video quality and even worse rap music behind them. I apologize for the s--- music I just put in your ear. I did not have much choice. 

More From WRKI and WINE