The National 1,000 Yard Foundation

fitch neville.jpg(photo by Ron Fitch)

The patch pictured above is in the Neville Museum and signifies membership in a local club registered as a non-stock corporation on May 28, 1964 in Menasha, Wisconsin. The National 1,000 Yard Foundation held its first annual fundraising dinner on June 2, 1964 when it honored NFL players who had gained over 1,000 yards in a season; at that point, there were just 11 such players in league history: Tony Canadeo and Jim Taylor of the Packers, plus Beattie Feathers, Steve Van Buren, Joe Perry, Jim Brown, Rick Casares, John David Crow, J.D. Smith, Dick Bass and John Henry Johnson. American Football League runners who had surpassed 1,000 yards were not considered so Cookie Gilchrist, Clem Daniels, Abner Haynes, Paul Lowe and Charley Tolar were not invited. Nor was All-America Conference tailback Spec Sanders who gained over 1,400 yards on the ground in 1947.

In addition to honoring the runners, the foundation would give an award to the blocker of the year as well. Forrest Gregg won the award in 1965, Jerry Kramer in 1967 and Dick Himes was a finalist for 1972. Proceeds of the dinner would go towards youth group projects. The Packers’ third 1,000-yard man, John Brockington, was honored following his 1971 rookie season.

At some point the corporation was “involuntarily dissolved,” which usually indicates some sort of financial problems. The last notice I found of the group’s annual dinner was in June 1978 when there was some question whether 1977’s top rusher, Walter Payton, would be able to attend. Through that point, 51 pro football runners had surpassed 1,000 yards in a season 98 times. In the ensuing 39 years of 16-game seasons through 2015, 181 more runners have amassed an additional 509 1,000 yard seasons. Over that time, the Packer 1,000-yard club has swelled slightly from three to nine with the addition of Terdell Middleton, Edgar Bennett, Dorsey Levens, Ahman Green, Ryan Grant and Eddie Lacy. Of course, to reach 1,000 yards in a 16-game season, a runner only has to average 62.5 yards per game, as opposed to 71.4 in 14 games or 83.3 in 12.

Here are the 23 1,000 yard rushing seasons in Packer history ranked by yards per game. + indicates first team All-Pro and * indicates the Pro Bowl.

Rk Player Year G Att Yds TD Y/A Y/G
1 Ahman Green 2003* 16 355 1883 15 5.3 117.7
2 Jim Taylor 1962*+ 14 272 1474 19 5.4 105.3
3 Jim Taylor 1961* 14 243 1307 15 5.4 93.4
4 Jim Taylor 1960* 12 230 1101 11 4.8 91.8
5 Jim Taylor 1964* 13 235 1169 12 5 89.9
6 Dorsey Levens 1997* 16 329 1435 7 4.4 89.7
7 Ahman Green 2002* 14 286 1240 7 4.3 88.6
8 Tony Canadeo 1949+ 12 208 1052 4 5.1 87.7
9 Ahman Green 2001* 16 304 1387 9 4.6 86.7
10 John Brockington 1973* 14 265 1144 3 4.3 81.7
11 John Brockington 1971*+ 14 216 1105 4 5.1 78.9
12 Eddie Lacy 2013* 15 284 1178 11 4.1 78.5
13 Ryan Grant 2009 16 282 1253 11 4.4 78.3
14 Jim Taylor 1963* 13 248 1018 9 4.1 78.3
15 Ahman Green 2004* 15 259 1163 7 4.5 77.5
16 Ahman Green 2006 14 266 1059 5 4 75.6
17 Ryan Grant 2008 16 312 1203 4 3.9 75.2
18 Dorsey Levens 1999 14 279 1034 9 3.7 73.9
19 Ahman Green 2000 16 263 1175 10 4.5 73.4
20 John Brockington 1972* 14 274 1027 8 3.7 73.4
21 Eddie Lacy 2014 16 246 1139 9 4.6 71.2
22 Terdell Middleton 1978* 16 284 1116 11 3.9 69.8
23 Edgar Bennett 1995 16 316 1067 3 3.4 66.7

53manjtaylor  2waytcanadeoc

Canadeo custom card is colorized.

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