It’s 11:21 PM in Chicago Illinois – June 15th, 2022
I am currently sitting at Space Stage Studios in Chicago alongside my brothers Cole Bennett and Salvatore Tarantino: what are we doing here, you might ask? We are on Day 2 of shooting a music video for an artist that will go unnamed at this time, and we have about an hour of time to waste in between shots. Out of nowhere – Cole and Sal walked up to me wide-eyed and giggly, so I was instantly suspicious.
“Elliot, we have a proposition for you” Cole proclaimed, as I sat in confusion. Sal looked at me dead in my face and said “We have an hour to waste, let’s make a top 10 running backs list.”
Logically, I started to think about how it would make no sense to make this list in the middle of a video shoot. I looked at them both, squinted my eyes, and said: “I’m In”
So this is a little bit different from our other lists because we aren’t in the comfort of our own office, but Sal just stole a small whiteboard from some poor man’s office and we got it going. Sal, Cole, and I came up with our own personal lists, and then we went ahead and created our consensus top 10.
Cole busted out the paper plate to write his Top 10 list, Sal found a loose piece of scrap paper and I am writing mine on the back of a receipt. There are two ice-cold Yerba Mate’s in rotation, highlights being played, and pens writing frantically.
Our Top 10 Running Backs of All-Time list goes as follows
1 • Adrian Peterson
2 • LaDainian Tomlinson
3 • Barry Sanders
4 • Emmitt Smith
5 • Chris Johnson
6 • Marshall Faulk
7 • Jerome Bettis
8 • Ricky Williams
9 • Jamaal Charles
10 • Arian Foster
Honorable Mention: Fred Taylor
A few things to start – SAL PUT LE’VEON BELL IN HIS PERSONAL TOP 10. We’ve seen it before in the QB and WR lists that we have done in the past, he has the aggressive Steeler’s bias and at this point, you just have to go with it. Sal also mentioned Arian Foster in his personal list, citing his fantasy football statics and how cool his all-white socks looked, which I totally agree with. I love how passionately Salvatore speaks about these players and the things that he remembers about them, it’s the purest form of true fandom.
Looking at Cole’s personal list, the one piece that might not make sense to some is Reggie Bush, and it’s a fair argument. However, Reggie Bush is without a doubt one of the most impactful football players of all time, and even if his NFL career didn’t live up to the college hype, he STILL had an impressive NFL career.
Reggie Bush was the definition of cool, he was iconic, and he was the golden boy. – Sal
As for the Adrian Peterson pick at #1, you couldn’t convince us otherwise. In our lifetimes, there hasn’t been another running back who put fear into defenses the way that AP did. He had the strength to simply, and excuse my language, run threw a motherf*ckers face. He ran a 4.41 40-yard dash at the 2007 NFL combine, but honestly, he looked so much faster than that on the television or in person. The man ran for 296 rushing yards in a single game, that’s 100 yards more than Teddy Bridgewater has averaged per game as a quarterback in a pass-happy NFL.
“Adrian Peterson had a stretch where I would argue he was the most feared man in football, he was truly unstoppable. – Elliot Montanez
It is now past three in the morning, and we are still on set for this music video, but this has been a fun exercise and a good waste of time as we waited. If there’s one thing that Sal, Cole, and I can do for hours on end, it’s speaking about our favorite NFL players.
RIP John Madden
– Elliot Montanez, Cole Bennett, and Sal Tarantino