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Longtime NFL Executive Reveals Controversial All-Time RB Rankings List

Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers laughing.

CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 20: Hall of Fame Chicago Bears Dick Butkus (L) and Gale Sayers share a laugh on the sidelines before a game between the Bears and the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 20, 2009 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Steelers 17-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

With the passing of Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers, many people are evaluating his place in the hierarchy of the all-time great running backs. But one former NFL executive released a list that many are taking issue with.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Hall of Famer Gil Brandt revealed his top-four running backs of all-time. Taking the understandable first- and second-place spots on his list were Jim Brown and Walter Payton respectively. Understandable.

Then things get a tad more controversial. In third-place he has OJ Simpson, and in fourth he has Sayers. While all four of the men on Brandt's list are Hall of Famers and all-time greats, fans were not amused by his ranking.

The backlash to some notable absences on the list was immediate. Scrolling through the comments, fans are outraged that one man is missing from his top-four: Barry Sanders.

The consensus seems to be that Sanders should be placed ahead of OJ on the list. Some fans have also pointed to another name left off the list. NFL all-time rushing leader Emmitt Smith came to mind in a less popular response:

There's a fun conversation to be had over who are the best running backs of all-time. Certainly the difference in styles and era of playing makes for a big difference too.

Who do you think are the four best running backs of all-time?