running back by committee

Running Back by Committee Explained: Sharing the Load in the NFL

It’s understood how essential and crucial a solid run game strategy is for any team, but what does it mean for a team to strategically split the load between multiple backs on a consistent basis? The “running back by committee” (RBBC) approach involves spreading carries and receiving opportunities between multiple running backs within a team.

Let’s discuss, what is running back by committee?

What Does Running Back by Committee Mean?

RBBC is a strategy where teams utilize a rotation of running backs, each with different skillsets like power running or receiving abilities, rather than relying on a single featured back.

The tandem of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt in recent years with the Cleveland Browns are a good example of “running back by committee”

Evolution of RBBC

Historically, the NFL has alternated between favoring workhorse backs and RBBC approaches. In recent years, the rise of pass-heavy offenses and concerns over player durability led to a decline in workhorse utilization as teams favor spreading the workload.

However, this workhorse philosophy continues to be employed by some teams. It’s also worth noting that the ability for running backs to reach notable milestones and high rushing yard career numbers are greatly diminished with the implementation of “running back by committee”.

RBBC vs. Workhorse Running Backs

RBBC Advantages:

  • Reduces wear-and-tear on individual players
  • Keeps backs fresh
  • Utilizes specific skillsets

RBBC Disadvantages:

  • Inconsistent touches can disrupt rhythm
  • Establishing a dominant rushing attack can be harder
Derrick Henry’s time with the Titans is an example of a “workhorse” running back in recent years.

Workhorse Back Advantages:

  • Develops offensive line chemistry and trust
  • Potentially leads to a more dominant rushing attack

Workhorse Disadvantages:

  • Increased injury risk
  • Fatigue can impact late-game/season performance


Both RBBC and workhorse philosophies have merits in the modern NFL. Team coaching preferences, roster talent, and game plans ultimately dictate which approach is employed. As the league continues to evolve, the future role of RBBC remains an intriguing strategic question.