Touchdowns are the most distinctive and exciting events in a game of football. Games are won and lost on last-minute touchdowns despite all odds, so it makes sense that players with the most TDs are considered so highly. Here’s some of the NFL players who have scored the most touchdowns in history.
Along with telling us who to bet on, touchdowns are a great indicator of the skill of individual players along with the state of the sport as a whole. TD records are being broken all the time, which tells us how the game is being played and the types of athletes being developed for viewing and betting entertainment.
Jerry Rice put in 20 great seasons with the NFL as a wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers, the Oakland Raiders, and the Seattle Seahawks between 1985 and 2004. He’s considered the best receiver in history, and one of the best players ever, but today we’re looking at his touchdown record. He scored a total of 208 total touchdowns, most of them being career receiving touchdowns at 197, which is a record! As we’ll see below, the next-best touchdown record is a whole 30+ TDs behind Rice, securing him as one of the best.
That player who’s over 30 touchdowns behind Rice is Emmitt Smith. As running back for the Dallas Cowboys (and the Arizona Cardinals) Smith spent 15 seasons on the field between 1990 and 2004. His touchdown record is nothing to scoff at, having amassed 175 touchdowns over the course of his career. 164 of those are rushing touchdowns, a record that has yet to be surpassed. He was also the rushing touchdowns leader for 1992, 1994, and 1995.
LaDainian Tomlinson was a running back for the Los Angeles Chargers and the New York Jets between 2001 and 2011. Across those 11 seasons, he was often considered to be one of the best running backs in the game. Tomlinson is third in touchdowns scored at 162. 138 of those were rushing touchdowns, and has a record for 28 rushing touchdowns and 31 total touchdowns from scrimmage in 2006. He’s also tied for a record for consecutive games scoring a touchdown at 18.
During Randy Moss’ 14 seasons in the NFL, he played wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings, the Oakland Raiders, the New England Patriots, the Tennessee Titans, and the San Francisco 49ers, so he got around. He was active from 1998 to 2012, ending his career with 157 touchdowns. As for his other touchdown-related records, he has a record for 17 receiving touchdowns in a dominant rookie season and scoring 23 receiving touchdowns in a single season.
Terrell Owens was the wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Dallas Cowboys, the Buffalo Bills, and the Cincinnati Bengals, between 1996 and 2012. In 2001, 2002, and 2006 he was the NFL leader for receiving touchdowns and, by the time of his retirement, he had scored 153 receiving touchdowns. His total touchdown count is 156, just one touchdown behind Randy Moss but solidifying him in the top five NFL all-time touchdown scorers. As part of those five, he’s the last guy on this list who has broken the 150 touchdown threshold.
Marcus Allen played running back for the Los Angeles Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs between 1982 and 1997, 16 seasons of action. As a player, he’s the only one to win the Heisman Trophy, the NCAA national championship, and the Super Bowl, and get named MVP for the NFL and the Super Bowl separately. As for his touchdowns, his rushing touchdowns mark was 123, plus 21 receiving touchdowns on those to hit 144.
After Marcus Allen, there’s Marshall Faulk, Cris Carter, Marvin Harrison, Jim Brown, and Walter Payton who all racked up touchdown totals in the 136 to 125 range. Like everybody else here, they’re currently retired.
Then there’s Adrian Peterson. We thought we should include this honorable mention for a player still in the game, a free agent running back who’s racked up 124 touchdowns so far after 13 seasons of play.