Earl Campbell-Deserved Place in HOF-One Flaw

Earl Campbell, a Texas Longhorn turned Houston Oiler,  in his time was the greatest running back in NFL.  Campbell had brute power straight away.  He never used fancy moves to evade  defenders.   He either ran over them, threw them off,  carried them a few yards, and then broke away.  If a defense stopped Earl Campbell,  it had to be a the line of scrimmage.   Tackling him after his acceleration was virtually impossible.   The Houston Oilers of course ran him ragged. 

Campbell regrettably spent his last year at New Orleans.  In his career,  Campbell ran for 9,407 yards, for a 4.3 yard average, and scored 74 touchdowns.  He played in five Pro Bowls and was a three time All Pro.  The NFL  management voted Campbell into the Hall Fame the first year of his eligibility.   As Sports Illustrated said  “mmm…great.”

Earl Campbell deserved this quick entrance despite his flaws.  During the NFL playoffs, he was often hurting and burned out.  That plus the great defense of the Pittsburgh Steelers made him a non factor in two AFC Championships, 1978 and 1979.  The Steelers held EC to 62 yards and an amazing 25 yards respectably.   The Steel Curtain keyed on him and gang tackled.  Most important, the Steelers put points on the board making hand offs  to Campbell  a less likely option.

In addition, Earl Campbell was only an adequate pass catcher.  His best season was 1981 when he caught 36 passes for 156 yards.  In his career, Earl Campbell caught 121 throws for 806 yards, and an average of 6.7 yards.   For the whole seven years,  Campbell  averaged  one catch per game and never caught a touchdown pass.

A great runner in Canton.

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4 thoughts on “Earl Campbell-Deserved Place in HOF-One Flaw

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