Tuesday, March 29, 2011
The Tyler Rose
I've always been a Cowboy's fan, which often as not the past decade has been like hitting myself in the head with a two-by-four once a week, come autumn. Never gave a damn about the Oilers (and give less than a damn about the Texans).
And as much as I loved Tony Dorsett and Emmett Smith, and respected Walter Payton and Barry Sanders, the greatest runner I ever saw was the Tyler Rose, Earl Campbell (who is 56 years old today).
And though I never saw Jimmy Brown or Gale Sayers play, I don't think it possible that they were better than Earl; though his career was brief—perhaps it's just not possible to play with that kind of intensity over a long career—for five seasons or so he was as good as anyone who ever played the game.
He was pretty damn good at the University of Texas, too, of course, winning the Heisman Trophy during a time when it still meant a little something. Barry Switzer (a total fucking wanker, who knows a little about football) said Earl was the only 18year-old he ever saw who could've gone straight to the NFL, and been a star.
I never saw a guy who punished opposing players like Earl did. Though he was just under six feet tall, he weighed nearly 250, and ran a 4.5 forty. He had 34 inch thighs—fuck—think about that!—34 fucking inches, man. That's just scary. And saying he ran a 4.5—which is fast—is still deceiving. He had another gear, that only great players have. When he needed to be, he was the fastest guy on the field.
The first video is a highlight reel. At around 2:50, watch him headbutt Isiah Robertson—an all-pro linebacker—and knock him on his ass. Earl did that kinda stuff all the time. Next is video of the culmination of his famous Monday Night Football performance against the Dolphins, an 81 yard sweep, that caused Howard Cosell to vibrate. No one did bombast quite like old Howard; what Earl was to grace and power, Howard was to hot air.