Campbell Puts Head Into Defender's Chest
On paper, there was nothing extraordinary about the run: it was for 16 yards, and the player’s team lost the game, 10-6. But the play, in just the fourth game of Oilers running back Earl Campbell’s career, was striking for its sheer power – and for the wardrobe malfunction that resulted from it. At the Houston Astrodome on September 24, 1978, the Oilers were down 10-3 to the Rams early in the fourth quarter, and had the ball at the Los Angeles 22 on first down and 10. Campbell, the 5-foot-11, 232 pound running back, caught a pitch to the left and quickly eluded a tackler, then skipped over a fallen teammate before coming face-to-face with Rams linebacker Isiah Robertson. Campbell plowed into Robertson, knocking him off-kilter, then raced like a jet through some open space, breaking one more tackle before dragging three Rams for more yardage to the 6. When Campbell got up, he no longer wore a jersey; it had come off during the tackle and he jogged off the field gladiator-like, with pads exposed. It was part of a standout rookie season and preclude to his Hall of Fame career: in his rookie year, he ran for 1,450 yards and 13 touchdowns and was named a First Team All-Pro.