Hall of Fame
CLASS OF 2018
His thighs were as thick as a linebacker’s waist, and he’d just as soon run through you as around you. It was that combination of power and speed that made Earl Campbell a Heisman Trophy winner, an NFL Hall of Famer, and one of the most feared and powerful running backs in the game – at every level.
Earl Campbell on the "Red Carpet" at the inaugural Houston Sports Awards in 2018.
He played more linebacker than tailback at John Tyler High, where he earned the nickname The Tyler Rose, but when he carried the ball, he dominated the game. If a defender tried to tackle him high, he was met with a Campbell forearm shot that felt like he’d been hit with an anvil.
The 2018 Houston Sports Awards was the first time all Hakeem Olajuwon, Earl Campbell and Nolan Ryan were in the same room at the same time.
Campbell rushed for 4,443 yards and 40 touchdowns at the University of Texas, averaging 5.8 yards a carry over four years. After winning the Heisman his senior year, the Oilers made the 5'-11" 232-pound running back the first pick of the 1978 NFL draft, and he took the NFL by storm.
Watch Earl Campbell's "Red Carpet" interview with Julia Morales Clark at the 2018 Houston Sports Awards
As a rookie, he stunned the nation with a 199-yard, four-touchdown game against the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football – a game that ushered in the Oilers' Luv Ya Blue days and was the soul of those teams. Campbell was named the NFL's Most Valuable Player, All-Pro, and Rookie of the Year in his first season, won the league rushing championship with 1,450 yards, and was named to the AFC Pro Bowl squad.
Watch Earl Campbell being honored at the 2018 Houston Sports Awards.
Campbell was named to the Pro Bowl in five of his first six seasons, but six games into the 1984 season, he was traded to New Orleans for a first-round draft pick. He went to training camp in 1986 hoping to reach the 10,000-yard career milestone, but his body had taken too much of a pounding in those first eight seasons. He retired during the preseason, finishing his career with 74 touchdowns and 9,407 yards on 2,187 carries.
Earl Campbell and Jose Altuve at the 2018 Houston Sports Awards.
Earl Campbell talks with Kevin Eschenfelder at the 2018 Houston Sports Hall of Fame Day.
Dan Pastorini honoring his former teammate Earl Campbell at the inaugural Houston Sports Awards in 2018.
Hakeem Olajuwon, Nolan Ryan and Earl Campbell on stage at the inaugural Houston Sports Awards in 2018 when the launch of the Houston Sports Hall of Fame was announced and that the legendary "34's" would be the first class inducted.