The hit delivered by Earl Campbell is an iconic part of NFL highlight films.
Campbell runs over the left side of the Houston Oilers line where Los Angeles Rams linebacker Isiah Robertson, at one time one of the highest-paid players at his position in the NFL, arrived to meet the ball carrier. Campbell lowered his head and put his helmet between Robertson’s No. 58, bowling him over. Later on the play, of course, Rams defenders ripped Campbell’s jersey off.
Campbell would be penalized by officials for that move today after the new rule outlawing running backs from delivering blows with the crown of their helmet was adopted earlier this week. Then, he would be fined.
CSN Houston caught up with Campbell and asked him about the new rule that has running backs fuming.
“I do not think (the new rule) is going to last,” the Hall of Famer said. “I think people want to see the running back running the football. I thought we were getting back to that, but pretty obviously we're not; we're getting farther away from football.
“I know there's going to be some things changed, but I never thought I agreed with Jack Lambert Twenty years or 10 years ago, he said the quarterback is going to end up wearing a dress. I did not think that I would live long enough to see that happen, but he's right. I think what they ought to do, if they really want to change it all up, give guys like we started football in elementary, flag football, and everybody will know not to bump into nobody.”
We’re not convinced the rule will be going anywhere anytime soon. The NFL wants to make the game safer and it certainly wants to project the image that everything possible is be doing in terms of player safety. Maybe we’ll just have to enjoy old highlights of players like Campbell.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune