Tonight for the Saints is the third preseason game, the "dress rehearsal" for the season opener and I might consider turing off the FXX Simpsons marathon to watch it. We can all agree there is nothing more insubstantial that preseason football, so here instead for consideration is one of the most substantial players of all time, Earl Campbell.
One of my earliest football memories was watching The Houston Oilers on CBS and seeing Earl Campbell just destroy everyone in his path. I was mesmerized that the fastest man on the field was also the strongest. Whoever he didn't run over he just out ran, he was amazing. If you never watched Earl run, it was as if Barry Sanders, Adrian Peterson, and a Cat Bulldozer had a love child, here, see for yourself.
Earl's first three years in the league were incredible, and heck, his next three weren't too shabby either. Alas, the body can only take so much punishment so by his seventh year, it was obvious his legs were betraying him. As was any superstar's right of passage back in the 1980's, Earl spent his last two years in the league a shell of his former self for the New Orleans Saints. Bum Phillips brought him in with the hope to recharge him but after the 1986 season, Earl retired.
As you can see from the last two Nine-of-a-Kind pages, The Tyler Rose found himself enshrined in Canton five years after he retired. He was always a favorite of mine and is the standard to which I hold all other running backs I have ever seen since - remember, I never saw Jim Brown play live, I am not that old.