NFL Hall of Fame Running Back

The man, the legend, the icon: #34. Earl Campbell, known as the “Tyler Rose,” is an American football legend and one of the most revered and feared running backs of his time. He could tackle any team’s defense, and was aptly nicknamed “the one man demolition team” by his peers. 

Campbell was born in Tyler, Texas as the sixth of eleven children in his family. He began playing football at the age of 11, first as a linebacker and then as running back. He attended John Tyler High School, whom he led to the largest state championships. He played college football for The University of Texas, where he won the Heisman Memorial Trophy as the most outstanding college player in 1977, becoming UT’s first recipient of the award. He earned unanimous All-America honors his senior college season and was the first recipient of the Davey O’Brien Memorial Trophy as the most outstanding player in the Southwest Conference. He finished his college career with 4,443 rushing yards and 40 rushing touchdowns in 40 games over four seasons. 

He entered the National Football League (NFL) in 1979 after being drafted first overall by the Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans), and was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Campbell was also named Offensive Player of the Year and NFL Most Valuable Player by various entities in each of his first three seasons with the Oilers, during which he rushed for 5,081 yards and scored 45 touchdowns. With head coach Bum Phillips, Campbell’s emergence in Houston coincided with the “Luv Ya Blue” era, when the Oilers made three straight playoff appearances. Campbell was traded to the New Orleans Saints six games into the 1984 season, where he spent his final season and a half before retiring. 

Campbell is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His jersey number is retired by The University of Texas and the Tennessee Titans. He still actively participates in University of Texas Athletics, where he serves as special assistant to the football team. In 1990 he founded Earl Campbell Meat Products, which manufactures and sells smoked sausage, barbecue sauce, and other food products. Campbell and his associates also owned the restaurant Earl Campbell’s Lone Star BBQ from 1999 to 2001. He now resides in Austin and generously devotes his time to raise awareness for multiple sclerosis. He has two sons, Christian and Tyler.

Scroll to Top