Eddie Lacy a Reminder of Green Bay Packers Running Back John Brockington

Green Bay Packers former Running Back John Brockington

Eddy Lacy might jog the memory of some Green Bay Packers fans when they recall the running style of former Packers running back #42 John Brockington, who played for Green Bay in the 1970’s. Brockington’s running style was based on great upper and lower body strength. With his powerful legs and a vicious stiff arm he epitomized the “power running back style.”

Even with his matching exceptional speed, Brockington preferred to break tackles and run over defenders rather than run away from them.  He was a beast of a running back combining brute force with speed.  His running style was incredibly similar to current Green Bay Packers running back #27 Eddie Lacy.

John Brockington played college football for three seasons at Ohio State under the tutelage of Head Coach Woody Hayes from 1968-1970. During his senior year at Ohio State he rushed for 1,142 yards, which at the time was a single season rushing record for the Buckeyes, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com.  He also rushed for 17 touchdowns that year.

Given those college credentials, John Brockington was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 1st Round of the 1971 NFL Draft with the 9th overall pick.  Brockington played for the Green Bay Packers from 1971-1977.  He was traded by the Packers to the Kansas City Chiefs in 1977 after playing in one game that year with Green Bay.

John Brockington was the first NFL player to ever rush for 1,000 yards or more in each of his first three seasons. However, his career dwindled after that impressive stretch, when Brockington’s production diminished after rushing for a still impressive 883 yards in 1974, dramatically decreasing in 1975 when he ran for only 434 yards.

Highlights of John Brockington’s Green Bay Packers career include being a 3 Time Pro Bowl Selection and an All-Pro Selection in 1971, 1972 and 1973, NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1971 and a Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame Inductee in 1984.

John Brockington rushed 30 Times for 142 yards on November 7, 1971 versus the Bears, setting up a game winning field goal with 5 straight carries.  The Packers won 17 to 14.  A week later on November 14th, he rushed 23 Times for 149 yards against the Minnesota Vikings “Purple People Eaters” defense; a worthy defense that included eventual NFL Hall of Fame Inductees Alan Page, Jim Marshall, Carl Eller and Paul Krause.

Eddie Lacy was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 2nd Round of the 2013 NFL Draft with pick #61.  A powerful running back, he stands 5’-11” and weighs 230 lbs, with outstanding speed and tremendous agility.  Lacy played for Head Coach Nick Saban at Alabama, where he redshirted his freshman year in 2009.  In 2010 Lacy was the 3rd string running back behind Heisman winners Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson.

In 2011, Trent Richardson told reporters, per Wikipedia, “Lacy’s spin move is the nastiest spin move ever.”  In 2012, with Alabama, Lacy proved that description, rushing for 1,322 yards and 17 touchdowns.  Green Bay Packers fans can witness this “spin move” firsthand on any given Sunday, which makes Lacy one of the more difficult running backs to bring down in the NFL today.

Lacy’s highlights include being a Pro Bowl Selection and a Second Team All-Pro in 2013; he ranked #60 in Top 100 Players in 2015 and #90 in Top 100 Players in 2014. In 2013 he was AP NFL Offensive Rookie and PFWA Rookie of the Year. Last but not least, in that breakout year for Lacy, he carried the heavy load for the Packers in the last 8 games after Aaron Rodgers broke his collar bone.

In an article written on June 12, 2015, ESPN sports writer Rob Demovsky wrote: “If Lacy hits 1,100 yards for a third straight season, he will become the third running back in Packers history to do so. Ahman Green did it five straight years (2000-2004) and Jim Taylor three straight years (1960-62).”

Given the Green Bay Packers balanced attack, which includes a high octane passing game and a solid offensive line that effectively utilizes the zone blocking scheme and other blocking schemes, Eddie Lacy should be able to achieve this goal and join the elite club with members Jim Taylor and Ahman Green–to rush for 1,100 yards or more in three consecutive seasons.

John Brockington should be in this exclusive club of Green Bay Packers running backs. However, in 1972 he unfortunately fell 73 yards short of the lone criteria of 1,100 yards or more over three straight seasons.  Be reminded, Brockington played in a 14 game season and not 16 like today. But make no mistake, Eddie Lacy reminds me of John Brockington. They both play with reckless abandon and an “I’m-going-to-run-you-over-and knock-you-on-your-can “mentality.

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Todd Stelzel, a loyal Packers fan since 1966, is a contributing writer with PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @ToddStelzel for more Packer news.

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