Running the Fullback


Published: March 14, 2009


... two running backs.  One, the halfback, was generally called upon to do the outside running and some receiving, while the other, the fullback, did most of the inside running and some blocking. 

The roles were not exclusive—fullbacks sometimes ran outside (notably Jim Taylor of the Packers) and halfbacks sometimes ran inside (Calvin Hill of the Cowboys), many fullbacks (Tony Galbreath of the Saints) were great receivers and many halfbacks (Jim Kiick of the Dolphins) were great blockers.  But as a rule, those were the positions and their roles.

That began to change in the late '70s and early '80s, as some teams began to have big backs carry the ball more from the halfback spot and run mostly inside. Earl Campbell was the first of these, followed by Eric Dickerson, though both men did from time to time run from the fullback spot—when Campbell got to New Orleans, he was a fullback, and Dickerson was used interchangeably as a halfback or fullback.&nb...

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