John Brockington Obituary, Death Cause – On March 31st, John Brockington, a former running back in the National Football League who played for the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs, passed away at the age of 74. After graduating from Ohio State University, he was selected early in the draft and went on to win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 1971.
In the 1971 NFL Draft, Brockington was the ninth player selected overall. He was selected after Jim Plunkett, Dan Pastorini, Archie Manning, and John Riggins.
Brockington was selected before Jack Tatum, Jack Youngblood, Jack Ham, and Dan Dierdorf. Brockington set a record by being the first player in the history of the National Football League to rush for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first three seasons. In his first season with the Green Bay Packers in 1971, Brockington was voted NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press. He played in all 14 games for the Packers and rushed for 1,105 yards while averaging 5.1 yards per carry.
Brockington finished his career with 5,024 running yards, which was good for second place all-time in Packers franchise history. As of the month of December 2022, Brockington is now ranked fourth all-time in the Packers’ rushing yardage record. In 1971, Brockington was selected for the 1st Team All-Pro, in 1973 he was selected for both the 1st Team and the 2nd Team, and in 1972 he was named to the All-NFC team. Moreover, Brockington was named for the Pro Bowl three times in a row (1971–1973).
His first running partner in the Green Bay backfield was sixth-year halfback Donny Anderson, another Packer first round draft choice. Anderson was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for running back MacArthur Lane in the offseason following the season in which he was drafted by the Packers. Between the years 1972 and 1974, Brockington and Lane worked together as a dynamic rushing tandem in the backfield for the Packers, helping to carry the team’s offense. In 1972, the Packers earned their first trip to the playoffs in the previous five years by winning the NFC Central division.
Brockington exemplified the power running back with a style of running that was focused on his considerable strength. A power running back is a player who prefers to break tackles and run over defenders rather than run away from them. Brockington’s running style was based on his strong strength. He was a pioneer in the sport of running backs, having been one of the first to combine speed with power.
After surpassing 1,000 yards rushing in each of his first three seasons, Brockington ran for 883 yards in 1974 (including a career-high 43 receptions for 314 yards), but he dropped to only 434 yards rushing on 3.0 YPC in 1975 under new head coach Bart Starr. Brockington’s success was fleeting. This was the result of normal wear and tear, the trading of Lane in July 1975, and changes in the playbook that did not take advantage of Brockington’s ability. All of these factors contributed to Brockington’s decline. In 1976, he ran for 406 yards and averaged 3.5 yards per carry.