Earl Campbell, who rose from the Tyler rose fields to greatness on the gridirons of America, will have a documentary made about his life by famous filmmaker Ross Greenburg, Campbell’s son Christian told the Tyler Morning Telegraph.
Christian, who resides in Houston, said the documentary will follow his father’s life from his roots near Swan through his famous exploits on the football cathedrals of America. Also, it will show the Tyler native’s life since he retired from football some 27 years ago.
The documentary will be shown during the upcoming football season on NBC Sports Network, Christian said.
Campbell first became famous when he led the 1973 John Tyler High School Lions to the Class 4A state football championship. He then went to the University of Texas where he won the 1977 Heisman Trophy. The Houston Oilers took him as the No. 1 pick of the National Football League Draft in 1978.
Campbell, who possessed a rare combination of speed and power, led the NFL in rushing three times and was NFL Most Valuable Player three times.
He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame. Campbell is a prominent businessman in Austin and still is heavily involved in the University of Texas athletics.
Christian, who played football at Austin Westlake High School and ran track at the University of South Carolina and the University of Houston, is heavily involved in the project.
Christian said he is excited about the documentary. He was very young when his father retired from the NFL and his research has afforded him the opportunity to look back at his father’s fabulous career. He has made many trips to Tyler looking through boxes and boxes of mementos his grandmothers have saved over the years.
Many articles and photos from the Morning Telegraph files are also being collected.
The idea of making the documentary started when David Barron, Houston Chronicle sports editor, posted that Greenburg, the former HBO Sports president and executive producer, was interested in looking at the life of the Tyler Rose. Barron is also a John Tyler High School graduate.
Greenburg, while at HBO, produced Sports of the 20th Century, a series of sports documentaries, along with Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, Inside the NFL and HBO World Championship Boxing. In 1990, he won the Sam Taub Award for excellence in boxing broadcasting journalism. He graduated from Brown University in 1977.
During his tenure he won 51 Sports Emmys and eight Peabody Awards.