John Stanley Brockington (born September 7, 1948) is a former American football player, a running back in the National Football League (NFL) with the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs. He was a first round draft choice out of Ohio State University, and was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1971.
Born and raised in Brooklyn in New York City, Brockington played halfback and fullback for the Ohio State Buckeyes from 1968 to 1970. He was one of the so-called Super Sophomores who led the Buckeyes to an undefeated season and a consensus national championship in 1968. Brockington and the other Super Sophomores finished their college careers with a record of 27–2.
Brockington played left halfback in 1968 and 1969, used primarily as a blocker for fullback Jim Otis and quarterbackRex Kern. In 1970, Brockington moved to the fullback position and was the featured running back in head coachWoody Hayes‘ offense. Brockington finished his senior season with 1,142 rushing yards, which was at the time an Ohio State single-season record; he also scored 17 rushing touchdowns that season.
Brockington was the ninth overall selection in the 1971 NFL Draft, after Jim Plunkett, Dan Pastorini, Archie Manning, and John Riggins, and ahead of Jack Tatum, Jack Youngblood, Jack Ham and Dan Dierdorf. Brockington became the first NFL player to ever rush for 1,000 or more yards in each of his first three seasons. In his rookie year of 1971 with the Green Bay Packers, Brockington was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press, rushing for 1,105 yards and a 5.1 YPC in 14 games. Brockington was named All-Pro in 1971, 2nd Team All-Pro in 1973 and All-NFC in 1972. Brockington was also selected to three consecutive Pro Bowls (1971–1973).
His first running mate in the Green Bay backfield was sixth-year halfback Donny Anderson, another Packer first round draft choice, who was traded the following offseason to the St. Louis Cardinals for running back MacArthur Lane. Together, Brockington and Lane formed a dynamic running duo in the backfield, carrying the Packers offense between 1972 and 1974. The Packers won the NFC Central division in 1972 for their first playoff berth in five years.
With a running style based on his great strength, Brockington epitomized the power running back – a player who preferred to break tackles and run over defenders rather than run away from them. He was one of the first running backs to combine brute force with speed.
Brockington’s success was short-lived; after eclipsing 1,000 yards rushing during each of his first three seasons, he ran for 883 yards in 1974 (with a career-high 43 receptions for 314 yards), but dipped to only 434 yards rushing on 3.0 YPC in 1975 under new head coach Bart Starr. This was the result of typical wear-and-tear, the trade of Lane in July 1975 and changes in the Packers’ playbook that did not take advantage of Brockington’s abilities. In 1976, he had 406 yards rushing with 3.5 YPC.
After the first game of the 1977 season, Brockington was released by the Packers. Signed by the struggling Kansas City Chiefs three weeks later, he appeared in ten games for them and retired following the season.