When Larry Brown came to the Redskins, it was Sonny Jurgensen’s team. They didn’t run the ball unless they had to. Brown changed that.
Brown originally earned the job more out of positional scarcity and opportunity, but when Vince Lombardi came to Washington, he instituted Brown as the full-time starting running back, giving him an increased workload.
The move paid off, as Brown, in 1970, rattled off 1,125 yards and five touchdowns on 237 carries. The next year, he flirted with the 1,000-yard mark once again, and in 1972, he had the best year of his career, accumulating 1,216 rushing yards, 473 receiving yards, and 12 total touchdowns. He won NFL MVP honors for his performance that year.
Despite his below-average size and his hearing impairments, which forced him to lean on an earpiece to hear the snap count, Brown exceeded expectations and helped the league evolve at running back. He was the first Redskins running back to break the 1,000-yard mark, and once wasn’t enough for him. His consistency in the older era of football speaks volumes, and it’s not bold to say that he set the tone for a more versatile, balanced Redskins offense, moving forward.