I mentioned earlier that the early reform years, roughly 1972-1980, are just different from the fully-evolved process that settled in during the 1980s and continues to the present. One good indicator of that is that in 1972 and 1976, candidates actually believed they could jump in after New Hampshire -- a strategy that was perfectly reasonable in the previous era (1912 through 1968), but made no sense at all under the reformed process.
In 1972, both Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace started late and skipped New Hampshire (and the little-noticed Iowa caucuses, which helped George McGovern get his campaign started); both, I believe, had entered the race in late 1971, but believed that they could begin organizing for primaries after New Hampshire. It's a bit hard to get info on it, but I believe that Scoop Jackson and John Lindsay also skipped New Hampshire (and Iowa) in order to focus on the upcoming Florida primary. Of course, the upshot of all this was that all future candidates would compete in New Hampshire, and most would also try to win Iowa.
But that still wasn't entirely clear in 1976. In that year, Senator Frank Church and Governor Jerry Brown both jumped in very late, with both competing in selected May and June primaries and in several cases winning them, in what from a distance appears to have been the most useless and futile campaigns ever. In some ways, Brown's 1976 campaign isn't entirely unlike the Chris Christie thing: Governor Moonbeam had just been elected in 1974 (for the first time), was probably a good match for activists Democrats that year on attitude if not necessarily on issues, and was a strong contrast to the lackluster frontrunner in a year in which Democrats believed they were highly likely to win. On the other hand, Brown certainly never has had anyone question his ambition, especially for the White House, and whatever Christie is up to he's certainly not going to jump in, say, after Florida.
Again, the only point here is that I really recommend ignoring the first two, and perhaps the first three, cycles under the reformed nomination process, at least in terms of drawing any lessons for how things work now.