Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Emmitt Smith

Being a Cowboy fan, Emmitt is my favorite player of all time, I also think you could make an argument that he is the best player of all time. It's hard to argue with Jerry Rice for that distinction, but I just don't like Jerry much, and Emmitt is certainly worthy. Emmitt rushed for over 1,000 yards in 11 straight of his 15 seasons, and came pretty close in 3 out of the other 4, including his rookie season and what looks to be his final season with 937 yards in each. His only bad year was 2003 when he was hampered by an injury he suffered coincidentally against the Cowboys. He also won 4 straight rushing titles, a league MVP, a SuperBowl MVP, three SuperBowl titles, is the all time rushing leader, has more rushing TDs than anyone ever (by far) and is second only to Rice in total TDs. Some will try to say that Barry Sanders was a better back than Emmitt, but when you look at the numbers and the accomplishments, Sanders only comes close in yards, he never scored like Emmitt, and certainly didn't lead his team to any big playoff victories. Jim Brown and Walter Payton would be better players to compare Emmitt with, the Sanders comparison only comes up because they played at the same time, and was more flashy.

Having discovered sports bars the same year that Emmitt made his NFL debut, and having Direct Ticket later, I was able to watch nearly every game of Emmitt Smith's career, up until he went to the Cardinals. Other people had better seasons or bigger games, but the consistency with which Emmitt was able to run the ball successfully and get into the end zone is what makes him the best ever. He single handedly won the Cowboys the division title in 1993 running for 160 something yards with a separated shoulder in the regular season finale to lead his team to victory in overtime on the way to their second straight SuperBowl win. In that SuperBowl, with the game tied, in the third quarter, he carried the ball on eight straight plays on a drive and was only stopped when he crossed the goal line, and the Cowboys won comfortably. Those are just a couple of memories from many great games in a Hall of Fame career.

I think Emmitt sometimes doesn't get the credit he deserves because he played on a star-studded team, but hopefully, if he does indeed announce his retirement today, it can be used as a time when everyone can give him the credit for being one of the greatest players in NFL history as well as one of the good guys in sports. I look forward to seeing him inducted into the Hall of Fame in about five years.

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