Story of the Week
All sports fans love to debate with one another as to who was best at whatever sport he played. I do it constantly with my friends, and it’s fun. For example, who is the greatest running back of all time. I have held true to my belief for decades that Jim Brown is the only answer to that question. I still maintain Brown to be the correct answer, despite the fact that Emmitt Smith just broke Walter Payton’s NFL career rushing record on October 27.
But no matter who your choice is, or mine, the fact remains that Smith holds the record now. Since joining the Cowboys in 1990, Emmitt has averaged 4.3 YPC in his 193 games played in rolling up the record-to-date of 16,743 yards rushing, and 150 rushing touchdowns. And during those 193 games through October 27, Smith caught 480 passes for 3003 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Emmitt Smith, a Pensacola, Florida native, went to the University of Florida where he, as you would expect, excelled in football. Not the biggest back at 5’9" and 212 pounds, he was and still is very strong, with shifty moves, great balance, and fast acceleration into the line.
The owner of three Super Bowl rings, this great running back scored 25 touchdowns in 1995, a fantasy footballer’s fantasy, and scored 100 touchdowns in just six seasons, the fastest anyone in league history has reached that mark. He shares a record with Jim Brown as being the only NFL players with six straight 10-touchdown seasons to start their careers.
After 33-year-old Emmitt Smith made history, he took a victory lap around Texas Stadium, and slapped hands with fans before making his way to a star-shaped stage in the middle of the field. Emmitt gave an eloquent speech as he thanked teammates, former and current, and fans alike; it was impossible for him to hold back the tears.
Walter Payton, the man whose record Smith broke, once said that he wanted to set the record high so that the next person will not break that record easily. Emmitt alluded to "Sweetness".
"Today is a special day for me, my family, and the Payton family. Without Payton doing what he did in the NFL, and representing all he represented, he wouldn’t have given a young man like myself a dream, something to shoot after and a person to look up to and try to emulate in every way possible."
Payton’s widow, Connie, said he would have been happy to see #22 take the title. Payton passed away in 1999 at age 45.
My congratulations to Emmitt Smith, a tremendous running back and a truly class guy.
Last Week’s Trivia
Since the beginning of NFL expansion in 1960, two teams made it to the playoffs in just their second year of existence. Who were they? They were both 1995 expansion teams. The Panthers and the Jaguars made it to the playoffs in 1996.
Trivia Question of the Week
What pitcher holds the World Series record for most innings pitched in one game? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.