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Emmitt Smith Biography

Emmitt Smith Biography

By Loot, NFL Handicapper,

Emmitt Smith provided excellent play from the running back position for the Dallas Cowboys for 13 seasons, before wrapping up his career with the Arizona Cardinals. When it was all said and done, Smith stood along as the top-gaining running back in NFL history with 18355 rushing yards. Throw in 515 pass receptions and you’re looking at one of the more productive offensive players ever.

Smith is a 4-time rushing champion and 8-time Pro Bowler. With 164 rushing touchdowns, he is also the top scoring threat to ever emerge from the running back position. The former first-team All American from Florida was an indispensable part of the Dallas resurgence in the 90’s. By the time Smith and Company got the Cowboys machine rolling, Dallas had been on a decade-long slide from their glory days of the 70’s.

Smith was a dominant high school player in Florida. He was considered one of the top college recruits and he ended up at Florida. In his first game as the featured back, Smith broke the decades-long single game rushing record for the Gators with a 224-yard performance. There would be many more big games over the next few seasons. Steve Spurrier was brought in before Smith’s senior season and Emmitt decided to enter the NFL Draft, worried that the new coach would use him less in his pass-oriented offense.


Smith was the 17th pick of the Dallas Cowboys in the 1990 Draft. Whatever made so many teams pass on Smith would prove to be a mistake, as Smith proved to become the best player to emerge from the draft that season. Smith was never the most-dazzling player. There was a consistency and professionalism to Smith’s style. He was a hard runner to stop and his second effort often produced impressive results.

After nearly gaining 1000 yards in his rookie campaign, Smith went on a string of dominance unlike anything ever seen on the gridiron. Starting with his second season, Smith compiled 5 straight 1400-yard seasons, becoming the premier back in the league, with the possible exception of Barry Sanders. Between Sanders and Smith, they would control the rushing title for the 1990’s.

Picture of Emmitt Smith

During this time of Cowboys’s success, Smith was key--first in helping Dallas get to the postseason, then is helping them advance. Smith is the all-time leader with 1586 postseason rushing yards and 19 touchdowns. The Super Bowl 27 MVP always came up big when it counted the most.

In 1993, Smith had a contract holdout with the Cowboys, resulting in him missing the team’s first 2 games. When the defending Super Bowl champions went 0-2, it showed how much they needed Smith and how critical he was for the success of the offense. Despite the missed time, Smith got in there in the third game and it was like he didn’t miss a step, gaining 1486 yards in just 13 starts, leading Dallas to another Super Bowl. In the two-season span of 1994-1995, he scored 47 touchdowns. Catching between 50-60 passes a year during his prime, Smith was a versatile and potent threat from the backfield. Even after the Cowboys began to slip from their position as perennial Super Bowl contenders, Smith continued to be productive. From 1991 to 2001, Smith was over 1000 yards rushing every single season.

In 2002, Smith began to perceptibly slip, as he went under 1000 yards for the first time in over a decade. He went to the Arizona Cardinals. In two seasons, he added another 1200 yards to his already-record number of yards, before retiring at age 35. When looking back at great NFL running backs, sometimes Smith gets neglected. At the same time, there was no back who outdid Smith and while his style wasn’t the most captivating, like a Barry Sanders, no one was more steady or durable than the indomitable Smith.

Emmitt was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010. Smith was a key part of three Super Bowl winning teams. Some of his other records include 78 100-yard games. He is the all-time rushing king and one of only 4 players to gain over 21000 yards from scrimmage. Other than Jerry Rice, no one scored more touchdowns than the 175 that Emmitt put up during his illustrious career. With the changing times of the league, Smith’s 18355 yards is a record that figures to stand the test of time.

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