T Nation

Less Than 100 To Go

Look, guys…you don’t have to like the Cowboys, just sports, to know that history is about to be made. Emmitt Smith is just 93 yards away from breaking Walter Payton’s All Time NFL Rushing Record…and this should be a record that stands for a LONG time. What makes me say that?


1)The AVERAGE longevity of an NFL running back today is 4 years!..amazing…


2)The defenses are becoming much more complex and the defensive players are progressively becoming stronger and faster. (Which I think at least contributes to the low “life span” of the average NFL running back).


3)I think that the odds that someone can stay healthy in the NFL today for 14 years is about slim or none!


So…if all goes well, Emmitt should break the record in the next 2 to 3 games (or maybe even the next one; who knows!)


Emmitt is just an all-round nice guy and a class act…and how often do you see THAT in professional sports today?


I wish him all the best, and hope to be watching when he breaks the record!

Emmitt is great but Barry would have crushed the record. Barry was the best. But here’s to Emmitt, one of the all-time greats.

Dallas fan fa-life here. Though they’ve been pretty sad since Aikmen’s leave. I agree Mufasa, Emmitt is a rare talent. If anything, for his durability! He will always get crap for his “awesome line,” but if you’ve been watching this guy since his Florida days, he’s awesome. Period. My brother had a friend who played H.S. football with him and he said Emmitt was an unbelievable runner then too. Like 300 yrds a game on the ground. Go Emmitt!

I do miss Barry Sanders. Ballet in motion - no doubt. Not to dismiss Emmitt’s astounding acheivement. But what about good, “old”, reliable Jerry Rice?

Another life long Cowboy fan here, and it will be great to see him break the record. As far as Barry Sander goes, If he had stuck with his team, he could have helped them achieve success, but he bailed. Not the sign of a champion in my book. Emmit has been with the Cowboys through good and bad years, and it is about to reward him with a record that will stand for a long time.

I can’t wait for it either. It’s not because I’m some big Cowboy’s fan or anything, but I still remember those two Fleer Emmit Smith Rookie cards I have back in the old collection (if I can find it). Long live Emmit and childhood card collections.

I think the only RB playing today that stands a chance at eventually catching that record(With the exception of Emmitt) would be Edgerin James if he stays healthy. Or possibly Marshall, but that would mean he’d have to get alot more carries.

Can we hear a Go Redskins from the forum? Heh…

I believe Barry stuck with his team far longer than he ever should have. Ten years with the NFL’s best pure runner (1989-1998) and the Lions couldn’t build a thing. The only year they were worth mentioning required Barry going over 2,000 yards. Bailed? I think not. The Lions organization was more than willing to run him into the ground without attempting to sign any real supporting players to build a franchise with. Regarding Emmit, though, I think no-one can deny he’s one of the most down-to-earth guys in the league.

As a life long Cowboys fan it is painful to watch Emmitt struggling like he is this year. At this time Troy Hambrick looks much better than Emmitt. It’s hard wanting the best for Emmitt, yet wanting to see the Cowboys establish some kind of running game. I can’t see anyone getting close to the record. Few people could take that kind of abuse for so many years. It’s been fun to watch him, but I’d like for him to break the record and then ride the pine for a while.

I am originally from the Detroit area and grew up on Barry so I may be biased. I will always maintain that Barry was always better than Emmitt; Barry never played behind the line or with a QB like Smith did (yes, anyone who knows football knows how much influence a good passing attack can have on the run game). Emmitt also had Jimmy Johnson (and Norv Turner at OC) when Barry had…Fontes (and Mouse Davis at OC)! LOL Also, Barry was set to break the record the year he retired; if Barry would have stayed a few more years combined with how Emmitt is looking now, there is no way Emmitt would have caught Barry (yeah, I know, a lot of woulda-coulda-shouldas, so I digress).

That being said, Barry did not love the game. To him it was a job: punch-in, punch-out. He did what he needed to do to be ready and get his job done, but he was not passionate about the game. Alot of that may have had to do with the fact that the Lions have been run so poorly over the years, and to keep his sanity, Barry had to look at it that way. Who knows, but he is a very laid back kind of guy, so I just don’t think it was in his personality.

At an rate, I am glad to see a guy like Emmitt who IS passionate about the game take the title. Emmitt seems like a good guy and never got caught up in the whole Dallas thing (like Irvin and Newton did). It is kind of ironic that, at his current pace, Emmitt would break the record in Detroit. Maybe I will try and be there…with my #20 Honolulu Blue jersey on!

As a hardcore Bears fan I obviously have to throw in my two cents. I have a great amount of respect for Emmit Smith, and Walter Payton said when he was alive that if anybody was going to break his record he would like it to be Emmit Smith. However, no one will EVER get the number of yards that Walter Payton did in as little time he did. I honestly don’t even think Barry could have done it (who is also very high on my respect list). Walter Payton quit right in the middle of his prime because he wanted to go out with a bang, before anybody could even have a chance to say to him “You’re done.” The only person who would have ever given Payton a real run for his money is Jim Brown, whose career was cut short by injury. He still holds, and most likely always will, the record for average yards per rush (I can’t remember the exact number, but it’s ridiculously high). If Payton and Brown had played as long as some of these guys are today (Emmit Smith included), their records would be untouchable for at least several more years. But hey, records are made to be broken right? Congrats to Smith on a wonderful achievement.

To me, Jim Brown was the best RB ever, followed by Eric Dickerson, then Walter Payton. Even though Emmitt’s about to break the record, I think he certainly benefitted most of his career from perhaps the most devastating offensive line ever put together. Jimmy Johnson was committed to pounding the ball in his quest for those Super Bowl titles. I think the run is becoming a lost art in football, and teams pass now more than ever so it’ll be very difficult for another RB to ever rack up that kind of yardage. BTW, congrats to Emmitt on the record, his amazing longevity, and his total dedication to the Dallas Cowboys. Rare to find that combo in a player these days.

I too would like to congratulate Emmitt. He’s a class act, unlike many of his former teammates. Jim Brown, Barry Sanders, O.J. are all great runners. Sweetness is the greatest. He could run, catch, throw, and he not only could block, He WOULD block (unlike any of the previously mentioned backs.

Walter Payton played just as long as Emmitt so far. He played 13 seasons, and set the record. Emmitt is now in his 13th season, and about to break the record. No doubt Emmitt benefitted from a great O-line, but you can’t take anything from him and say that Payton did it in much less time.

Gosh, this thread brings up another question worth asking. With all the talk about past RB greats like Brown, Payton, Dickerson, et al. Anyways, as a kid in the 70’s, I remember pro football - alot grittier than it is now for sure (remember how the Raiders were back then, folks?). The 80’s provided a update on safety equipment, but there were still memorable moments - and yes, the running game. The running game was alive and great! SOOO, while I love football, I really love the football I watched as a kid in the 70’s and then the 80’s. Currently, the game doesn’t provoke that much excitement anymore. Maybe it’s due to getting older, I don’t know.

Which do you guys remember best? Or prefer the game of the 70's, 80's, 90's to current?

Patricia, I’m with you all the way on the 70’s.
I’m a little too young to remember much of the 60’s (only from N.F.L. films). I found the game much more enjoyable before they sissified the rulebook to protect the Quarterback. I always loved the quote from Jack Lambert,“If you want to protect the Quarterback put’em in a frilly white dress. Then I won’t hit’em.” Players didn’t help each other get up, or pat each other on the fanny. They didn’t worry about their touchdown dance, or looking pretty for the T.V. cameras. Most teams played outside on real grass,in the mud and the snow. Playing the game as it was meant to be played.
Damn, I love old time football

first off, Doogie I got to disagree.Emmitt is averaging 4 yards per carry, that’s not too shabby.Granted he is no longer a feature back, but he still is a very solid and servicible back in a rotation.Next it took Payton 13 years to do what Jim Brown accomplished in 8 years or maybe 9 {not sure which} and Payton, while still good was certainly not in his prime when he retired.Jim Brown if I remember correctly didn’t retire due to injury, but because he was tired of playing and wanted to just make movies.My two cents, Eric Dickerson was the best most pure runner, he was so smooth it almost looked like he was skating through the line on roller blades.

Well…Emmitt broke the record today! (Sunday, Oct. 27, 2002…)


If he just could have taken it for a touchdown!


Congratulations to Emmitt, his loved ones and his fans!

Say you have 1 big game and you can take any RB in NFL history in their absolute prime-pick your first ten backs. Not based on longevity, just the best of the best at the top of their game. 1)Gale Sayers 2)Bo Jackson 3)Jim Brown 4)Earl Campbell 5)OJ Simpson 6)Eric Dickerson 7)Barry Sanders 8)Marshall Faulk 9)Walter Payton 10)Emmitt Smith - honorable mention- Tony Dorsett, Terrell Davis, John Riggins and Marcus Allen. Who did I miss?

If you’re going by one game you missed Corey Dillon.