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“22 in 22″ Day Nine, Emmitt Smith: “The rivalry (with the 49ers) wasn’t as great as you make it.”

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“22 in 22″ Day Nine, Emmitt Smith: “The rivalry (with the 49ers) wasn’t as great as you make it.”

Note: This is the ninth part of a 22-part series.  Click to view Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, or Day 8.

Some might call it the single most defining moment in a player’s career.  Others might say it’s what it takes to be the best.

But, if you had to pinpoint the single most important quality it takes for you to reach sports highest pinnacle of success–where your dreams could one day become immortalized into the Pro Football Hall of Fame–what would you say it is?

What truly separates the 260+ players on this team from the 20,169 players on all other teams since pro football’s inception in 1892?  Surprisingly, it is not what you might guess.  It’s not ambition, luck, or talent.  The characteristic that defines the crème of the crop and what our own Emmitt Smith is made of is. . .commitment.

The commitment to become an all-time champion. . .

The commitment to defy all odds and win multiple Super Bowls. . .

The commitment to do whatever it takes to surpass the “unbreakable mark” and become the NFL’s all-time rushing leader.

To commemorate Emmitt’s achievement, Dallas Cowboys Times presents “22 in 22″: a tribute to perhaps the single greatest running back in NFL history.

In our “22 in 22″ Series, you will find various pictures, videos, and sound clips from Emmitt that we gathered while covering his Hall of Fame induction.

Per NFL rules, we can only post the video and audio clips for a 24 hour period, so be sure to check back each day as we commemorate the career of Emmitt Smith.

Don’t want to miss a day?  Sign up for our e-mail updates.

Special thanks to Lorei Reinhard and Eddie Canales, both of whom worked with our own Dave Kraft (bio coming shortly) in Canton to garner some awesome and unique footage of Emmitt which you will see over the next 21 days, as well as Nick Reinhard and Chris Canales (co-founder of gridironheroes.org) for their video editing assistance.

Before Emmitt even arrived in Canton, Ohio for the enshrinement ceremony, we participated in a conference call with the Hall of Famer.

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At Emmitt’s Hall of Fame media session, we were able to hear Smith talk about the Cowboys’ biggest rivalries during his playing days.  Said Emmitt, “The rivalry (with the 49ers) wasn’t as great as you guys make it out to be.  I think the bigger rivalries were the Washington Redskins, New York Giants, and Philadelphia Eagles within our division.”

Watch below to hear what else Emmitt had to say.

VIDEO REMOVED PER NFL RULES

Note: Per NFL rules, this video will only be available for 24 hours.  Visit NFL.com for more info.

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“Time Warp 22″. . .Remember when?

December 25, 1995

Keeping with the theme of rivalries, on Christmas night, 1995, Emmitt Smith broke the all-time record for rushing touchdowns in a season.  He scored his 25th against the Arizona Cardinals, a team that was a division rival at the time.

Emmitt Smith: In Their Own Words, Part VI

Finally, check out this Emmitt Smith highlight video.  Pardon the horrible screeching noises in the background which some people refer to as music.

I’ve posted a small scouting report below.

Emmitt Smith is one of the greatest running backs in NFL history, yet I can envision that, 50 years down the line, people will not consider him as such.  He rarely cracks people’s lists of the top three running backs of all-time (or even the top five, for that matter).  I don’t even know of a person who considers the NFL’s all-time leading rusher to be the league’s best ever running back.

The problem (for others, not for Emmitt) is that Smith wasn’t flashy.  He wasn’t big.  He wasn’t tremendously fast.  He wasn’t even very charismatic off of the field.

Instead, Emmitt possessed the “boring” qualities of running backs (but ones that are just as vital as those above, if not more so): great vision, incredible balance, and remarkable short area quickness.  Of course, there’s also the off-field characteristics, such as determination, but I want to focus on why Emmitt’s on-field play was truly under-appreciated.

Fast forward to the nine second mark in the above video.  See the move Emmitt made?  You may have actually missed it.  That quick juke isn’t the flashy, in-your-face Barry Sanders-esque sort of move, but it was probably even more effective.  That’s a move that can’t be taught.  It was instinctual.

Now forward to 35 seconds.  That play, more than any other I can remember, perfectly exemplifies Smith’s incredible sense of balance.  To this day, I have not seen a running back that could have stayed on his feet after absorbing that hit.  Except Emmitt.

Now move to 2:58 into the video.  I don’t have much to say about that juke, other than it is one of the best I have ever witnessed.

Finally, forward to 3:27 for a series of astounding plays.  Emmitt had one of the most devastatingly effective stiff arms I’ve seen.  It wasn’t a reckless punch, but rather a controlled, precise jab straight to his target.

Two stiff arms are followed by a play, at the 3:42 mark, where Emmitt again displayed his out-of-this-world balance.  If it doesn’t appear that difficult, that’s because he was that good.  The best make it look easy.  Emmitt made it appear as child’s play.

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4 Responses to “22 in 22″ Day Nine, Emmitt Smith: “The rivalry (with the 49ers) wasn’t as great as you make it.”

  1. Pingback: “22 in 22″ Day 10, Emmitt Smith: “There's so many people to thank." | Dallas Cowboys Times

  2. Pingback: “22 in 22″ Day 11, Emmitt Smith: “I don’t know what would have happened had I stayed at Florida.” - NFL Super Bowl Live Online

  3. Pingback: Introducing "22 in 22": A Tribute to Emmitt Smith | Dallas Cowboys Times

  4. Kyler says:

    Dam it. Is a game against tampa bay tho….

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