Emmitt Smith’s Hall of Fame Speech: No Mention of University of Florida
Emmitt Smith’s induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame was a joyous moment for Dallas Cowboys fans nationwide. Smith is obviously one of the best running backs of all-time and just as great of a man.
Although Smith wasn’t exactly Howard Cosell during his time as a football analyst for ESPN, his induction speech was quite good. He spoke from the heart and was very grateful to those teammates, coaches, and family members he mentioned.
Curiously though, Smith failed to mention his alma mater, the University of Florida. UF students and alumni are apparently a bit shocked about the snub. Smith has had some issues with Florida in the past (even skipping UF’s 2006 Ring of Honor ceremony).
To be specific, Smith’s qualms appear to actually be with just one man, former coach Steve Spurrier. We talked briefly about their rocky relationship in our piece on Smith’s chances of breaking college football’s all-time rushing record. Spurrier took over as the head coach of Florida in 1990 (technically the end of 1989)–Emmitt Smith’s would-be senior season. Smith left for the pros, however, due to a combination of Spurrier’s pass-happy offensive attack and a lack of effort on Spurrier’s part to make sure Emmitt stayed in school.
Smith has apparently not yet forgiven Spurrier, going as far as to snub the entire University of Florida by not mentioning it in his speech.
In the end, though, we should thank Steve Spurrier. Had he gone the extra mile to convince Smith to stay at Florida for an extra season, Emmitt probably would have never been a Cowboy. That probably would mean no rushing record and, who knows, perhaps even no Hall of Fame induction.
But Emmitt is a Hall of Famer now. As such, he deserves the right to thank, or “snub,” anyone he likes. While Smith continues to hold a grudge against coach Spurrier, we can all secretly praise the ‘ol ball coach for indirectly allowing No. 22 to become one of the greatest Dallas Cowboys players of all-time.
**UPDATE: Emmitt just apologized to UF live at halftime of the Hall of Fame game. He also did the same on his Twitter page, saying “I sincerely sincerely apologize for not mentioning u last night in my hof speech Gator Nation. . .I jus got caught up in everything plz charge it to my mind not my heart!!”