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Sports Then and Now

Hall-of-Fame Induction is Pinnacle of Legendary Career for Cowboys’ Emmitt Smith 8

Posted on August 05, 2010 by Chris Kent

On April 22, 1990 – after the Dallas Cowboys selected him with their first-round pick in the National Football League Draft – Emmitt James Smith III arrived in Dallas for the first time ever as a Cowboy wearing a brown and yellow jump suit with polka dots. Smith, the 17th pick overall, wore the same thing at his introductory press conference. Soon, the legendary running back will be wearing the famous gold jacket.

Can you say extreme makeover? Absolutely. Smith’s attire has not been to shabby since that polka-dotted jump suit. Outfits such as the uniform of America’s Team, striped suit coats at press conferences, and his silky smooth green sleeveless shirt he wore on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars have dotted his wardrobe over the last 20 years. However, the gold jacket is in a class by itself.

In coming full circle, Smith has earned much respect for his on and off-the-field achievements. The National Football League’s all-time leading rusher with 18,355 yards, Smith is on the doorstep of football immortality with only the formal and official festivities left to secure his place in history.

Smith displays his new jersey while decked out in his polka dotted jump suit at his first press conference in Dallas in 1990.

Smith is one of seven players, the maximum allowed in one year, that will be inducted into The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio on Saturday Aug. 7 in a ceremony starting at 7 pm EST. Smith joins Jerry Rice, John Randle, Rickey Jackson, Russ Grimm, Dick Lebeau, and Floyd Little in making up the Class of 2010. Smith and Rice are both first-ballot inductees while Lebeau and Little were elected as senior committee nominees.

Smith’s journey to football’s ultimate honor started with some bold aspirations. Heading into his rookie year in Dallas, Smith made a list of goals he wanted to achieve during his pro career. Among things like leading the team in rushing and being a pro-bowl player, Smith also stated that he desired to become the NFL’s all-time leading rusher.

Considering he stated this just two weeks after being drafted, before he had signed a contract, before he had ever been in an NFL training camp, and before he had ever touched the ball as a pro, he had his critics. Yet Smith had heard criticism before. NFL head coaches, scouts, personnel directors, and pro football media people did not have him rated as the best running back available heading into the draft. They claimed he lacked speed, was too short, too small, and not strong enough for the pro game. Read the rest of this entry →

As Usual, Football Hall of Fame Voters Muck Things Up 8

Posted on February 06, 2010 by Dean Hybl
As usual, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will not be opening its doors to the most deserving candidates come August.

As usual, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will not be opening its doors to the most deserving candidates come August.

Given their past track record, I guess it should come as no surprise that the voters for the Pro Football Hall of Fame made some bad decisions during their annual selection meeting on Saturday. They didn’t mess up the selection of two deserving first ballot candidates in Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith, but in my opinion the rest of their choices were seriously lacking.

In addition to Rice and Smith, the other members of the 2010 Hall of Fame Class will be Rickey Jackson, Russ Grimm, Floyd Little, Dick LeBeau and John Randle.

Of those other five, in my opinion only Randle was the best player at his position who is not already in the Hall of Fame. Little is among the ten best running backs previously excluded from the HOF, but there are a plethora of more deserving players at the respective positions than Grimm, LeBeau and Jackson.

As has become common place, the Hall of Fame voters overlooked some clearly deserving candidates while selecting others that most people would consider borderline. Read the rest of this entry →

Pro Football Hall of Fame 2010: Emmitt, Jerry and Who Else? 3

Posted on February 05, 2010 by Dean Hybl
Jerry Rice #80

Jerry Rice could be the greatest player of all-time and should get voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.

On Saturday afternoon all-time rushing leader Emmitt Smith and all-time receiving leader Jerry Rice should officially be able to add the words “Hall of Famer” to their resume. The question is which of the other 15 finalists will be joining them on the platform in Canton.

In addition to Smith and Rice, the other player selected as a finalist in his first year of eligibility is wide receiver Tim Brown.

Last summer I ran an in-depth series looking at each position and breaking down the top 10 players at each position who are not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Below is a rundown of all finalists and my opinion of their worthiness and likeliness to be among the Class of 2010. At the end is my prediction for who I think should be selected in 2010 as well as who I expect the Hall of Fame voters to honor.

Breaking Down the 2010 Nominees (likelihood is gauged only for 2010):

Tim Brown – Wide Receiver/Kick Returner – 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Overall Worthiness: B+     Likelihood for 2010: 15%

Tim Brown was an exciting receiver for the Oakland Raiders and ranks fourth all-time in receptions (1,094) and receiving yards (14,934). My biggest struggle with Brown is that while he was always very good, he was never considered the best player in the league. His statistics are impressive, but I struggle with believing he was better than Cliff Branch, Drew Pearson and Harold Carmichael, all of whom were great receivers in an era before receiving stats became inflated. I have no doubt that Brown will eventually get into the Hall of Fame, but given that better receivers (Art Monk, James Lofton, Don Maynard, Charlie Joiner)  waited for years before getting the call, I find it difficult to believe Brown will be selected  in his first year of eligibility. Read the rest of this entry →

Smith, Rice Top List of Football Hall of Fame Finalists 8

Posted on January 09, 2010 by Dean Hybl
Emmitt Smith carries

Emmitt Smith should earn induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

Unless the members of the Football Hall of Fame selection committee have a collective meltdown (which isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility given some of their past decisions), the 2010 class for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame will have the distinction of including the top statistical running back and wide receiver in league history.

Many consider former San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks receiver Jerry Rice to be the best football player in NFL history while former Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals back Emmitt Smith is certainly on the short list of all-time great running backs.

They highlight the list of 17 finalists for the Hall of Fame announced on Friday.

Former Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Tim Brown is also a first-time nominee.

The other finalists include Cris Carter (receiver – Eagles, Vikings, Dolphins), Andre Reed (receiver (Bills, Redskins), Shannon Sharpe (tight end – Ravens, Broncos), Roger Craig (running back – 49ers, Vikings, Raiders), Dermontti Dawson (center – Steelers), Russ Grimm (offensive line – Redskins), John Randle (defensive line – Vikings, Seahawks), Cortez Kennedy (defensive line – Seahawks), Richard Dent (defensive line Bears, 49ers, Colts, Eagles), Charles Haley (linebacker/def. line – Cowboys, 49ers), Rickey Jackson (linebacker – Saints, 49ers) and Don Coryell (head coach – Cardinals, Chargers). Previously, senior nominees Floyd Little (Broncos) and Dick LeBeau (Lions) were announced.

Last summer, I spent two months analyzing the best players not in the Hall of Fame at each position. Click here to read my column on the Best Players Not in the Hall of Fame as well as the position by position breakdowns.

Because I looked only at players already eligible, Smith, Rice and Brown were not included on my list. Of the other 14, seven were included among my list of the top 25 players not in the Hall of Fame while many of the others were among the top 10 at their respective positions.

I will break down the finalists and provide my predictions for the Hall of Fame class of 2010 as we get closer to the announcement on February 6th.

Barry Sanders: Incredible and Selfless 14

Posted on September 12, 2009 by Joe Gill
Barry Sanders left the game as arguably the best running back in NFL History

Barry Sanders left the game as arguably the best running back in NFL History

Players like Brett Favre and Michael Jordan walk away then come back then walk away then come back yet again. They can not douse the competitive fire. They need the adrenaline rush. They aren’t ready for a “normal” life even though their body may be.

Not Barry Sanders. He retired at his prime and he was only 30 years old. He left the game as arguably the best running back in NFL history. He has been content with his decision and never attempted a comeback over the 11 years since his retirement.

Wow I wish he unretired and Brett Favre stayed retired. Favre should have left on a good note rather than with all dramatics over the past two years. Barry didn’t want that. It was not in his makeup.

A totally unselfish man, Barry Sanders left the game only 1457 yards short of Walter Payton’s record. He probably would have eclipsed the record in a year or two. In Barry’s absence, Emmitt Smith broke Payton’s record and finished his career with 18,355 yards.

Great accomplishment by Emmitt Smith, there is no doubt about it. However, as me and my friends argued for years, Barry Sanders did more with little. He did not have Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Jay Novacek, and an all star offensive line. He made due with the likes of Herman Moore and Scott Mitchell.

Read the rest of this entry →

Top 10 Plays In Dallas Cowboys’ History 9

Posted on July 21, 2009 by Gene Strother
Tony Dorsett had many memorable plays for the Cowboys.

Tony Dorsett had many memorable plays for the Cowboys.

In this installment of the SilverandBlueBlood Top Ten Top Ten, I turn my attention to the top ten plays in team history. In selecting the plays, I considered several factors:

  1. How memorable was it?
  2. What impact did it have on a game, a championship, or a career?
  3. Was it extraordinary?

As you might imagine, a franchise of this caliber, with nearly fifty years of history, has provided more than its share of memorable plays and water-shed moments. I have dutifully sorted through every play in team history (anyone who believes that stand on your head) to compile my list of top ten plays in Dallas Cowboys’ history.

Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Early Wynn: 300 Game Winner
      August 1, 2020 | 8:37 pm
      Early Wynn

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month pitched in four decades, was a veteran of World War II and is one of only two pitchers to finish with exactly 300 career victories.

      Hall of Famer Early Wynn began his career as a 19-year old in 1939 by pitching three games for the Washington Senators. After spending the 1940 season in the minors, he went 3-1 with a 1.58 ERA in a brief stint in the majors in 1941.

      Read more »

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