Emmitt Smith: The Cowboys’ Eternal Ground Commander

Greg Mitchell December 8, 2023 Comments Off on Emmitt Smith: The Cowboys’ Eternal Ground Commander

In the illustrious history of the Dallas Cowboys, one name stands as the epitome of running back greatness – Emmitt Smith. A true legend of the game, Smith left an indelible mark on America’s Team during his storied career. This is precisely why he is the only running back to earn two spots on this list of best running backs for each of the 32-teams by being the best to play the position for two separate NFL franchises. Join us as we journey through the milestones and moments that define Emmitt Smith’s unparalleled legacy with the Dallas Cowboys, an era that shaped the franchise and cemented his status as the best running back in Cowboys history.

The Triplets Era

Emmitt Smith entered the NFL in 1990, becoming an integral part of the famed “Triplets” alongside quarterback Troy Aikman and wide receiver Michael Irvin. This trio formed the core of the Cowboys’ offense, leading the team to three Super Bowl victories in the 1990s. Smith’s contribution to this dynasty was nothing short of extraordinary.


In the 1993 season, Emmitt Smith’s excellence reached its zenith. He not only secured the NFL MVP award but also earned Super Bowl XXVIII MVP honors after leading the Cowboys to victory against the Buffalo Bills. Smith’s ability to shine on the grandest stages showcased his resilience and unmatched skill.

All-Time Leading Rusher

Emmitt Smith’s impact on the ground was historic, culminating in him becoming the NFL’s all-time leading rusher. During his time with the Cowboys, Smith amassed 17,162 rushing yards, breaking Walter Payton’s previous record. His relentless running style, vision, and durability were the cornerstones of the Cowboys’ offensive dominance.

A Remarkable 1995 Season

The 1995 season stands out as one of Emmitt Smith’s most remarkable campaigns. Despite missing the first two games due to a contract dispute, Smith returned with a vengeance, leading the league in rushing yards with 1,773. His ability to overcome adversity and carry the Cowboys to a Super Bowl victory exemplified his indomitable spirit.

The “Great Wall” of Dallas

Emmitt Smith’s success wasn’t solely a product of individual brilliance; he benefited from running behind one of the greatest offensive lines in NFL history, aptly dubbed the “Great Wall” of Dallas. This formidable unit created running lanes for Smith and provided the foundation for his record-breaking achievements.

Emotional Return to Dallas

In 2002, after a brief stint with the Arizona Cardinals, Emmitt Smith returned to Dallas for a ceremonial one-day contract to retire as a Cowboy. This emotional gesture marked the formal end of an era and showcased the enduring connection between Smith and the Cowboys organization.

Legacy Beyond Numbers

Emmitt Smith’s impact on the Dallas Cowboys transcends statistics. His leadership, work ethic, and ability to perform in clutch moments defined an era of Cowboys football. Smith’s legacy is not just about records; it’s about the indomitable spirit that he brought to the field and the enduring memories he created for Cowboys fans worldwide.

As we reflect on the unparalleled legacy of Emmitt Smith with the Dallas Cowboys, it’s evident that his time in the silver and blue was marked by historic achievements and moments that transcend football. From Super Bowls to rushing records, Smith’s impact is woven into the very fabric of Cowboys history. For die-hard fans and those new to the sport, the story of Emmitt Smith is a journey into the heart and soul of Cowboys football—a journey filled with triumphs, records, and the enduring legacy of a running back who not only defined an era but left an indelible mark on the star.