Emmitt Smith: The Best? Or Simply the Most?
The question is, will he enter Canton as the NFL's all-time best running back or simply the running back with the most yards?
Hall of Famer Barry Sanders rushed for 15,269 in his 10-year career. Smith, of course, is the all-time leader with 18,355 yards over 15 years. He also rushed for a NFL-record 164 touchdowns.
Most experts - or just guys who can do some exponential math - believe Sanders would've been the leader had he not abruptly walked away from the game in 1998. Barry's endorsement of Emmitt isn't exactly ringing, is it?
"He's been sort of heading on his way here for a long time," Sanders told reporters this week in Miami. "We've all known it. It's just appropriate to see him go in."
Who's better, Sanders or Smith? In fact, does Emmitt even rank among my NFL all-time top 10 runners.
Let's jump shall we? ...
10. Gale Sayers - Injuries short-circuited his greatness.
9. Tony Dorsett - Unprecedented 0-60 acceleration.
8. Eric Dickerson - Up right and effortless.
7. Marcus Allen - Energy with elegance.
6. LaDainian Tomlinson - Runner/receiver extraordinaire
5. Emmitt Smith - Consistency via durability.
4. O.J. Simpson - Raw athleticism.
3. Walter Payton - Sweetness.
2. Barry Sanders - Most entertaining, hands down.
1. Jim Brown - Strength and speed decades ahead of his time.