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Dallas Cowboys history: Emmitt Smith has officially been NFL’s all-time leading rusher for 21 years

Emmitt Smith has been the NFL’s all-time rushing king for over two decades now.

Banner for Emmitt Smith #22 Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Friday is a pretty historic day in Dallas Cowboys franchise history. I am not referencing the Monday Night Football game nine years ago today when a Colt McCoy-led Washington team beat the Dallas Cowboys, while Tony Romo was hurt in the process to add to the frustration, which is a memory we would all like to forget.

On the opposite side of that spectrum is one of the most incredible days that anyone who was fortunate to see it has ever witnessed with regards to this team.

October 27th, 2002: “Move over Sweetness, make a place for Emmitt!”

It was 21 years ago today that Emmitt Smith surpassed the legendary Walter Payton to become the NFL’s all-time rushing leader. How has it been that long?!

While this particular memory is a positive one for Cowboys fans, the time in franchise history that it happened is far from it. Dallas entered their game against the Seattle Seahawks with a 3-4 record and actually wound up losing to fall to 3-5. They would win only two more games across the rest of the season, but just one season later Bill Parcells took over the team (not to mention draft Terence Newman, Jason Witten, Bradie James and sign Tony Romo as an undrafted free agent).

But this moment was about Emmitt Smith climbing the top of the NFL’s rushing mountain, a feat that nobody has really come close to matching in the 21 years since. Smith surpassed Walter Payton, and when you consider that Payton “only” held the record for 18 years and that the NFL has continued to evolve into a passing league, Smith’s record appears to be one of the least likely to ever fall across the record books.

Congratulations to Emmitt Smith on the wonderful memory. Now the time has come to share some of ours.

If you were around back then (no disrespect to our younger fans) where were you when Smith broke the record? How did you watch? Who were you with? We’d love to hear it all.

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