It goes without saying that Emmitt Smith was one of the best players to ever play football in the National Football League. He retired as the all time leading rusher in league history, scored more rushing touchdowns than any other running back ever, and had three Super Bowl rings. Let’s take a look at how it all began.
It was the first week of the 1990 NFL season and the first game in Emmitt Smith’s amazing career. The Cowboys were coming off of one of the worst seasons in franchise history in 1989 and were hosting the San Diego Chargers in Texas Stadium. A lot of attention was on the team this season as they had some great young talent and a brash head coach.
The game opened up with Dallas scoring first on a 28 yard first quarter pass from Troy Aikman to Dennis McKinnon. San Diego would soon tie it up on a 14 yard pass from quarterback Mark Vlasic to receiver Craig McEwen. In the second quarter, a Marion Butts one yard touchdown run would help the Chargers take a 14-7 lead into halftime.
There would be no scoring in the third quarter and the fourth quarter would start with that same 14-7 Chargers advantage. Dallas struck first with a Ken Willis 31 yard field goal that pulled them within four points. They then scored late in the fourth on a one yard quarterback sneak by Aikman. That would be all the scoring it would take as the Cowboys would hold on for a 17-14 victory over the visiting Chargers that day.
How did future Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith do on that day, the first game of what would become a legendary career?
He carried the ball two times for a total of two yards.
The leading rusher for Dallas that day was Tommie Agee who had 13 carries for 59 yards. Other teammates who had accumulated more rushing yards that day than Emmitt Smith included Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Timmy Smith, and Troy Aikman.
Emmitt Smith would go on to have a great career and his first game ever just goes to show that sometimes even star players have to start out somewhere.