Born on May 15, 1969, in Pensacola, Florida Emmitt Smith wished to be one of the Dallas Cowboys from a young age but the enthusiastic individual had to face many struggles before he could pursue a career in professional football. Belonging to a financially weak family, Smith had to juggle between different jobs at a young age in order to support the house.
Despite of his personal troubles, Smith excelled as an athlete in school and went to play football at the University of Florida. As a part of the Florida Gators’ team, Smith quickly became a valuable asset, rushing more than 100 yards in his first game. While at the university, Smith set and broke his own record by rushing 14 touchdowns.
However, Smith dropped out of the University of Florida in 1990 in order to join his dream team, NFL’s Dallas Cowboys but later came back to earn a bachelor’s degree in public recreation. Excelling as a running back, Smith became an essential part of the team’s offense and stayed on board with the Cowboys for the next 12 seasons. Included in his victories during this time period is the team’s Super Bowl Championship victories in 1993, 1994 and 1996.
1995 proved to be his most fruitful year with a record of 1773 rushing yards and 62 receptions. It was also the year that Smith played the most number of games in a season and scored 25 touchdowns.
While playing for the Dallas Cowboys, Smith also earned the title of Rookie of the Year and eight Pro Bowl nods. At the Super Bowl XXVIII, he was specially recognized for his contributions and was awarded the Most Valuable Player in 1994. The previous year, he had been named NFL’s Most Valuable Year.
Smith also became the first player to rush for more than 1,000 yards in 11 seasons straight while also playing in several Pro Bowl games. In 2002, he became the best rusher in NFL history by beating Walter Payton’s rushing record. Emmitt Smith ended his NFL career in 2002 with record-setting 18,335 yards, 164 touchdowns, and 4409 carries.
Hard luck awaited Smith at the end of his 226-game career and he ended up playing the last two seasons of 2003 and 2004 with the Arizona Cardinals. In his 14 seasons, the football player rushed for more than 18,000 yards and scored 164 rushing touchdowns. Smith was also named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s.
Deviating from the role of an athlete, Smith became a television personality. He starred as a contestant on the television show, Dancing with the Stars, in 2006 and proved to be its winner. The same year, Smith served as one of the judges of the Miss Universe pageant. In its fifteenth season in 2012, the former winner was called back for a season of Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars.
However, Emmitt Smith has always remained connected to football. In 2007, the former player joined ESPN as a studio expert for the NFL pre-game reporting. He has also been inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame and was honored into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.