On October 27, 2002, the rushing record of Walter Payton had been passed by Emmitt Smith. It was on this day that the Dallas Cowboys hosted the Seattle Seahawks with Emmitt needing 93 rushing yards to pass Payton's record of 16,726.
Going into the contest, Emmitt hadn't rushed for 93 yards all season long in a single game. Much of that had to do with the Cowboys having to constantly switch offensive lineman around to benefit the offense. Also, quarterback Chad Hutchinson was starting his first game under center for the Cowboys. The good news was that the Seahawks had the worst rush defense in the league going into this game, and had allowed Marshall Faulk of the Rams to rush for 173 yards the week before. Seattle's defensive lineman Chad Eaton was determined for his team not to allow Smith to get the rushing record.
The Seahawks jumped out to the lead in the second quarter when Shaun Alexander scored on a 2-yard run. Seattle led 7-0 at halftime.
The Cowboys came back to tie the game on a 39-yard pass from Hutchinson to Joey Galloway. Seattle answered in the last quarter when Alexander had a 5-yard touchdown run as the Seahawks led 14-7. Dallas would need a drive to tie the game, and Emmitt was closing in on Payton's record.
During that drive, the Cowboys called the "15 Lead" play as Emmitt was looking for the record run. Emmitt ran for 11 yards on that play to pass Payton as the all-time leader in rushing yards. The game was stopped for an on-field celebration as he jumped into the arms of offensive linemen. Former teammate Darryl "Moose" Johnston was an analyst at the game, and Emmitt thanked him later in a press conference along with other players, coaches, and personnel. Chad Eaton, who said Emmitt wasn't going to break the record that day, also congratulated him.
The record was passed almost three years to the day that Walter Payton died of a rare liver disease on November 1, 1999.
"I feel empty. There's no other way to describe it. This is a great loss. Walter Payton was an inspiration to me, by the way he carried himself," said Smith after Payton's death.
When play resumed, Emmitt scored on a 1-yard touchdown, his 150th of his career at the time, to tie the game 14-14 with under six minutes to play.
Seattle marched down the field on their next possession, and Rian Kindell kicked a 20-yard field goal to put the Seahawks in the lead for good. Seattle won the game 17-14.
But this day belonged to Emmitt passing Payton in front of the home crowd in Dallas. The Cowboys were 3-5 at that point, and would only win two more games the rest of the year to finish 5-11. Emmitt finished the year with 975 rushing yards which marked the first time since his rookie year that he didn't have at least 1,000 in a season. Dallas released him after the season, and he finished his playing career in Arizona before retiring after the 2004 season. Emmitt Smith has 18,355 career rushing yards, and is also the all-time leader with 164 rushing touchdowns.
These days, Emmitt is part of the ESPN's NFL Pregame show, and is also part of the Monday Night Countdown crew.
Photo courtesy of profootballhof.com which shows Emmitt Smith's record-breaking run.
Also, there was another great moment in sports history on this day on October 27, 2004. This was the day that the Boston Red Sox had "Reversed the Curse" to win the clinching game over the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2004 World Series. For today(and because of it being adequately described), I'm going to direct you to the post about the Red Sox' 2004 season that ended in World Series triumph. Checkout tcp's(The Couch Potato) post:
Greatest Moment in Red Sox history
Thanks for viewing, and I hope you enjoyed today's FSD History Flashback!
10/27/2008 10:28:00 AM David Funk