Emmitt Smith was a phenomenal football player. Born in Pensacola, Florida, on May 15, 1969, Emmitt Smith knew by the time he was six years old that he wanted to play professional football.
At his induction into the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on August 8, 2010, he began his speech with: “Thank you to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for blessing me to play the sport I so dearly love for almost three decades.”
He continued with this story. “When I was six years old, I was watching the Dallas Cowboys on television with my father and some of our relatives. I clearly remember turning to my father and saying, ‘One day I’m going to play professional football, and I’m going to play for the Dallas Cowboys.’” His father agreed that would be a good goal for him to have. This gave Emmitt tremendous support. From then on he worked with great passion and dedication to realize his dream. He didn’t even care what position he played, as long as he was out there playing!
Emmitt excelled at football in high school and in 1986 was named player of the year by both USA Today and Parade Magazine. He went on to The University of Florida on an athletic scholarship and starred with the Florida Gators. He set fifty-eight school records in the three years he was there, 1987-1989. Some of these records remain unbroken to this day. He also earned All-American honors.
In 1990 Emmitt Smith was projected to be one of the top ten players to be drafted into the National Football League. He was about to do something he had always dreamed about: play professional football. That year the Dallas Cowboys did not have a pick in the top ten players. They traded up to get Emmitt as the seventh selection in the overall draft.
The phone rang and he got THE call from the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Jimmy Johnson, asking him if he would like to wear the star of the Dallas Cowboys. Emmitt could hardly believe this was happening to him. It was God’s confirmation that his childhood dream was part of God’s direction for his life. Had he been chosen in the top ten, he very likely would have been drafted by Tampa Bay or Seattle instead of the Dallas Cowboys.
Emmitt Smith became the NFL’s all-time rushing leader. He played on three Super Bowl-winning Dallas Cowboys teams. He is the only running back to ever win a Super Bowl championship, the NFL Most Valuable Player award, the NFL rushing award, and the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player award, all in the same season 1993. Emmitt retired as a Dallas Cowboy in 2005.
From his youth, his parents had always preached to Emmitt the importance of education. They stressed that it was something that would last him a lifetime. He promised his mother he would complete his college degree. During the off season, when he wasn’t playing football for the Dallas Cowboys, he returned to classes at the University of Florida. He kept his promise to his mother when he earned his degree in Public Recreation in May, 1996.
Emmitt Smith is a devout Christian and family man. He and his wife, Patricia, live in Dallas and have four children.
His excellence in football has given him a platform to tell the world about Jesus.
As it says in Psalm 139:14, “I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”