15 Years Ago: Emmitt Smith Breaks NFL Rushing Record

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Walter Payton’s record of 16,726 career yards rushing seemed unreachable… until Emmitt Smith powered his way through the NFL and into the record books.

gettyimages 1535459 15 Years Ago: Emmitt Smith Breaks NFL Rushing Record

Emmitt Smith of the Dallas Cowboys holds up a silver football after breaking the NFL all-time rushing record against the Seattle Seahawks on October 27, 2002 at Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas. (credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

On October 27, 2002, Smith was unusually nervous as he prepared for the Dallas Cowboys regular season meeting with the Seattle Seahawks. “Just to go out there, and this was the moment,” Smith remembered about the day leading up to the game. “I was so geeked up. I had to calm my nerves.”

The sellout crowd at Texas Stadium added to the excitement and anticipation, as Smith rushed closer and closer to Payton’s record. Then, the Cowboys running back made it official when he took the handoff from quarterback Chad Hutchinson and ran off left guard for an 11-yard gain. It’s a play that could have gone a longer gain, but Smith stumbled when he broke free of the line. “I was running so hard, I ended up tripping,” Smith laughed when recalling the run.

“Move over, Sweetness, make a place for Emmitt,” was the call heard on the Cowboys Radio Network by Brad Sham, the voice of the Cowboys.

Smith’s historic run reset the standard, as he became the NFL’s all rushing leader.

“How crazy is this,” Smith said in an interview with CBS 11 Sports in January of 2016, “wanting to become the all-time leading rusher and having it happen right there at Texas Stadium with that roof open, so God could look down on his favorite team. It was special.”

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