Emmitt Smith was a standout running back for the Dallas Cowboys. Recently, he appeared on ESPN’s “First Take” to talk about his career and another episode involving John Madden, the famous football coach.
Welcome to the third installment of our Sportscasting Q&A session with Dallas Cowboys legend Emmitt Smith.
During his press trip to promote his new partnership with IHOP, we were fortunate enough to have a long conversation with the NFL’s all-time top rusher, which we’ll discuss today.
Smith discussed the current state of the Cowboys, the players who influenced him, the unfair comparisons between himself and fellow Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders, and his thoughts on the ongoing Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James debate in the first two installments (links to those are at the bottom of this page).
I wanted to clarify up something I heard years ago about Emmitt and the late, great John Madden in this edition. According to legend, Madden was in the Cowboys’ locker room while Smith was watching some of his teammates play EA Sports’ famous “Madden NFL” video game back in the day. Smith told Madden that Emmitt’s rating in the game was too high since he was dominating on the screen.
According to legend, the three-time Super Bowl champion is the only player to ever say anything like that. So I wanted to hear it straight from the source.
John Madden allegedly informed Emmitt Smith that his “Madden NFL” rating was too high.
Emmitt Smith and John Madden (from left to right) | Jason Kempin/Getty Images; Chris Polk/FilmMagic
Sportscasting: So I’m curious as to whether or not the rumor about you and John Madden is accurate. This is something I’ve heard a few times over the years and have always wanted to question you about it. Is it true that you ever informed him that you gave his video game a good rating?
Emmitt Smith: (laughing) I think I told him the game had me ranked far too high. He had me sprinting as though I were unstoppable.
Sportscasting: It’s amusing because you’ve seen how some of these people are these days. They become irritated if their Madden rating is one point too low. However, you said that yours was too high. I simply wasn’t sure whether it was correct.
Emmitt Smith: Look, I don’t believe somebody should be given a perfect score. Nobody should be given a score of 100 since no one possesses everything.
Sportscasting: Isn’t it true that everyone can always improve?
Emmitt Smith: That’s right. There’s always space for improvement. People need to be more honest with themselves rather than pretending to be someone they aren’t. I’m not the greatest running back in the National Football League by a long by. My qualifications do not sum up to 100. I didn’t attempt a 4.2. I didn’t lift 600 pounds on the bench press. I did not squat 700 pounds. However, I did an excellent job. And I did a good job of it. And I did it on a regular basis. And for a while there, I was the best. But it doesn’t make me a hundred percent.
I didn’t run all of Marshall Faulk’s pass routes. I did, however, snag the ball in the backfield.
Sportscasting: You also blocked, which has long been a neglected aspect of your game.
Emmitt Smith: And, sure, I blocked. My game was far more diverse than that of some of my competitors. On first, second, and third down, I was there. Some of my colleagues were there on first and second downs, if at all, and then left on third down. Overall, I like to believe I was well-rounded and balanced when it came to the completeness of the player and what he provided to his individual squad.
Just not 100 in sportscasting?
Emmitt Smith: (laughs) I’m not 100 percent sure. But I’m OK with 98. I’m willing to accept 98.
Sportscasting: So, tell me about this new IHOP collaboration.
Emmitt Smith (ESPN): Yes, I’ve teamed up with IHOP to promote their new International Bank of Pancakes loyalty rewards program. You earn one PanCoin for every five dollars you spend at IHOP, and they may add up to free meals. They are recognizing individuals for their commitment, which is fantastic since in this nation, loyalty is frequently overlooked.
As a result, I’m thrilled to be a part of it and eagerly anticipate its success. And I know that many people, like myself, like pancakes and waffles, and IHOP has it all.
Emmitt’s regular IHOP order consists of two stacks of pancakes, hash browns with cheese, scrambled eggs with cheese, crispy bacon, and perhaps a few sausage links, for those who are curious. I’ll confess that I like waffles, but his and my orders are quite similar.
And as we were discussing loyalty, I can tell you that one of the next installments in our Q&A with the Hall of Famer tackles Smith’s departure from the Cowboys and how he feels he was forced out of Dallas. So be sure to come back for that.
Here are the links to the first two installments, as promised.