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Sanders “Barrys” Emmitt in PFT Poll

The guys at Profootballtalk ran a poll for the last couple of days pitting Barry vs Emmitt, and as expected, Barry crushed Emmitt.  There was never a question who would win the poll, unless you are a Cowboy fan orfamily or friend(s) of Emmitt.

Emmitt was a nice little running back, and he took care of his body well enough to be able to set the career rushing record after a 15 year career, four years longer than it would have taken Barry.  But let’s be honest here, the guy played behind the most dominating offense line of the decade, had a Hall of Fame quarterback handing it off to him when he wasn’t throwing it to his Hall of Fame receiver.  Emmitt also had a perennial Pro Bowl fullback and tight end on the field with him as well.  Barry had none of that help.

Many say Emmitt was the better blocker and receiver, I’ll give him the blocking but Barry was a far better receiver.  The Lions didn’t throw to Barry as much because he was always the focal point of the defense.  It’s hard to throw a screen to a player when the whole defense is keying on him.  Despite that, Barry averaged a full yard more per reception and only had one fewer touchdown receiving (10 to 11) than Emmitt, despite Emmitt having 163 more catches.

Barry averaged over 300 more yards rushing per season and almost a full yard more per carry despite playing on a far worse team and having less help.  Emmitt had one season where he averaged more than 5 yards a carry, Barry averaged 5 for his career.

The debate will always carry on, but the bottom line is Barry was better than Emmitt in every way possible, including the most important.  He was humble and put his team ahead of himself.  Barry willingly surrendered two rushing titles and had no problem giving up touchdowns to goal line backs when his coaches asked him to.  Barry was a class act and he was easily the best running back of his time, quite possibly of all time.  Throughout the 90’s there were 3 great running back debates.  Barry vs Thurman Thomas, Barry vs Emmitt Smith and Barry vs Terrell Davis.  Barry was the player that everybody was compared to because everybody knew he was the best.  Cowboy fans and Emmitt’s family and friends can continue to carry the debate on, but everybody else already knows that Barry wins hands down.


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