Class…It’s the one word that has always described Emmitt Smith on the field as well as off the field.
Emmitt Smith stood at the podium as the crowd gave him a long standing ovation. Then Emmitt Smith did what he had done his entire career. He showed class as he thanked everyone that got him to the Hall of Fame. It wasn’t about him at all on his night. He thanked the Cowboys organization, his coaches, his teammates, his family and the fans all around the world.
It’s been a long five years since Emmitt Smith retired from the NFL. Watching Emmitt Smith on that stage was one of my greatest moments since becoming a Dallas Cowboys fan. He made us fans proud when he played the game and he continued to make us proud as he gave his speech. Including the fans in his speech was a fantastic thing to hear from him. The smile on my face was from ear to ear.
When Emmitt Smith broke the All-Time rushing record in 2002 the thing that always stood out to me was the special moment that he shared with Daryl Johnston. It was a touching moment as Emmitt Smith broke down and thanked Daryl Johnston for everything he had done for him. Then tonight as Emmitt Smith was thanking Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin the crowd started to chant “Moose”. Then once again like in 2002 the tears started to flow on the face of Emmitt Smith. He asked Daryl Johnston to stand and thanked him from the bottom of his heart for everything he had done for him. It brought tears to my eyes in 2002 and it brought tears to my eyes tonight.
2002 video with Daryl Johnston
Hall of Fame speech with Daryl Johnston
Emmitt Smith is now a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Right where he belongs because of the kind of player he was and also because of the kind of person he is. He made the night about everyone around him and not about himself. I am so proud to be able to say that I watched his entire career and loved every minute of it. I’m also proud to say that I had the pleasure of meeting Emmitt Smith back in 1993 and 1994. He signed my Emmitt Smith jersey not once, but twice for me and it will always be my most prized possession. Congratulations Emmitt Smith and thank you for being such a class act. You are most deserving of your place in Canton.
Emmitt Smith’s Hall of Fame Speech transcript from Espn.com