From Catch 22, aka Emmitt Smiff.
If you want to cut to the chase on why I think these are the best "words" an inductee has laid down on the Canton pulpit, fast forward to the 7:30 mark.
Emmitt daps off the rest of the triplets but that's not all. The crescendo comes when number 22 gives the most heartfelt thank you to a player who embodies the selflessness of the game in Darryl Johnston. It's a 180 from the typical pampered athlete ego stroking speech.
If you're a Cowboy fan like me, someone that missed a week of second grade after the heartbreaking Dwight Clark catch game, you'll mist up. If you're a man, you won't cry. Allergies, imo.
But back to the little engine that could right out of Escambia, FL. A player that Jimmy Johnson himself wasn't sold on entirely (he had Rodney Hampton rated higher).
It was just a terrific career by a guy that didn't post the best 40 time or other meat market measurables that the game covets today. Nope. Emmitt Smith's biggest strength was that huge chip that resided on one of his two capable shoulders.
Sonafabitch used his uncanny vision, hit the hole, and refused to go down and led the Cowboys to three Championships in four seasons. Something that hasn't been done before in the history of the game.
If Erik Williams doesn't get in a car wreck after the 1993 season, and if John Bible called pass interference on Deon Sanders against Michael Irvin in the 1994 Championship game, you're looking at 4 in row. Ridiculous.
As for the selfless Syracuse Orangeman Johnston. It wouldn't have been a "lead" draw, the staple of the Cowboy rushing attack, without the Moose leading the way. Three fused vertebra later, and Emmitt's in Canton.
Cap tip to Smith for going against the primma donna grain and giving a tremendous amount of credit to the battering ram that was DJ and his huge sacrifice.
A preemptive strike to all the naysayers, Barry Sander's sycophants, or both, Emmitt Smith brought it game in and game out. He never had negative yards rushing in a playoff game like the aforementioned Sanders, and E-22 played a division deciding overtime game with a partially separated shoulder in route to a historic victory against the Giants. A victory that propelled the Cowboys to one of its five championships.
Point blank, Smith wasn't the best running back of all time, but he was certainly the most durable and productive. There's something to be said for that.
And the tear jerking speech? What a great day for America's team. A Fedora worthy performance in Canton even before the Hall of Fame Preseason game..