25 October 2009

UNKO: Emmitt Smith Broken Record Fitted

For a sports fan growing up in Dallas in the 90s, there was not much better than the Super Bowl Cowboy teams. This is our tribute to "America's Team" and one of the members of the Hall of Fame trio from that era. Painted on a Cowboys New Era x Reebok fitted. For those of you that are unaware, the reference for this painting is the "moment" Emmitt broke Walter Payton's rushing record. Here is a detailed account of that "moment".

On Sunday, October 27, 2002, as the Cowboys face the Seahawks at Texas Stadium, Smith is only 93 yards behind Payton's all-time record of 16,726 yards. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, anticipating the record being broken, plans a huge celebration and tribute to Smith.

Even though Smith hasn't run for 100 yards in a game all season, Jones has a banner prepared to be unveiled the moment Smith becomes the NFL's No. 1 all-time leading rusher. He has it placed next to the three Super Bowl championship banners captured during The Emmitt Years.

With 10 minutes to go in the game, and Smith only a couple of bursts away from the record, the Cowboys take over at their own 27-yard line. The crowd rises and begins a cheer that grows louder and louder. This is it, they hope. This is the moment. The record-breaking moment.

"I was totally aware of how much I needed," Smith would say later. "When I saw I was 13 yards away, I knew this was the drive that I was going to do it. I was sure. There was no doubt. With the crowd going crazy as it was, I said, 'This is the time.' I had to do it for them, for everyone."

On first down, quarterback Chad Hutchinson hands the ball off to Smith, who bulls his way forward for three yards.

Back in the huddle, Hutchinson, looking directly at Smith, says, "OK. 15 Lead. On two." The huddle breaks and Smith lines up in his customary position. The clock shows 9:10 left when Hutchinson takes the snap and hands the ball off to Smith.

The crowd, the TV cameras, zero in on number 22 as he displays his signature burst off left tackle, hits a small hole, squeezes his way through, cuts left and finds a seam. There's daylight. Smith bounces off one attempted tackle. He chugs along, running low, running square. He receives a crushing block from fullback Robert Thomas. He stumbles, ever so slightly, over the arm of an opponent, yet he quickly places his right hand on the turf, enabling him to keep his balance and keep chugging along until passing Payton's record.

When Smith is finally brought down, 11 yards later, with the crowd in a frenzy, Smith bounces to his feet. The record is his. Thousands of photo flashes go off in the stands. The game is halted. The celebration begins. Fireworks explode in each end zone.

Smith slowly takes off his helmet and kneels down on the 32-yard line. He then points to the sky for a moment. "For you Walter."

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