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Barry Sanders: I’d never say I was better than Emmitt Smith

emmittbarry

In the 1990s, one of the best barstool debates for NFL fans was whether Barry Sanders or Emmitt Smith was the best running back in the league. But while that may have been (and may still be) a fun argument for fans and members of the media, it’s not an argument that Sanders will participate in.

Asked in a radio interview if he was better than Smith, Sanders answered, “I would never say that. He was too great of a player, and I loved competing against him.”

Sanders might not want to get into it, but the rest of us can. The arguments for Sanders are that he was more of a big-play threat than Smith, that he averaged 5.0 yards a carry to Smith’s 4.2, and that he was doing it behind a much weaker offensive line, and without a great passing game to keep defenses honest. The arguments for Smith are that he lasted longer, racked up 3,000 more career yards, was better in short yardage and did much more in the postseason.

At least, those are the bare-bones arguments. I’m sure PFT Planet will go into more detail below. I’ll get things started by saying that my vote, admittedly biased as someone who was a Detroit-area 12-year-old when the Lions drafted Sanders, goes to Barry.

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242 Responses to “Barry Sanders: I’d never say I was better than Emmitt Smith”
  1. twindaddy says: Jul 12, 2011 9:21 AM

    Put Barry Sanders on the Cowboys and he has over 20,000 yards easily.

    Put Smith on the Lions and he might get 10,000.

    Barry Sanders was better then Emmitt in every way. Hands down.

  2. Eddie says: Jul 12, 2011 9:24 AM

    You don’t need to Barry, I will.

    Barry Sanders is/was better than Emmitt Smith.

  3. phfootballka says: Jul 12, 2011 9:25 AM

    Emmitt was a better pass catcher out of the backfield and was a superior blocker in passing situations and blitz pickup. Barry was a liability inside the 5 yard line. Emmitt was able to punch it in over and over maybe lending a hand to the shorter YPC than Sanders.

    Sanders was a helluva lot of fun to watch though!

  4. randall351 says: Jul 12, 2011 9:25 AM

    I agree Barry Sanders much better, for all of the reasons you mentioned. Emmitt was very good as well, but I bet you could of put Christian Okoye (wanted to name drop) in his spot and he would of done almost as well with that amazing Cowboys team.
    I will always wonder where Bo Jackson would of ended on the rushing yardage list had he not got hurt.

  5. twitter:Chapman_Jamie says: Jul 12, 2011 9:26 AM

    I never understood this argument that Dallas had such a great offensive line and that Emmitt just benefited from it. As a life long Cowboys fan I can say that I think the o-line actually got better because of Emmitt’s skills. Barry was no doubt one of the greatest but you can’t diminish what Emmitt by giving all of his credit to the line.

    You also can’t say that the Cowboys passing game wasn’t successful as a result of Emmitt. There are just too many “what-ifs” to actually declare one to be better than the other. They were two different types of backs and it can be argued that they were the best at each type.

  6. joetoronto says: Jul 12, 2011 9:27 AM

    From a truly neutral observer who saw both these guys play throughout their careers, here’s how I see it…

    Smith was a more complete back, a true workhorse, who also had great hands and was a pretty good blocker too. When you needed to put the game away, you kept handing it off to Smith.

    Sanders was electrifying, a really exciting RB to watch, maybe the most exciting ever. He wasn’t a workhorse though, didn’t know how to block and wasn’t very good out of the backfield either.

    If I was building a team, I’d take Smith hands down.

  7. jw731 says: Jul 12, 2011 9:27 AM

    Barry wins the spelling bee and the running back comparison…Not even close…

  8. bigks77 says: Jul 12, 2011 9:29 AM

    If he can’t say it, I will. Barry was hands down the best I’ve ever seen!

  9. edukator4 says: Jul 12, 2011 9:29 AM

    My vote goes to sanders, but emmitt was a beast theres no ignoring that

  10. drgfri says: Jul 12, 2011 9:31 AM

    Sanders was a great player and a great man. No one compares. No insult to Smith intended, but he was in the right place at the right time.

  11. biggerballz says: Jul 12, 2011 9:32 AM

    the problem with barry sanders was that you would either get a 5 yard loss or a 60 yard gain on each carry. emmith just got you 4 to 5 yards every down.

  12. digglerthegoat says: Jul 12, 2011 9:32 AM

    by far…Barry was better!

  13. str8up12 says: Jul 12, 2011 9:32 AM

    I would watch Lions games to see Barry. I never tuned in to a Cowboys game to see Emmitt Smith. Emmitt was a terrific player. Just not the electrifying one-man show Barry was. As a Pats fan, I had zero reason for bias.

  14. Knightlines says: Jul 12, 2011 9:34 AM

    Its not a bebate really, Barry would of needed 2 more years to break the record, Emmitt needed another team, lol.

  15. jefftberg says: Jul 12, 2011 9:36 AM

    Obviously Smith accomplished more, but Sanders was the better back.

  16. claydefayette says: Jul 12, 2011 9:37 AM

    He wouldn’t say it but everyone else would.

  17. ernestbynershands says: Jul 12, 2011 9:40 AM

    As a Browns fan who lived in Michigan during the No Browns era, Barry Sanders became my adopted team.
    Who was better? Ask yourself this:
    Did you watch Emmitt or did you watch the Cowboys?
    Did you you watch Barry? Or did you watch the Lions?
    Emmitt was a gr8 player on a legendary team.
    Barry was a great player on an alleged team.

  18. robf2010 says: Jul 12, 2011 9:40 AM

    My vote goes to Barry. He retired at the top of his game so career marks are misleading. He was the main weapon on an offense that didn’t have many. To put up as many yards as he did against teams that were totally devoted to stopping him is just amazing. Emmitt was a great player. Barry was a little better.

  19. marvsleezy says: Jul 12, 2011 9:41 AM

    They were both great players….A LONG TIME AGO. Im not interested in comparing them anymore-its 2011 – MOVE ON

  20. Dynasty says: Jul 12, 2011 9:42 AM

    Barry would own most yrds record if he wanted! Barry hands down!

  21. motorcitykitties says: Jul 12, 2011 9:43 AM

    I know I’m biased but it’s really not even close. Watch the tape. Barry was flat out amazing. Emmitt was a nice piece of a dynasty team loaded with Aikman, Irvin, Harper, Moose, etc, etc.

  22. packattack1967 says: Jul 12, 2011 9:43 AM

    Both guys beat the crap out of us over the years. Id take Sanders any day.

  23. cowboysalltheway says: Jul 12, 2011 9:48 AM

    Barry was great and has a lot of class, but I never saw him carry his team to victory with one arm like Emmitt did against the giants. While Barry was great, Emmitt had the bigger heart.

  24. lionsfaninma says: Jul 12, 2011 9:49 AM

    As this article points out Barry is just such a humble person which adds to his mystique. Along with his jaw dropping physical skills, Detroit was so lucky to have him. Too bad their management team pissed him off so much that he walked away. If he played a couple of more years he would have set the bar for the rushing record.

  25. buckybadger says: Jul 12, 2011 9:49 AM

    Barry is all class and a leader by example.

  26. rmm1984 says: Jul 12, 2011 9:50 AM

    Emmitt Smith: I are never say I is a better running back than Barry Sanders be.

  27. edukator4 says: Jul 12, 2011 9:50 AM

    Regarding the passing game helping; until Herman moore and Andre ware/ scott Mitchell get busts in the hof, it’s pretty safe to say that rmmitt benefitted a little more than Barry by the passing game

  28. marjax says: Jul 12, 2011 9:51 AM

    I’d give it to Barry as well. I’m one of the guys who argues that Jim Brown was the greatest ever though, so not surprisingly, career average is more important to me than career totals. Smith’s total numbers are gaudy because he was able to play so long — and props to him for staying healthy. But it’s not exactly a fair comparison to match up career totals of a guy who played 15 years to a guy who played 10. Though I’m sure Emmitt’s averages dipped a bit due being less effective in the latter part of his career, but even throwing out a couple down seasons Barry was still better.

    I don’t think it’s fair to discredit Emmitt’s abilities due to the talent surrounding him. Something can be said for Sanders doing what he did on an awful team, but don’t take away from Smith because he thrived in a great system. By the same token, saying he showed up in the playoffs isn’t an argument to compare him to someone who barely (if ever?) saw playoff games. Performing in the playoffs should only come into play when both players in question had ample opportunities to deliver.

  29. vtsquirm says: Jul 12, 2011 9:51 AM

    “The arguments for Smith are that he lasted longer, racked up 3,000 more career yards, was better in short yardage and did much more in the postseason.”

    yeah how many more years did Smith play?? and he only had 3k more yards?

    better in short yardage??? Smiths TEAM/LINE was better. You can’t run the ball into the endzone from the 2 without a good OLINE. The defense knows thats what you’ll try to do. Postseason? AGAIN, Smith was there every year because of his team. He was an average yet durable back on a great team, thats it.

    Barry was… wait for it…

    Legendary!

  30. annnann says: Jul 12, 2011 9:51 AM

    Barry Sanders is better and there shouldn’t be a debate over this.

  31. section731 says: Jul 12, 2011 9:52 AM

    Smith was 4 yards downfield before he ever got touched. Sanders had to break a tackle in the backfield every run. Smith also ran out of bounds all of the time.

    The 4th and 1 play against the Eagles (where Smith failed to get the first down – twice) would have never happened if Smith didn’t run out of bounds 1 foot short of the first down on the previous play.

  32. Ty @ The Lions in Winter says: Jul 12, 2011 9:53 AM

    I broke this down pretty completely here:

    Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith: By the Numbers

    Long story short, if you line up their careers side-by-side, when Barry hung ‘em up Emmitt had carred the ball 181 more times and gained 1,306 fewer yards. Case closed.

    Peace
    Ty

  33. mannyicey says: Jul 12, 2011 9:55 AM

    First of all, you do have to look at the line. The Cowboys were a complete championship team. Therefore, they were balanced and could beat you without Emmitt. Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin were scary.

    The only thing scary about the Lions was Barry Sanders. The line had plenty of holes. When you played defense against them, you stacked the line.

    So Barry played with a below-average line with an unbalanced offense. So you had to be more than great. You needed to be fantastic.

  34. shaynerivers says: Jul 12, 2011 9:55 AM

    Sanders was an electrifying player to watch. It is certainly a valid argument that had Sanders played with the Cowboys of the 90′s he would have amassed huge numbers….however, it really comes down to one thing…HEART. Barry never had the heart of Emmitt Smith. Emmitt was a more complete back to watch, Barry was a lot more fun to watch.

  35. baronvonmonocle says: Jul 12, 2011 9:56 AM

    Knightlines says:
    Jul 12, 2011 9:34 AM
    Its not a bebate really, Barry would of needed 2 more years to break the record, Emmitt needed another team, lol.
    ——————————————-

    You do realize that Emmitt broke the record before he switched teams, right?

  36. cshearing says: Jul 12, 2011 9:58 AM

    They were both great players that I wished had played for my team. That’s all that really matters.

  37. oranjellojones says: Jul 12, 2011 10:01 AM

    twindaddy boiled it down the best. If they were drafted by the opposite teams we probably wouldn’t even know who Emmitt was. barry would have shattered the RB records the way Marino did passing records. To Cowboy fans who try to minimize the quulity of their line…tell us how many pro bowlers and potential Hall of Famers were on that line and entire offense and then get back to us about how much Emmitt made them better.

    Also to those who keep knocking Barry for his losses…this goes directly to the glaring difference between the two teams…their lines. 4 out of 5 times Barry was hit behind the line, where by contrast Emmitt routinely had mack truck sized holes to parade through.

    Last but not least…one guy was respected and one guy was feared by his peers. The one who struck fear and awe in the eyes of his peers is the better back. You might be too classy and not able to say it Barry but I can…you were the best and it’s not even close.

  38. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 10:04 AM

    Better OL blah blah blah the best offensive linemen the Cowboys had were there years before Emmitt got there in 1990 and they weren’t regarded as anything special. Nate Newton got there in 1986, Mark Tuinei in 1983, Kevin Gogan in 1987, Mark Stepnoski in 1989. Larry Allen wasn’t drafted until 1994.

    Barry coulda woulda shoulda. Emmitt DID. That’s the bottom line. All else is conjecture.

  39. vbe2 says: Jul 12, 2011 10:04 AM

    I’ll say it, Barry Sanders was far better than Emmitt Smiff

  40. 1historian says: Jul 12, 2011 10:04 AM

    Barry was by far the better of the two. The fact that he retired ‘early’ doesn’t mean he didn’t have heart.

    I also like the fact that, like Jim Brown, he could take the game or leave it.

  41. fin72 says: Jul 12, 2011 10:05 AM

    I could’ve rushed for a 1,000 yards behind Erik Williams, Nate Newton, Mark Stepnoski, Larry Allen and the rest. Emmitt is the most over-rated player of our generation… I’ll take Barry any day of the week over Emmitt.

  42. m2karateman says: Jul 12, 2011 10:05 AM

    Barry was the better runner, by a large margin. Smith was the more complete back. Barry played on an average to below average team, Emmitt played on a dynasty. Had Barry played as many seasons as Emmitt, Barry would have EASILY gotten more yards over his career, and would hold that mark for a long time.
    Barry Sanders was the ONLY back I’ve ever seen that could hurt a defensive player without touching him, simply due to his inhuman stop/start ability.

    All said, Barry Sanders is the best pure runner to have ever set foot on the gridiron.

  43. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 10:07 AM

    Sanders was an electrifying player to watch. It is certainly a valid argument that had Sanders played with the Cowboys of the 90′s he would have amassed huge numbers

    ———————————————————-

    No more than it is valid to say that Emmitt would have had even bigger numbers if he had played the majority of his career in a run and shoot offense, which utilizes four wide receivers and negates any possibility of playing more than 7 defenders in the box. Emmitt routinely faced 8 and sometimes even 9 defenders in the box and still made his bones.

  44. netherscourge says: Jul 12, 2011 10:09 AM

    Barry Sanders was better. It’s not even close.

    Emmitt Smith had the LUXURY of a great QB, a great FB, a great TE and a great WR stretching the field and blocking for him to get all those yards.

    Barry Sander’s best QB was…. uh… Scott Mitchell? I can’t even remember any of the WRs or FB’s on his team at the time. Barry had to CARRY that team on his back.

    Barry Sanders was almost impossible to tackle in open field because he had cutting ability and momentum shift control that was completely unmatched.

    Emmitt Smith had maybe one move and then the rest was all downhill running, thanks to a stretched out field courtesy of the rest of his team.

  45. innerlign says: Jul 12, 2011 10:12 AM

    Sanders, all day.

  46. 10kmp says: Jul 12, 2011 10:14 AM

    @twindaddy;

    Sanders was in fact better than Smith in almost every measurable category. Smith, on the other hand, was better than Sanders in almost every non-measurable category, i.e. heart, toughness, leadership, dedication, etc. While not remotely as fast, slick, or fun to watch as Sanders, Smith was the toughest running back I’ve seen play in this league in the last quarter century. He would not come out of the game. He was toughness personified. Sanders, from this fans perspective, was a tremendous athlete, but simply didn’t have that extra gear in his heart that Emmitt Smith had. Smith was a leader in Dallas, while Sanders was a reclusive, reluctant start in Detroit. I’m not knocking Sanders; great guy seemingly. Humble to a fault, tremendous NFL player. However, IMO, the greatest asset any football player can possess is heart. More than speed, quickness, strength, or size. Heart is what sets apart the good from the great, and the great from the best. Because of the size of his heart I would take Emmitt Smith, hands down, over Sanders. Just one opinion…

  47. dgbk says: Jul 12, 2011 10:16 AM

    @ knight

    What other team?? Smith broke the record with the cowboys. He was just padding his stats with the cards he already passed payton, sanders etc etc. a quick google search would of showed u that.

    As a cowboys fan who had this argument since he was a teen. I still go with smith. played hurt was a complete back better pass catcher. Barry was great dont get me wrong but my vote go to mr blowed out.

  48. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 10:16 AM

    First of all, you do have to look at the line. The Cowboys were a complete championship team. Therefore, they were balanced and could beat you without Emmitt.

    —————————————————–

    Ha. The Cowboys were 1-6 with Emmitt on the sidelines. They famously lost the first two games of the 1993 season without Emmitt. Of course after Emmitt finally signed a contract the Cowboys became the first team in NFL history to lose it’s first two games and go on to win a Super Bowl.

  49. chazk100 says: Jul 12, 2011 10:17 AM

    Here’s all you need to know about this argument.

    Emmitt is better, because he never quit on his team.

    He never decided to mail-in his “i quit” letter.

    He never quit so close to the start of a season that his teammates and organization couldn’t make other plans.

    He never quit long-distance, lacking the cajones to do it in person.

    Mental toughness and character count. Emmitt had it, Barry didn’t.

    Oh- and Emmitt has better overall stats.

  50. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 10:18 AM

    All said, Barry Sanders is the best pure runner to have ever set foot on the gridiron.

    ————————————————————

    You realize that there’s no “runner” position in the NFL, right?

  51. toughcool says: Jul 12, 2011 10:18 AM

    People saying that Barry is automatically better because of Emmitt’s line, etc are clueless about football. Emmitt got his yards because he could hit a hole. Yes his line was good but he also could hit holes and make people miss/bounce of tackles. It is why he rarely got injured…people couldn’t get good contact on him. Barry liked to dance and lost more yardage on plays than Emmitt ever did. Emmitt was also a better receiver and blocker and didn’t QUIT. If having a great line was makes a guy the best ever than every old Steeler, Cowboy, 49er, Packer or whomever else would have had backs racking up yards for the record book. Vision, heart and fearlessness are what puts Emmitt above Barry.

  52. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 10:19 AM

    Also to those who keep knocking Barry for his losses…this goes directly to the glaring difference between the two teams…their lines. 4 out of 5 times Barry was hit behind the line, where by contrast Emmitt routinely had mack truck sized holes to parade through.

    ———————————————————–

    Barry got hit behind the line a lot because he spent too much time dancing, trying to find the big play instead of just taking what was there.

  53. innerlign says: Jul 12, 2011 10:20 AM

    Hahaha, everyone but the Cowboys fans know Barry was the better of the two.

  54. urlacherbacker says: Jul 12, 2011 10:23 AM

    So let me get this straight: Barry Sanders has no heart? Do you really think playing for the effing Lions year after year was a joy? Teams certainly had to gameplan for both backs, no doubt about it. However, when the Bears played the Lions Sanders had everyone holding their breath every time he touched the ball. And everyone it was coming because there wasnt much else on the Lions. When Barry did get into the end zone he just dropped the ball and and went back to the sideline. He didnt have to stomp around, thump his chest and go high five the cocaine snorter. Barry Sanders was superior in every way.

  55. scoops1 says: Jul 12, 2011 10:24 AM

    Thanksgiving day games in Detriot have not been the same since Barry retired…..

  56. 00reo says: Jul 12, 2011 10:24 AM

    Barry was the best RB ever. End of story. If he hadn’t retired early, he would’ve crushed the career rushing yardage record.

  57. pallidrone says: Jul 12, 2011 10:26 AM

    Barry hands down.

    I love the argument of “well Barry would lose 5 yards and then gain 60″.

    That is WHAT made him great. Even when a team had him dead to rights he would do something amazing and break the other teams back. He is the epitome of a play maker.

  58. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 10:28 AM

    Long story short, if you line up their careers side-by-side, when Barry hung ‘em up Emmitt had carred the ball 181 more times and gained 1,306 fewer yards.

    —————————————————————

    And 37 more TDs. I guess you just forgot to add that part. I know you’re a Lions fan and all, but points still win games, in case you forgot.

    Besides, why would you cut Emmitt off at the point where Sanders decided to screw every Lions fan and teammate by not talking to ANYbody and waiting until the last minute to announce his retirement? That’s sort of like giving him a bonus for being a quitter that took his ball and the Lions’ millions and ran home because he couldn’t get his way.

  59. backuppunter says: Jul 12, 2011 10:30 AM

    you don’t have to say it barry we all know it’s true! but there were as mentioned a few things emmit did better. imagine them both in there prime on the same team, now that would be run domination, with the cowboys line of course!

  60. urlacherbacker says: Jul 12, 2011 10:31 AM

    So let me ask this: How come Emmitt didnt blow it open with the Cardinals? I mean all it takes is heart, vision, and fearlessness right? Isnt that why he went to the Cardinals? Because he still had all those assets and the desire to play? Hilarious.

  61. twitter:Chapman_Jamie says: Jul 12, 2011 10:31 AM

    If Dallas’s line was so great then why in the name of hell didn’t Sherman Williams get into the HOF? You people just like to bash the Cowboys. Notice the Cowboys fans on here aren’t bashing Barry. Fans of the GAME enjoy everything that Emmitt brought to the table. Fans of the PLAY loved Barry.

  62. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 10:33 AM

    better in short yardage??? Smiths TEAM/LINE was better. You can’t run the ball into the endzone from the 2 without a good OLINE.

    ———————————————————–

    Um, it’s not like they didn’t try. They just decided that they had better options than Barry Sanders in those situations. That’s how guys like Tommy Vardell or Derrick Moore could end up with 120 yards and 6 TDs on the season.

  63. deeowens11 says: Jul 12, 2011 10:38 AM

    ernestbynershands says:
    Jul 12, 2011 9:40 AM
    As a Browns fan who lived in Michigan during the No Browns era, Barry Sanders became my adopted team.
    Who was better? Ask yourself this:
    Did you watch Emmitt or did you watch the Cowboys?
    Did you you watch Barry? Or did you watch the Lions?
    Emmitt was a gr8 player on a legendary team.
    Barry was a great player on an alleged team.

    *******************************************

    Best arguement in the comment section above.

    Everyone saying that Sanders is FAR better is smoking something. If either of them were FAR better than the other, then there would not be a debate.

  64. scoops1 says: Jul 12, 2011 10:39 AM

    pallidrone says:
    Jul 12, 2011 10:26 AM
    Barry hands down.

    I love the argument of “well Barry would lose 5 yards and then gain 60″.

    That is WHAT made him great. Even when a team had him dead to rights he would do something amazing and break the other teams back. He is the epitome of a play maker.
    ———————————

    Except the WC game against the Pack on NYE back in 1994

  65. dgbk says: Jul 12, 2011 10:42 AM

    Never said barry had NO heart if the heart comments are directed at my 1st post….. Even though some ppl might say he quit much like robert smith did. Im not one of those ppl just felt like emmit had more sorry for stating an opinion amd jusy cause u play for a bad or avg team doesnt mean u have heart. Now he is getting credit for not high fiving smh. I apologize for think

  66. dgbk says: Jul 12, 2011 10:43 AM

    Thinking smith is better lol

  67. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 10:43 AM

    So let me ask this: How come Emmitt didnt blow it open with the Cardinals?

    ——————————————————–

    Because Roy Williams (the safety) busted him up pretty good shortly after he got there. Even so, in his final season Emmitt rushed for 937 yards and 9 TDs.

  68. juggrnt1 says: Jul 12, 2011 10:44 AM

    Barry (sizzle) over Emmitt (steak)? People forget that Barry chose to avoid his holes that his O-line created for him, and he never used a fullback to clear those holes; Emmitt used his excellent fullback and used his line, which made them look fantastic. When I watched Barry run, I’d see him look at a hole, jump to the outside, look at the outside, then go back to the hole and try to go through it. If you’ve ever played O-Line, you know the longer you’re forced to hold your block the harder it is to keep that play alive.

    Barry was a special runner, and a force of nature, but he was a “homerun hitter,” that was a liability in short yardage situations. Emmitt was a complete back, with no holes in his game. He was the heir apparent to Walter Payton for a reason. Last time I checked, football is a game of first downs, time of possession, and touchdowns in the redzone. If you want the sizzle, fine, but give me the steak (and the wins) anytime.

  69. missouri500 says: Jul 12, 2011 10:47 AM

    Thanksgiving Day games have not always been very interesting, but when Barry was playing they were worth watching. One particular time, he got caught about 5 yards in the backfield and looked like it was over until he turned tail the other way and burned down the field. Almost made me choke on my Turkey. Electrifying!!!

  70. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 10:48 AM

    Barry did get into the end zone he just dropped the ball and and went back to the sideline.

    ————————————————————

    Nobody said that Barry never scored. It’s just that Emmitt scored 85 more times than Barry (including playoffs).

  71. ejmat2 says: Jul 12, 2011 10:50 AM

    It’s ashame because Barry Sanders was much better than Emmitt Smith. I would love to see barry play with the team that emmitt had. Dallas would have probably won more championships. Emmitt with the Lions would have been good. Don’t get me wrong but in my humble opinion Barry was the man.

  72. bradwins says: Jul 12, 2011 10:50 AM

    If Sanders and Smith had swapped teams, Barry would have had a 3000 yard season and Emmitt would have been ‘just another guy.’

  73. pacificamjr says: Jul 12, 2011 10:54 AM

    barry is not the best RB to ever play the game, HE’S THE BEST PLAYER THATS EVER TOUCHED A BALL

    RESPECT THE GREATEST EVER!

  74. EJ says: Jul 12, 2011 10:56 AM

    MDS….Why didn’t you throw up a poll of who is better, Smith or Sanders? I think most PFTers would lean toward Sanders as being the better RB, I know i do.

    Go Bills!!!

  75. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 10:58 AM

    Performing in the playoffs should only come into play when both players in question had ample opportunities to deliver.

    ——————————————————————-

    Barry Sanders played in 6 playoff games. Scored 1 rushing TD.

  76. dre123 says: Jul 12, 2011 11:01 AM

    All these Cowboy haters talkin about ‘Boys fans being biased??? HAHA…ridiculous!!! Barry was an east-west runner, E Smith was a south/downhill runner. Smith wasn’t worried about gettin the TD on his one carry. He was a smart RB and UTILIZED his o-line…something Barry didn’t do (by choice most times). Barry was too impatient to wait for openings…they were there it’s just he was already in the backs of his oline as soon as the ball was hiked (watch his replays). Barry was type of runner you’d like to have on your team in a backyard pick up game (oohs & ahhs), but E Smith was a guy you’d like to have on your team if you wanna win a championship. Dude was tough (AND feared by opponents)!!! How many games did the Lions win when Barry was on the sideline vs how many games Dallas won when E Smith was on the sideline? ‘Nough said. But both were great. Barry = GREAT runner; Emmitt = GREATER running back. The bottom line: BARRY HAD THE HELMET OF A LION; EMMITT HAD THE HEART OF A LION!

  77. joetoronto says: Jul 12, 2011 11:06 AM

    Smith was done by the time he got to the Cardinals.

    For those who don’t, or can’t, remember.

  78. urlacherbacker says: Jul 12, 2011 11:18 AM

    joetoronto says:
    “Smith was done by the time he got to the Cardinals. For those who don’t, or can’t, remember.”

    Says Who? I dont remember Smith saying that. I would take his word over yours.

  79. beastdotcom says: Jul 12, 2011 11:20 AM

    164 rushing td’s……

  80. fwippel says: Jul 12, 2011 11:27 AM

    This is not to knock Smith, he was an excellent RB. But Barry Sanders was better.

    Sanders played for a vastly inferior team than Smith did for much of his career. If Sanders had the opportunity to run behind the same OL that Smth did, he’d have far better numbers than Smith retired with.

    I still remember the Monday night game in Dallas when Sanders outperformed Smith and the Lions pulled the upset.

    I never saw Jim Brown play, but outside of Walter Payton, Sanders is the best RB I’ve ever seen play the game.

  81. rccola39 says: Jul 12, 2011 11:29 AM

    The numbers say it. The film says it. Barry woulda had the rushing record if he played 1 maybe 2 more years hands down. No debate in my eyes. Barry

  82. rbrown4495 says: Jul 12, 2011 11:30 AM

    I’m a die hard Cowboy Fan from the late 60″s up to now and I must say. If Barry had Emmits line he would have destroyed the record books in 7 years with holes so ride open I could have got 10 yards. Along with that baryy retired 3-4 years before he needed to and Emmit stayed around just to get the record when he should have retired. Again I love my cowboys but apprecuate what Barry bought to the game. My fav 5 in order is Jim Brown, Barry Sanders, Walter Payton, Emmit Smith, Eric Dickerson, I must mention that earl campblee is the most powerfully exciting back I have seen play as well.

  83. krashie21 says: Jul 12, 2011 11:32 AM

    Considering all of the evidence that has been presented, anyone who actually thinks that Barry Sanders was BETTER than Emmitt Smith……

    HAS NO EARTHLY IDEA ABOUT FOOTBALL.

    It’s that simple.

    In fact, any suggestion to the contrary is silly.

    Barry was a better pure “athlete”……but as a football player, Barry couldn’t carry Emmitt’s jock.

    End of argument.

  84. gregjennings85 says: Jul 12, 2011 11:32 AM

    No need, Barry. We all know you were better. That’s not to take anything away from Emmitt, but you were the best RB of all time, in my mind.

    Emmitt, I think is a top-20 RB, but nowhere near you.

    My list:

    1.) Barry Sanders
    2.) Jim Brown
    3.) Walter Payton
    4.) Earl Campbell
    5.) OJ Simpson
    6.) Gale Sayers
    7.) Bo Jackson
    8.) Eric Dickerson
    9.) LaDainian Tomlinson
    10.) Thurman Thomas
    11.) Emmitt Smith
    12.) Marshall Faulk
    13.) Tony Dorsett
    14.) Marcus Allen
    15.) Jim Taylor
    16.) Joe Perry
    17.) Chris Johnson*
    18.) Adrian Peterson*
    19.) Edgerrin James
    20.) Curtis Martin

    * – Active, and rising up the list quickly.

    I’m sorry, but it’s rare that a back from the 50′s or 60′s can crack my list, as, to put it simply, they don’t have the size, speed or strength of many more recent RBs.

    Thoughts, via thumbs up or thumbs down?

  85. rccola39 says: Jul 12, 2011 11:34 AM

    Barry is humble. Of course he’s not going to “say” hes better. He was and is. Emmit might have the delusion he is better thought, but that’s because hes Emmit Smith. You can put Jim Brown and Barry sanders at #1 or 2 in any order.

  86. jbcommonsense says: Jul 12, 2011 11:39 AM

    Emmitt was a great RB that ruined many of my Redskin-loving days.

    That said, tackling Barry was like pinning down a greased pig [nearly impossible]. Nobody moved like him, and he was the greatest.

  87. cam3420 says: Jul 12, 2011 11:45 AM

    cmon ppl plz we all know that barry is the best runner ever he left 3 or 4 years early which would have made him the all time leading rusher even on the lions but we all saw that those 10 years in detroit he did not have 1 pro bowl lineman or quarterback and he didnt even get help with a good 2nd string back to take the load off of him, emmit was great but its easier to run and catch when you have perenial pro bowlers like Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, even a lil Neon Deion on both sides of the ball not to mention the O line geez In Emmitt Smith’s first 10 seasons with the Cowboys from 1990-99, six different Dallas offensive linemen were voted to a combined 22 Pro Bowls. Guard Nate Newton was selected to six Pro Bowls, followed by guard Larry Allen (five), tackle Erik Williams (four), center Mark Stepnoski (3), center Ray Donaldson (2) and tackle Mark Tuinei (2). so yea if Barry was on that Team EWWW he would have sick numbers and a bunch of rings

  88. baronvonmonocle says: Jul 12, 2011 11:47 AM

    netherscourge says:
    Jul 12, 2011 10:09 AM

    Barry Sander’s best QB was…. uh… Scott Mitchell? I can’t even remember any of the WRs or FB’s on his team at the time. Barry had to CARRY that team on his back.
    ——————————————-

    Honestly, if you can’t even remember a great WR like Herman Moore, you really have no credibility on this issue.

    While Emmitt clearly had more talent around him, Barry did not play with a bunch of slugs. Herman Moore, Lomas Brown and Kevin Glover were all darn good players. Even Johnnie Morton had 4 1000 yard seasons (2 with Barry, 2 without.)

    Let’s at least be honest about what Barry had around him.

  89. vadog says: Jul 12, 2011 11:54 AM

    Jim Brown, Gale Sayers and Earl Campbell was better than either one of them!!!

  90. forevercorr says: Jul 12, 2011 11:55 AM

    @gregjennings85
    I appreciate your list though I’m not sure why Terrell Davis didn’t make it. Sure, he had a short career but his numbers were up there with Sayers and Jackson, and he helped the Broncos win two Superbowls while playing blind from migraines from time to time. As far as heart and talent, I’d take TD over many of these guys…

  91. vadog says: Jul 12, 2011 11:55 AM

    And so was Walter Payton!!!!!!

  92. raiderinpa says: Jul 12, 2011 11:58 AM

    I WOULD say that… Not to take anything away from Emmitt, but with the line in Dallas, even I couldve gained yards…

    I liken Sanders to Walter Payton due to his elusiveness and cutting ability… One can only wonder what Sanders would have done behind that great line in Dallas…. ????

    Its a damn shame that Barry just left the game WAY before his time… He definitely had much more left in the tank..

  93. philgrek says: Jul 12, 2011 11:58 AM

    Barry Sanders, no doubt, was a terrific player. However, he also held (not sure about currently but I’m sure he still does) the record for most negative plays from scrimmage. Granted, the Lions O-Line was terrible, but he still would hurt the Lions quite a few times a game with all his dancing. He put up great numbers while he played, but he quit. Emmitt holds the #s and the rings.

  94. baronvonmonocle says: Jul 12, 2011 12:03 PM

    gregjennings85 says:
    Jul 12, 2011 11:32 AM
    No need, Barry. We all know you were better. That’s not to take anything away from Emmitt, but you were the best RB of all time, in my mind.

    Emmitt, I think is a top-20 RB, but nowhere near you.

    My list:

    1.) Barry Sanders
    2.) Jim Brown
    3.) Walter Payton
    4.) Earl Campbell
    5.) OJ Simpson
    6.) Gale Sayers
    7.) Bo Jackson
    8.) Eric Dickerson
    9.) LaDainian Tomlinson
    10.) Thurman Thomas
    11.) Emmitt Smith
    12.) Marshall Faulk
    13.) Tony Dorsett
    14.) Marcus Allen
    15.) Jim Taylor
    16.) Joe Perry
    17.) Chris Johnson*
    18.) Adrian Peterson*
    19.) Edgerrin James
    20.) Curtis Martin
    ——————————————–

    Needs John Riggins. Pure beast.

  95. justafan24 says: Jul 12, 2011 12:06 PM

    dallas gets way more coverage so emmit was more popular, but what emmitt did was special (i hate dallas). but if you watched dallas emmit ran for 4-6 yards before he got touched. he was a good player, he had a top 5-10 defense, troy, irvin, moose, harper, jay novacek. Hell jason garret would have been the stater for the lions. That was the team of the 90′s.
    barry had scott mitchell, andre ware, erik kramer, rodney pete and other scrubs as qbs. had herman moore for a few seasons of quality play, and had chris stinger speilman on d. other than that barry was a one man show. you put barry on that team 2000 yards every year. everyone says emmitt was a better reciever he wasnt. he had better teammates that got him the ball at the time and quality players around him barry never had a chance to show that he was actually a really good reciever. just sad that barry never had a team or a front office that could put a team around him. barry would have set records that would never be close to being broken.

  96. langardner says: Jul 12, 2011 12:07 PM

    Emmitt was only good because of his offensive line!!! Nobody would have known his name had he been with the Lions!

  97. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 12:18 PM

    The 4th and 1 play against the Eagles (where Smith failed to get the first down – twice) would have never happened if Smith didn’t run out of bounds 1 foot short of the first down on the previous play.

    ————————————————–

    Don’t even try it. Emmitt ran for 962 first downs in his career. Barry ran for 574.

  98. trollaikman8 says: Jul 12, 2011 12:26 PM

    Barry Sanders showing once again that he is one of the classiest players to ever play the game.

  99. phfootballka says: Jul 12, 2011 12:28 PM

    I am noticing that most Pro-Barry arguments contain either a Would of, Should of, or Could of.

    All of the Pro-Emmitt Arguments contain a DID.

  100. fallendelusion says: Jul 12, 2011 12:30 PM

    1) I find it interesting that there are so many people patting Barry on the back for being such a good guy yet no one seems to mention anything about Emmitt who was known to be ridiculously tight with Walter Payton, you know the guy who has the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award named after him? Oh yea, Emmitt basically appropriate credit to his teammates for his accomplishments, particularly Daryl Johnston. Give credit where it’s due.

    2) Both had their strengths/weaknesses. Emmitt wasn’t a game-breaker, but he was reliable and never got denied at the goal-line despite people knowing where the ball was going. He owned the fundamentals of the game as well. He just didn’t have the speed to break ridiculous runs.

    I might add that Dallas offensive line was vastly over-rated with guys that were nothing but fat (Nate Newton) and mediocre (Mark Tuinei). The only two real great players they had on that line were Larry Allen and Erik Williams(who was over-rated in his own right)

    Barry was arguably the most electric RB of all-time. The problem was you couldn’t rely on him to get the short stuff because he was always looking for the home run. Last time I checked a 95 yard touchdown run is still only worth 6 points. Where does that get you when he runs for one of those a game and only had 20 yards the rest of that game? Not very good. That’s what you call drive killers.

  101. twitter:Chapman_Jamie says: Jul 12, 2011 12:31 PM

    Again, can someone explain why Sherman Williams is not in the Hall of Fame since he had the opportunity to run behind the same spectacular OL that you all seem to credit all of Emmitt’s success to?

  102. marcus158 says: Jul 12, 2011 12:35 PM

    melonnhead says:
    Jul 12, 2011 10:18 AM
    All said, Barry Sanders is the best pure runner to have ever set foot on the gridiron.

    ————————————————————

    You realize that there’s no “runner” position in the NFL, right?

    ____________

    So what does a RUNNING Back do? Walk?

  103. trollaikman8 says: Jul 12, 2011 12:36 PM

    @gregjennings

    lol at your delusion for having Eric Dickerson & Thurman Thomas above Emmitt Smith.

  104. ezra954 says: Jul 12, 2011 12:37 PM

    Emmit could not even hold a candle to Barry

    Barry was the best of my generation oh and still is

  105. animals1977 says: Jul 12, 2011 12:38 PM

    Emmitt Smith is a classy guy and all, but he can thank no one other than the Minnesota Vikings, for all three Super Bowl rings he’s got, as well as his Hall of Fame induction. The Vikings built the Cowboys with the 1989 Walker trade. That’s it and that’s that.

  106. kcfanatic says: Jul 12, 2011 12:41 PM

    I was never a big fan of Barry the Football player. I was a fan of his highlight reel. He holds the record for most electrifying plays in a carreer, and holds the record for most missed plays. His long runs were great, but when it comes down to it, I would take a Marcus Allen over him. Honestly, I would want a player that could break the big one, but could also carry the load. Too many times he would have a 1.2+/- yard per carry until he broke the 85 yarder. That only scores one touchdown. Guys like Emmitt, Marcus, Riggins could score 3 touchdowns in 7 yards. They could get you the 3 or 4th and 1. That’s what made their teams winners and them better running backs, but not as “fun” to watch.

  107. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 12:42 PM

    I’m a die hard Cowboy Fan from the late 60″s up to now and I must say. If Barry had Emmits line he would have destroyed the record books in 7 years with holes so ride open I could have got 10 yards. Along with that baryy retired 3-4 years before he needed to and Emmit stayed around just to get the record when he should have retired.

    ————————————————————-

    Really. Emmitt gained 2,168 yards and and scored 16 TDs in his last three seasons (41 games played). Not “Emmit in his prime” production, but definitely not chopped liver. There are plenty of guys in the NFL right now that haven’t matched that production in the last three years.

  108. hatesycophants says: Jul 12, 2011 12:53 PM

    My team and my favorite player of all time, so I have to add my bit… Barry is the greatest running back of all time. The runs against the Bucs. The run against the Patriots. The runs against the Bears. I have seen, either in person or on television or on video, every run of Barry’s professional career. However, the one that sticks out in my mind is on a Monday night against the 49ers. May have been his last Monday night game. Barry broke away for a long gain where he wasn’t touched for 25 yards. Near the end of the run, at about the 20 yard line, he does a 360 and it was like you could hear a whooshing sound as he turned. It was totally unclear why he had made a move when no one was near until the camera panned out and there was a defender at least 15 yards away. The beauty of Barry is that he often appeared to be putting a move on every defender on the field, whether they were engaged or near the play or not. He could put a move on you with his shoulders, his hips, his feet or all three simultaneously. Jim Brown and Walter Payton thought Barry was the best. I agree.

  109. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 12:53 PM

    The Lions were 4-3 with Barry on the sidelines. As I said earlier, the Cowboys were 1-6 with Emmitt on the sidelines.

  110. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 12:55 PM

    So what does a RUNNING Back do? Walk?

    ——————————————————–

    Run, catch, block. Why do I have to explain this to you?

  111. bhindenemylines says: Jul 12, 2011 1:02 PM

    Knightlines says:
    Jul 12, 2011 9:34 AM
    Its not a bebate really, Barry would of needed 2 more years to break the record, Emmitt needed another team, lol.

    ________________________________

    Wrong. Emmitt broke the record at Texas Stadium as a member of the Cowboys.

    Next time do your research.

  112. bhindenemylines says: Jul 12, 2011 1:04 PM

    Dynasty says:
    Jul 12, 2011 9:42 AM
    Barry would own most yrds record if he wanted! Barry hands down!

    _______________________

    Yes, but he quit because he was on a terrible team and knew he wasn’t getting traded.

    Emmitt once played a whole game with a dislocated shoulder.

    Which player would you want on your team??? The quitter or the guy who plays through pain and agony?

  113. bhindenemylines says: Jul 12, 2011 1:08 PM

    mannyicey says:
    Jul 12, 2011 9:55 AM
    First of all, you do have to look at the line. The Cowboys were a complete championship team. Therefore, they were balanced and could beat you without Emmitt.
    _______________________________

    Obviously another guy who does not know the facts.

    The year Emmitt held out and missed the first two games of the season and they went 0-2. At this point JJ realized they couldn’t do it without Emmitt and gave him a huge contract.

  114. vineee1 says: Jul 12, 2011 1:09 PM

    Watch a game “Barry”

    Win a game Emmitt”

  115. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 1:10 PM

    Bottom line here is a bunch of people making excuses as to why Barry didn’t do what he didn’t do, and making more excuses for why Emmitt Smith did what he did.

    That tell you all you need to know.

  116. foreverengland says: Jul 12, 2011 1:12 PM

    Today’s comparison – Barry Sanders and Emmit Smith. Tomorrow’s comparison – Luciano Pavarotti and Josh Groban.

  117. bhindenemylines says: Jul 12, 2011 1:12 PM

    Love to see stories like this and then look at the thumbs up/thumbs down.

    Just goes to show that the Cowboys have more Haters than the Lions have fans.

  118. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 1:13 PM

    Barry was arguably the most electric RB of all-time.

    ———————————————————

    Good point. If Barry was electric, Emmitt was diesel.

  119. gregjennings85 says: Jul 12, 2011 1:20 PM

    Dallas fans:

    No need to be defensive. You had a great offensive line. Heck, that’s one of the biggest reasons you won 3 Super Bowls in the 90′s.

    Emmitt Smith’s success was very much a result of having one of the biggest, strongest lines in NFL history opening up running lanes for him.

    Emmit: Ran through giant lanes, on a regular basis.

    Barry: Usually had to make a defender miss the instant the ball was handed off to him, not to mention, was regularly tasked with an unblocked defender, as “his”.

    Also: Best quarterback Barry Sanders ever played with: Erik Kramer? Scott Mitchell?

    Best QB Emmitt ever played with: Troy Aikman.

    Come on, Cowboys fans, you act like you would’ve turned down a swap of Sanders for Smith in 1992. We all know you would have done that deal in a heartbeat.

    You can go on idolizing Smith, as well you should, but coming from a Packers fan that spent many a long day despising each RB (as he was destroying the Packers’ defensive front seven), I can objectively state that Barry Sanders struck a lot more fear in opposing defenses than Emmit Smith ever did.

  120. marjax says: Jul 12, 2011 1:24 PM

    oop, looks like melonnhead logged into his 2nd account to make it look like someone else agrees with him.

    Hey enemy lines, everything you’re saying’s already been said. Both of you are idiots for calling Sanders a quitter.

    I also laughed at the argument that REAL football fans would choose Emmitt over Barry, then made no attempt to explain their reasoning. Way to be insulting just for the hell of it.

    I hate the internet, for all the morons it gives an outlet to.

  121. kindbass says: Jul 12, 2011 1:26 PM

    I still think Bo Jackson was the greatest to ever run with a football. Getting hurt the way he did might have been one of the most unfortunate things in the history of American sports.

  122. m2karateman says: Jul 12, 2011 1:31 PM

    @melonhead
    You obviously never watched the Lions, and know NOTHING about the team.
    1. Barry danced only when he had to. He danced when he had defenders immediately in front of him. He avoided contact with ease, which is why he barely got hurt in his career.

    2. Barry played in the “run and shoot” offense NOT for most of his career, but for only a couple seasons. Most of his career he played in a conventional offense, same as Emmitt.

    3. You cannot discount the effect of having a quality offensive line and its effect on the success of a running back. You may want to, but reason and common sense states otherwise.

    4. There is no “runner” position, but since the position in question is 90% about being a successful “runner”, I stand by my statements.

    5. Emmitt ran for more first downs, yet didn’t get as many YPC in his career. I think the object is not to get first downs, but get as many yards as possible on each carry. Winner: Barry Sanders.

  123. kindbass says: Jul 12, 2011 1:34 PM

    Anyways, this is my personal Top 5, if I had one season to win the Super Bowl.

    1. Bo Jackson
    2. Jim Brown
    3. Barry Sanders
    4. Walter Payton
    5. Emmitt Smith

  124. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 1:40 PM

    Hey enemy lines, everything you’re saying’s already been said. Both of you are idiots for calling Sanders a quitter.

    —————————————————————-

    Why? He got upset and quit. And he tried to take the Lions’ money with him.

  125. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 1:43 PM

    I can objectively state that Barry Sanders struck a lot more fear in opposing defenses than Emmit Smith ever did.

    ————————————————————

    Actually, you can’t say that with any objectivity at all.

  126. mymorningstory says: Jul 12, 2011 1:45 PM

    People are saying: barry didn’t block, Barry couldn’t do it from the 5 yard line..

    You try playing 12 on 1 and see where you end up!
    As an Eagles fan – Barry is the best there was, the best there is, and the best there ever will be!

  127. kindbass says: Jul 12, 2011 1:47 PM

    Of course, it’s always weird comparing eras of football. You send Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson in a time machine back to 1992, and they would destroy teams. Likewise, 1992 Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith would probably be mediocre running backs in 2011. 1960s Jim Brown probably wouldn’t even make a roster in 2011.

  128. hatesycophants says: Jul 12, 2011 1:51 PM

    I would also like to point out that I still hate the Packers and their fans. Hey Cowboys, you remember the other guy the Packers passed up on to select Tony Mandarich?

  129. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 1:59 PM

    Jim Brown and Walter Payton thought Barry was the best. I agree.

    ————————————————————

    Got quotes?

  130. billsfan1 says: Jul 12, 2011 2:06 PM

    I got to watch thurman Thomas growing up and let me tell u…the only rbs I would ever have considered swapping for him would be Barry and emmett. I always want to see thurman and Barry play a meaningful game but it waso always game 16 and the bills would play kenny Davis cuz they would have it all locked up….
    That was an amazing era with those 3

  131. mezanine10 says: Jul 12, 2011 2:06 PM

    Smith never quit on his team by retiring prematurely for no apparent reason. That makes him better.

  132. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 2:07 PM

    Hey Cowboys, you remember the other guy the Packers passed up on to select Tony Mandarich?

    —————————————————–

    Barry and Deion Sanders, Derrick Thomas, Andre Rison, Steve Atwater, Carnell Lake, Stepnoski, Beebe…

  133. billsfan1 says: Jul 12, 2011 2:16 PM

    Emmett smith 81.2 yards per game…..sanders 99.8 per game…sanders was one season.away from breaking the rushing record…it took emmett 3 or 4 more years..hands down Barry was the best…smith was good but believe me…thurman Thomas could have done what smith did in Dallas offense..who’s duplicating Barry

  134. tbpdog says: Jul 12, 2011 2:16 PM

    revisionist history!

    3 of the 5 starters for the Dallas OL were starters 3 years in Dallas before Emmitt was drafted…..they weren’[t pro bowlers until E got there.

    go look at the Lions of the early-mid 90′s, their passing game was routinely ranked higher than Dallas’

    Barry ypc in the playoffs dropped by 1 ypc, E’s went up above Barry…..can you say clutch?

    Barry was a better runner, but couldn’t block, catch, or run short yardage plays as well as E. E was the better football player by a mile.

    Barry might have gotten more yards in Dallas, but Dallas would not have won a title.

  135. tbpdog says: Jul 12, 2011 2:22 PM

    @ mymorningstory

    you are still mad because E DESTROYED the Eagles. Which brings me to competition. E did it vs the 90′s Giants, Skins and Eagles (all SB contenders…well maybe not Philly, but they had an awesome D)….Barry? not so much, the Bucs sucked, Bears D was….eh, the Packers were the only legit tough team.

  136. krashie21 says: Jul 12, 2011 2:26 PM

    The problem with this debate as I see it, is that for the un-informed Barry Sanders does LOOK like a better running back than Emmitt and thanks to the advent of continuous highlight reels on SportsCentre and video games there are many that think Barry was the greatest.

    But if we’re talking overall football ability combined with the skill at the position, Barry isn’t even in the same league.

    You in fact, can measure heart, selflessness and desire……Emmitt would block and take on the blitz and do everything to win.

    Barry? Wouldn’t/couldn’t block and quit on his team.

    Barry was fun to watch, but it’s a matter of substance over style…..that’s why Emmitt will always be a ‘better’ running-back than Barry.

    Is Barry more exciting? Absolutely. But excitement doesn’t get you rings and the overall rushing title.

    Here’s my list…….and anyone who puts LT and Thurman Thomas and ABOVE Emmitt Smith, is a testament to the underlying argument that we’re dealing with.

    1. Emmitt Smith
    2. Jim Brown
    3. Walter Payton
    4. Gale Sayers
    5. Barry Sanders
    6. Joe Perry
    7. Marshall Faulk
    8. Curtis Martin
    9. Tony Dorsett
    10. LaDainian Tomlinson
    11. OJ Simpson
    12. Eric Dickerson
    13. Marcus Allen
    14. Jerome Bettis
    15. Franco Harris
    16. Thurman Thomas
    17. Earl Campbell
    18. Edgerrin James
    19. Hugh McElhenny
    20. Ricky Watters
    21. Roger Craig

  137. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 2:27 PM

    @melonhead
    You obviously never watched the Lions, and know NOTHING about the team.

    ——————————————————-

    Why would I spend a lot of time brushing up on the Lions? They’ve sucked your entire lifetime. But I’ll tackle your points one at a time, just for fun.

    “1. Barry danced only when he had to. He danced when he had defenders immediately in front of him. He avoided contact with ease, which is why he barely got hurt in his career.”

    Emmitt relished contact and while he was with the Cowboys, he missed the same amount of games as Sanders did with the Lions (7).

    “2. Barry played in the “run and shoot” offense NOT for most of his career, but for only a couple seasons. Most of his career he played in a conventional offense, same as Emmitt.”

    More like 3 or 4 seasons, but point taken.

    “3. You cannot discount the effect of having a quality offensive line and its effect on the success of a running back. You may want to, but reason and common sense states otherwise.”

    quantify “quality offensive line” and remember that NONE of them started making pro bowls until after emmitt got there.

    “4. There is no “runner” position, but since the position in question is 90% about being a successful “runner”, I stand by my statements.”

    Emmitt caught 515 passes in his career. Without even including blocking… 90%? Please.

    5. Emmitt ran for more first downs, yet didn’t get as many YPC in his career. I think the object is not to get first downs, but get as many yards as possible on each carry. Winner: Barry Sanders.

    Barry was *routinely* pulled in short yardage situations because he was ineffective. Got that? More than one coaching regime realized that they had better options in those situations. Of course his per-carry average was inflated. You can’t get more than two yards on 3rd and goal from the two. Brings the average down, you know?

    And you’ve got it all wrong. The object is not first downs, the object is not yards per carry, because if it were we’d have to declare Marion Motley or Mercury Morris as the best ever. The object is to win. The only thing that wins games are points. Emmitt scored 1050. One of only two non-kickers to score more than 1,000 (Jerry Rice is the other). Barry scored 654.

    Game, set, match.

    Barry scored

  138. dikshuttle says: Jul 12, 2011 2:28 PM

    I never heard this argument. From anybody. Everyone knew Sanders was the best running back to play the game up to that point.

    I’m not saying which was better. I’m a Redskins fan. I’m biased – as are Dallas & Detroit fans.

    I’m just saying I never heard anyone make the argument for Emmit over Barry. Not once.

  139. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 2:29 PM

    You try playing 12 on 1 and see where you end up!

    ——————————————————————

    12 on 1? So you’re saying that the ref was playing against him, too?

  140. krashie21 says: Jul 12, 2011 2:30 PM

    kindbass says:
    Jul 12, 2011 1:47 PM
    Of course, it’s always weird comparing eras of football. You send Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson in a time machine back to 1992, and they would destroy teams. Likewise, 1992 Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith would probably be mediocre running backs in 2011. 1960s Jim Brown probably wouldn’t even make a roster in 2011.
    _________________________________

    Jim Brown probably wouldn’t make a roster in 2011???????

    How silly…….

    Jim Brown could probably make a roster THIS MONTH compared to some of the RBs coming out of college these days.

  141. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 2:35 PM

    Emmett smith 81.2 yards per game…..sanders 99.8 per game…sanders was one season.away from breaking the rushing record…it took emmett 3 or 4 more years

    ———————————————————

    So you’re saying that Sanders would have broken it in his 11th season. Emmitt DID break it in his 13th season. Buy a calculator.

  142. kindbass says: Jul 12, 2011 2:49 PM

    krashie21 says: Jul 12, 2011 2:30 PM

    Jim Brown probably wouldn’t make a roster in 2011???????

    How silly…….

    Jim Brown could probably make a roster THIS MONTH compared to some of the RBs coming out of college these days.
    ———————————
    We’re talking about 50 years ago. Players are exponentially faster, stronger, and bigger. You stick Jim Brown on the Cleveland Browns in 2011 (I’ll even give him the benefit of a modern o-line and offense), and stick him against, say, the 2011 Ravens D, and I’d be surprised if he finished the game with positive yardage. Oh well, agree to disagree. I stand by my statement.

  143. vikesfansteve says: Jul 12, 2011 2:53 PM

    Sanders is a quitter.

    Just like LT sulking on the bench while the Chargers almost won the AFC Championship.

    Just imagine the #’s if he had heart like Smith instead of his own.

  144. unkleruckus says: Jul 12, 2011 2:54 PM

    melonnhead says:
    Jul 12, 2011 2:35 PM

    _____________________

    Jim Brown has publicly stated that Barry was the best RB he has seen….
    Walter Payton has publicly stated that Barry was the best RB he has seen….
    Bo Jackson said “When I grow up, I want to run like Barry Sanders (half-jokingly)”
    Excuse me if I value whatthey say over someone who calls himself Melonhead! What a clown.

  145. vikesfansteve says: Jul 12, 2011 2:56 PM

    Seen him lately?

    Bo knows how to eat.

  146. steeltiger34 says: Jul 12, 2011 2:57 PM

    Barry. There is no debate. Barry played on a team with a sub-par line and QB. The offense was Barry. Emmitt palyed with Irvin, Aikman, Johnston and a tremendous o-line. In addition, he broke payton’s record because he played well past his prime.

  147. bennyblanco99 says: Jul 12, 2011 3:00 PM

    Barry Sanders & Emmitt Smith were my childhood!!! The draft class of 1990 is one of the greatest of all-time IMO.
    But… If I was putting together a Dream Team of the GOAT… Barry Sanders hands down would be my RB

  148. hatesycophants says: Jul 12, 2011 3:04 PM

    @krashie21,

    What evidence/stat can you produce to substantiate your claim that “Barry wouldn’t/couldn’t block?” No one of note on Barry’s team considered his retirement to be quitting on his team. If Barry had just wanted to get away from the Lions, he could have easily pulled a Brett Favre and played damn near any team in the league. He retired. He was done. It was his choice to make. He didn’t want to become what Smiff became; just some ath-a-lete chasing a record. Barry said from the beginning that he didn’t care about breaking records and he was true to his word. The one time I saw him let loose was when he broke 2,000, but he was happier that the Lions got a playoff berth. Some players need the records and the slavish adoration of “fans” like you and melonhead. Not the truly greats, though.

  149. deathspiralx says: Jul 12, 2011 3:05 PM

    No question in my mind: Emmit over Barry.

    * Emmit gives me the tough yards, while Barry was prone to be stuffed behind the line. Barry was more likely to break one, but I want to move the chains and win games, not make the ESPN highlight reel.

    * Barry quit RIGHT before the start of the season. He’s a prone to brooding and higher maintenance.

  150. jimmylions says: Jul 12, 2011 3:25 PM

    Barry!

    When it was the Barry vs Emmit show, Barry always won.

    When they faced off head to head on national TV, Lions vs Cowboys in the playoffs and Lions vs Cowboys on Monday Night Football … Barry’s numbers were always better than Emmit’s!

    And off the field, Barry’s character was never in question, which is definitely not true of Emmit.

  151. krashie21 says: Jul 12, 2011 3:27 PM

    hatesycophants says:
    Jul 12, 2011 3:04 PM
    @krashie21,

    What evidence/stat can you produce to substantiate your claim that “Barry wouldn’t/couldn’t block?” No one of note on Barry’s team considered his retirement to be quitting on his team. If Barry had just wanted to get away from the Lions, he could have easily pulled a Brett Favre and played damn near any team in the league. He retired. He was done. It was his choice to make. He didn’t want to become what Smiff became; just some ath-a-lete chasing a record. Barry said from the beginning that he didn’t care about breaking records and he was true to his word. The one time I saw him let loose was when he broke 2,000, but he was happier that the Lions got a playoff berth. Some players need the records and the slavish adoration of “fans” like you and melonhead. Not the truly greats, though.
    ___________________________________

    Hmmmmm…..it’s a well known FACT that Sanders never had the stomach to block and as others have put it, he quit right before the season. When you’re the best player on the team, that’s quitting on your team.

    He couldn’t have pulled a Favre, because Detroit wasn’t going to give up his rights under any circumstances and HE KNEW THAT.

    And, Emmitt played another 2 seasons after “chasing” the record and his last season he had over 900-yards behind the Arizona line…….there’s a guy who played for the love of the game and would do anything to win.

    Two things no one could/can say legitimately about Barry.

  152. fmwarner says: Jul 12, 2011 3:34 PM

    I always find the way to figure these kinds of debates out is to imagine which guy you’d want on your team.

    In this case, it’s not even close. Give me Emmitt Smith.

  153. SmurfJuice says: Jul 12, 2011 3:36 PM

    melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 2:29 PM

    You try playing 12 on 1 and see where you end up!

    ——————————————————————

    12 on 1? So you’re saying that the ref was playing against him, too?

    *****************************************
    The Lions have routinely played against the Zebras as well. Consider last season’s Calvin Johnson catch.. The only time you’ll ever see a zebra screw a Lion is on a football field.

    But anyways, I don’t think there is much comparison.

    Barry Sanders’ Pro Bowl teammates: WR Herman Moore 4 (3AP), KR Mel Gray 4 (3AP), T Lomas Brown 5 (1AP), LB Chris Spielman 4 (1AP), DT Jerry Ball 3 (1AP), C Kevin Glover 3, DL Robert Porcher 1, K Jason Hanson 1, DB Bennie Blades 1, LB Pat Swilling 1.

    Emmitt Smith’s Pro Bowl teammates: G Larry Allen 7 (6AP), DB Darren Woodson 5 (3AP), DB Deion Sanders 4 (3AP), G Nate Newton 6 (2AP), T Erik Williams 4 (2AP), WR Michael Irvin 5 (1AP), TE Jay Novacek 5 (1AP), QB Troy Aikman 6 (0AP), DE Charles Haley 2 (1AP), DT LaRoi Glover 1, LB Dexter Coakley 2, OL Mark Stepnoski 3, C Ray Donaldson 2, FB Daryl Johnston 2, OL/DL Mark Tuinei 2, DL Leon Lett 2, LB Ken Norton 1, DE Tony Tolbert 1, LB Jim Schwantz 1, DT Russell Maryland 1, DB Thomas Everett 1.

    Please note, Barry had TWO offensive linemen go to the Pro Bowl. And NEVER in the same season. Barry Sanders had TEN teammates selected to the Pro Bowl. You can make a legitimate argument that NINE of Emmitt’s teammates could be in the Hall of Fame.

    Take the names of every starter on each Lions and each Cowboys team, spread them out on your draft board. You need to draft your 22 starters to build your team. I can guarantee you will select more players from “University of Dallas” than from “Detroit Community College”.

    Barry Sanders was a Top-Five running back in every season of his career. Emmitt padded his numbers in Arizona, where he was 15th-21st in the league. I would have a bit more respect for Emmitt if he had walked away after his Cowboys career, like Barry did, rather than hanging on. The man had rings, had the numbers, had everything… Why would you go to the desert and tarnish your legacy?

    Jim Brown, Barry Sanders, Walter Payton. Put them three in any order, as long as those are your top three.

  154. dexterismyhero says: Jul 12, 2011 3:37 PM

    I’d still take Sayers. Run, catch, kick and punt returns.

  155. peelmybatwings says: Jul 12, 2011 3:40 PM

    Well, I guess Jim Brown is a quitter, too, so you would take Emmitt over him? I love how melonhead is trying like crazy to post anything he can find in favor of Emmitt, and yet, outside of Cowboys fans, nobody really agrees with him. I saw Emmitt all the time, I’m an Eagles fan. He killed us, but I always felt like the O-line was killing us first and foremost. How can anyone sit here and try to say that line wasn’t one of the top three lines in history? Just because Emmitt didn’t have a very good backup who would light it up when he wasn’t in there doesn’t automatically mean that it was all Smith. Really, stop trying, you’re clearly breaking a sweat, getting angry, and just sitting in front of this post for way too long (you have by far the most posts). It is clear on this site, it was clear when voted on for the NFL Networks 100 greatest players of all time, and for the people who actually watched to two play, it was clear then. Barry. Now, if you want to say you would want Smith on your team if you had to choose, that’s up to you. He was great, but there was never anyone like Barry (Gale Sayers?), and there might never be.

  156. marcus158 says: Jul 12, 2011 3:44 PM

    melonnhead says:
    Jul 12, 2011 12:55 PM
    So what does a RUNNING Back do? Walk?

    ——————————————————–

    Run, catch, block. Why do I have to explain this to you?

    _____________

    It’s called a “sarcastic response” cretin. You pointed out to someone else that there was no “runner” position in football.

    All I did was sarcastically point out that if there was no runners (i.e. running backs) then what would they do – walk?

  157. jmack1979 says: Jul 12, 2011 3:46 PM

    No need, Barry. We all know you were better. That’s not to take anything away from Emmitt, but you were the best RB of all time, in my mind.

    Emmitt, I think is a top-20 RB, but nowhere near you.

    My list:

    1.) Barry Sanders
    2.) Jim Brown
    3.) Walter Payton
    4.) Earl Campbell
    5.) OJ Simpson
    6.) Gale Sayers
    7.) Bo Jackson
    8.) Eric Dickerson
    9.) LaDainian Tomlinson
    10.) Thurman Thomas
    11.) Emmitt Smith
    12.) Marshall Faulk
    13.) Tony Dorsett
    14.) Marcus Allen
    15.) Jim Taylor
    16.) Joe Perry
    17.) Chris Johnson*
    18.) Adrian Peterson*
    19.) Edgerrin James
    20.) Curtis Martin
    ——————————————–

    Peterson and Johnson above Bettis? Thats a Joke,Thats like ranking Terrel Davis

  158. peelmybatwings says: Jul 12, 2011 3:52 PM

    Emmitt’s teammates have said that it got annoying in the huddle, how Emmitt always knew how many yards and carries he had up to that point, and I remember reading an SI article halfway through his career, where he talks about what it would be like to break Payton’s record someday. I wish I had the actual quotes, but you can look them up if I’m lying. My point is, Emmitt has the rings, but I don’t think they matter to him more than his stats did. Remember in Barry’s rookie year, when he was neck-and-neck with Christian Okoye the last week of the season for the rushing record? Barry lost I think by 10 yards, but only because they took him out of the game in the second half. He wasn’t going to stay in for the title, he could care less about it. Could you imagine Emmitt ever allowing that to happen? The numbers never mattered to Barry, he just wanted to win, and yet, some people on here say he had no heart. Unbelievable.

  159. peelmybatwings says: Jul 12, 2011 4:01 PM

    krashie21, again, where has any of his coaches or teammates said that Barry couldn’t block? How is this a FACT? Well, since we’re stating FACTS that aren’t actually FACTS, here’s a few. FACT: Barry’s mini afro he had for a few years was way better than Emmitt’s box. FACT: The Cowboys O-line held more and got away with it than any I’ve seen before or since. FACT: Barry’s 5.0 per pop were greater than Emmitt’s 4.2. Oh, wait, that is a FACT. FACT: I have Youtubed Barry’s highlights many times, why would I ever watch an Emmitt highlight? (Although that doesn’t mean he wasn’t great, just not as great as Barry)

  160. gregjennings85 says: Jul 12, 2011 4:12 PM

    melonhead:

    You are the prince of semantics.

    Fine, I’ll restate:

    I can objectively state: Sanders struck more fear in me than Smith, when carrying the football.

    Happy?

  161. txhc says: Jul 12, 2011 4:19 PM

    I’m a Cowboys fan and I’ll say it for you Barry. You were better than Emmitt. Emmitt has all the records, but that’s because he had the best O-line of all time and he played a lot longer. Don’t get me wrong, Emmitt was still great, but you put Barry Sanders on the 90′s Cowboys and his records would be unbreakable.

    Love ya Emmitt, but Barry Sanders hands down.

  162. gregjennings85 says: Jul 12, 2011 4:19 PM

    Yes, I would much rather have Dickerson, Thurman or LT than Emmitt. Are we talking about a real decision between better RBs? Then I would want who I listed in order.

    As for Bettis being better than Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson…that’s just patronage bleeding out.

    Moreover, Dallas fans, we get it, you love Emmitt. That doesn’t make him any better of a RB than he was. And he was very good, just not within reach of the top RBs of all time.

  163. txhc says: Jul 12, 2011 4:33 PM

    “melonnhead says:
    Jul 12, 2011 10:04 AM
    Better OL blah blah blah the best offensive linemen the Cowboys had were there years before Emmitt got there in 1990 and they weren’t regarded as anything special. Nate Newton got there in 1986, Mark Tuinei in 1983, Kevin Gogan in 1987, Mark Stepnoski in 1989. Larry Allen wasn’t drafted until 1994.

    Barry coulda woulda shoulda. Emmitt DID. That’s the bottom line. All else is conjecture.”

    Wow, this is all kinds of wrong. You might want to google all those guys before you spout off like that. The correct information is available to you if you just take 2 seconds to seek it out.

  164. eyesofjustice says: Jul 12, 2011 4:54 PM

    I’d take 3 time Super Bowl Champion and Super Bowl MVP over a disputable title of the “greatest” running back in NFL history. Barry Sanders was great, but there are too many intangibles to factor in to be called the greatest.

  165. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 5:18 PM

    “melonnhead says:
    Jul 12, 2011 10:04 AM
    Better OL blah blah blah the best offensive linemen the Cowboys had were there years before Emmitt got there in 1990 and they weren’t regarded as anything special. Nate Newton got there in 1986, Mark Tuinei in 1983, Kevin Gogan in 1987, Mark Stepnoski in 1989. Larry Allen wasn’t drafted until 1994.

    Barry coulda woulda shoulda. Emmitt DID. That’s the bottom line. All else is conjecture.”

    Wow, this is all kinds of wrong. You might want to google all those guys before you spout off like that. The correct information is available to you if you just take 2 seconds to seek it out.

    ————————————————————

    Do you care to point out what’s wrong with my statements?

  166. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 5:26 PM

    I can objectively state: Sanders struck more fear in me than Smith, when carrying the football.

    —————————————————–

    That’s much better. Emmitt never rushed 13 times for negative yardage against the Packers, though. ESPECIALLY not in the playoffs.

  167. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 5:28 PM

    It’s called a “sarcastic response” cretin.

    —————————————————————

    haha you called me a “cretin”! Quick, somebody call Michael Irvin!

  168. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 5:31 PM

    Well, I guess Jim Brown is a quitter, too, so you would take Emmitt over him? I love how melonhead is trying like crazy to post anything he can find in favor of Emmitt, and yet, outside of Cowboys fans, nobody really agrees with him.

    —————————————————————-

    I dont need anybody to agree with me to be right. Popularity contests are for people like you, not people like me.

  169. txhc says: Jul 12, 2011 5:32 PM

    The fact that you make it seem as if that O-line was no big deal. That’s crazy.

  170. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 5:38 PM

    Barry!

    When it was the Barry vs Emmit show, Barry always won.

    When they faced off head to head on national TV, Lions vs Cowboys in the playoffs and Lions vs Cowboys on Monday Night Football … Barry’s numbers were always better than Emmit’s!

    And off the field, Barry’s character was never in question, which is definitely not true of Emmit.

    ———————————————————

    It was never the “Barry vs. Emmitt show”. Neither of them played defense!

    As far as Barry’s character is concerned, you may want to research how he preached abstinence from his pulpit then went out and knocked up some hoodrat. Also the way he screwed the Lions over and tried to steal their money reflects directly on his character. Or rather, his lack of character. Not sure what you’re talking about regarding Emmitt.

  171. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 5:49 PM

    The fact that you make it seem as if that O-line was no big deal. That’s crazy.

    ——————————————————–

    They weren’t a big deal until Emmitt got there. None of those guys that I mentioned even sniffed a Pro Bowl until after Emmitt got there.

    We can agree that Emmitt was drafted in 1990, can’t we?

    Stepnoski got there in 1989, didn’t make the Pro Bowl until 1992.
    Kevin Gogan got there in 1987. He didn’t make a Pro Bowl until 1994. AFTER he left the Cowboys.
    Nate Newton got there in 1986. No Pro Bowls until 1992.
    Mark Tuinei got there in 1983. No Pro Bowls until 1994. His 12th season! After 11 years did he all of a sudden get better?

    And like I said, unquestionably the best of the group by far, Larry Allen, didn’t get there until 1994. Emmitt already had 5700 yards, 50 TDs, 3 rushing titles, two super bowl wins, a super bowl mvp and an NFL MVP award by that time.

  172. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 5:57 PM

    If Barry had just wanted to get away from the Lions, he could have easily pulled a Brett Favre and played damn near any team in the league. He retired. He was done.

    —————————————————————–

    Your opinions don’t jibe with the truth. Sanders said that he’d pay the Lions back their signing bonus money if they’d cut or trade him so he could play somewhere else.

    “We’ve been saying all along, since they need the cap relief, we’ve told them, ‘If you release his rights, or under the right circumstances trade his rights, we’ll give you the cap relief. They said no. We said, ‘He’ll never play for you again.’ Their response is, ‘If he plays again, he’ll play for us.’” – David Ware, Sanders’ agent in September of 1999

  173. krashie21 says: Jul 12, 2011 6:22 PM

    gregjennings85 says:
    Jul 12, 2011 4:19 PM
    Yes, I would much rather have Dickerson, Thurman or LT than Emmitt. Are we talking about a real decision between better RBs? Then I would want who I listed in order.
    _________________________________

    Then, you better have a quarterback who has eyes in the back of his head and can run like a deer because NONE of those guys were overly willing to pick up blitzes.

    Emmitt was and that’s why he has 3-rings, an MVP, an SB-MVP and more yards than anyone else.

    I think you guys are all upset with Mellonhead because his arguments are too strong.

    Keep the SportsCentre Top-1o out of your head and look at the numbers and the intangibles.

    Emmitt is the best and was a winner. Barry was an incredible talent, but was a quitter and disappeared in the playoffs…….Emmitt only got better when the stakes were highest.

  174. visible4 says: Jul 12, 2011 6:33 PM

    I believe it was Ditka who at the time said Sanders was the only player in NFL history that teams had to create special drills so they could learn how to stop him. Rod Woodson blew out his knee trying to make an open field tackle against Sanders. Sanders was without a doubt the most electrifying player ever. But his no yard playoff appearances and his inability to convert short yardage when it mattered make it very hard to consider him the best RB. The criteria for being the best has to include doing it when it mattered, and Sanders never could do it when it mattered. Emmit Smith did, even if he was the benefactor of the Cowboys dynasty.

  175. lionsfan2086 says: Jul 12, 2011 7:01 PM

    Just figured I’d post some stats for those saying that Emmitt was the better receiver out of the backfield.

    Barry: 352 receptions 2921 yards 8.3 average 10 TDs

    Emmitt: 515 receptions 3224 yards 6.3 average 11 TDs

    Another note: Barry was a Pro Bowler for each of his 10 seasons. Emmitt made it 8 out of 15. Barry was a first team all pro 6 times. Emmitt was selected 4 times.

  176. chin35char says: Jul 12, 2011 7:06 PM

    Barry Sanders is my favorite player of all time. So of course I think he was better then Emmit Smith. Though it will always be a debate!

  177. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 7:21 PM

    Emmitt is the best and was a winner. Barry was an incredible talent, but was a quitter and disappeared in the playoffs…….Emmitt only got better when the stakes were highest.

    ———————————————————-

    You know, that’s a good point.

    Barry Sanders regular season:
    99.7 yards per game
    5.0 yards per carry average
    0.65 TDs scored per game played

    Barry Sanders post-season:
    64.3 yards per game
    4.2 yards per carry average
    0.16 TDs scored per game played

    Emmitt Smith regular season:
    81.2 yards per game
    4.2 yards per carry average
    0.72 TDs scored per game played

    Emmitt Smith post-season:
    93.3 yards per game
    4.5 yards per carry average
    1.1 TDs scored per game played

    Against the NFL’s elite teams, Barry wilted. Emmitt shined.

  178. peelmybatwings says: Jul 12, 2011 7:48 PM

    melonnhead says:
    Jul 12, 2011 5:31 PM
    Well, I guess Jim Brown is a quitter, too, so you would take Emmitt over him? I love how melonhead is trying like crazy to post anything he can find in favor of Emmitt, and yet, outside of Cowboys fans, nobody really agrees with him.

    —————————————————————-

    I dont need anybody to agree with me to be right. Popularity contests are for people like you, not people like me.

    When you say “people like you,” I guess you mean Barry’s peers who actually played against him and ranked him #17 all time, and Emmitt #22. So you are obviously right and we are wrong. Also, I need to correct you, against the NFL’s elite teams, the Dallas O-line shined, shined gaping holes for Emmitt to run right through.

  179. peelmybatwings says: Jul 12, 2011 7:50 PM

    Actually, I’m wrong, Emmitt was ranked #28, I think.

  180. billsfan1 says: Jul 12, 2011 8:00 PM

    Barry sanders passes up carries in the 4th quarter of game 16 in his rookie year to give his back up carries……he misses the rushing title by mere yards and surely a big bonus…..I’m sorry…who thinks he is classless?

    The team that was notorious for drugs prostitutes and breaking the law? Oh and Michael Irvin is one of the most overrated wrs of all time……

  181. stairwayto7 says: Jul 12, 2011 8:04 PM

    Sanders with Dallas would have rushed for over 23,000 yds with those holding calls the refs never called.
    Emmit with Det woudl ahve been out of NFL in 5 years and not been on Dancing with the Stars!

  182. bringbacktheflex says: Jul 12, 2011 9:06 PM

    I’m sure that Lomas Brown and Kevin Glover would be glad to hear that they were crappy players. LB was All-Pro and Glover made the pro bowl as a Center and Guard. The idea that Sanders had a crappy line is bogus.

    Also, Smith had plenty of long runs in his career. Was he a threat to go all the way every play? No, partly because he wasn’t looking to go all the way every play. Consequently he moved the ball and took what the defense gave him. Sanders didn’t want to get hit and so he often lost yardage when the team just needed a first down.

    To say that Smith got the records because he had a better supporting cast is to say that Jerry Rice got all his records because he had two HoF QBs throwing to him most of his career. Care to step on that minefield?

  183. bringbacktheflex says: Jul 12, 2011 9:10 PM

    The old “Sanders was the only weapon on that team while Smith had Irvin and Novacek and Aikman” red herring…

    If you’re the ONLY weapon on a team then that means they are going to fire that weapon A LOT. Look at Payton. The only weapon for a long time on that Bears team. He got the ball a lot.

    And, Smith didn’t disappear in playoff games.

  184. krashie21 says: Jul 12, 2011 9:42 PM

    This is now the most commented on topic!!!!

    We passed Hines Ward!!!!

    And I want to thank all of those on behalf who spoke so passionately and accurately about Emmitt in what should have been a one-sided debate from the get go!

    It was the Emmitt people that did it!

    LOL!

  185. krashie21 says: Jul 12, 2011 10:02 PM

    Bringbacktheflex said:

    To say that Smith got the records because he had a better supporting cast is to say that Jerry Rice got all his records because he had two HoF QBs throwing to him most of his career. Care to step on that minefield?
    _________________________________

    Well that puts yet another pro-Sanders argument to rest.

    Well said.

  186. krashie21 says: Jul 12, 2011 10:11 PM

    billsfan1 says:
    Jul 12, 2011 8:00 PM
    Barry sanders passes up carries in the 4th quarter of game 16 in his rookie year to give his back up carries……he misses the rushing title by mere yards and surely a big bonus…..I’m sorry…who thinks he is classless?

    The team that was notorious for drugs prostitutes and breaking the law? Oh and Michael Irvin is one of the most overrated wrs of all time……
    _________________________________

    WOW! Your reaction reminds me of Andre Reed’s helmet toss in “2 of 4″……

    EVERY TEAM has had its share of shame off the field. The Cowboys visibility and success has heightened that (Bengals anyone?).

    Michael Irvin overrated? That’s pretty laughable. I could get into his career numbers and his leadership abilities, but I won’t, however the bitterness is understood considering how he shredded you in “3 of 4″ and highlighted it with 2-TDs within seconds….one of those was also one of the greatest catches in SB history.

    You remember? Don’t you?

  187. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 10:32 PM

    The team that was notorious for drugs prostitutes and breaking the law? Oh and Michael Irvin is one of the most overrated wrs of all time……

    ————————————————————

    Of course he is. Emmitt’s overrated, Irvin’s overrated, Aikman’s overrated, talk to enough haters and you will learn that all of them were overrated and it’s a miracle that they were able to win three Super Bowls in four years (including pounding the vastly V-A-S-T-L-Y overrated Bills twice in a row)

  188. melonnhead says: Jul 12, 2011 10:42 PM

    When you say “people like you,” I guess you mean Barry’s peers

    ——————————————————–

    No, I mean you. That top 100 list wasn’t voted on by players, it was voted on by a “blue ribbon panel” and it says so at the top of the list at nfl.com

  189. balzosteel says: Jul 12, 2011 11:25 PM

    Despite everything that our teachers taught us about math, 20 > 22.

    Any questions on todays lesson?

  190. zamp27 says: Jul 12, 2011 11:37 PM

    BARRY VS. EMMITT POLL

    Emmit Votes: Melonhead & Krashie21

    Barry Votes: Everyone Else!

    Krashie, Barry has 352 career catches for 2921 yds in 10 yrs, while Emmitt had 515 for 3224 yds in 15 yrs. Check the averages there and they show Barry had more catches and more rec yds per game and yards per catch. Check your FACTS. As there are no blocking stats, I will assume you made that Fact up!

  191. rambo110 says: Jul 13, 2011 1:23 AM

    I’d take Emmitt. Here’s a good example:

    In the Cowboys’ 30-13 drubbing of the Bills in Super Bowl XXVIII, for the their first offensive possession in the second half, the Cowboys marched methodically down the field into the endzone on an 8 play, 64 yard drive. 7 of those plays were handoffs to Emmitt, who earned 61 of those 64 yards on the drive, scoring on a 15 yard rush. He finished the day with 30 carries for 132 yds and 2 TDs, and was named MVP.

    And anyone who says that Aikman, Irvin, and Emmitt are overrated should seriously have their posting privileges revoked. Maybe look up their long list of achievements before you start littering this message board with absurdities.

  192. jkb0162 says: Jul 13, 2011 4:03 AM

    I don’t know why the “great team” argument is always held against Emmitt. It’s never held against Derek Jeter, or Kobe Bryant. Yes, the Cowboys had a great team, but Emmitt was a big reason why they were great. They don’t win any of the three without him. Championships should count for something.

  193. melonnhead says: Jul 13, 2011 5:59 AM

    Sanders with Dallas would have rushed for over 23,000 yds with those holding calls the refs never called.

    ————————————————————–

    Wow, a Steeler fan whining about some other team getting favorable calls.

  194. 1bigtex says: Jul 13, 2011 8:15 AM

    @billsfan1

    I guess you’ve been watching that sad example of a pro football team in Buffalo for so long that it’s damaged your brain. So you think “Michael Irvin is one of the most overrated WRs of all time”. Here’s a little test for you. After Jerry Rice and Lance Alworth, find me another HOF WR with more yards per game than Irvin. I’ll wait.

  195. mannyicey says: Jul 13, 2011 8:57 AM

    bhindenemylines says: Jul 12, 2011 1:08 PM

    mannyicey says:
    Jul 12, 2011 9:55 AM
    First of all, you do have to look at the line. The Cowboys were a complete championship team. Therefore, they were balanced and could beat you without Emmitt.
    _______________________________

    Obviously another guy who does not know the facts.

    The year Emmitt held out and missed the first two games of the season and they went 0-2. At this point JJ realized they couldn’t do it without Emmitt and gave him a huge contract.

    What? Football is a game of balance. If you have a good passing game, your running game should automatically profit. And if you have a good running game, your passing game should profit. (Same as your offense helps your defense and vice-versa.) So if you hamper your running game, your passing game suffers because the defense can stack against the pass.

    Emmitt Smith was a good running back. Take him away and you may lose. Put him in and you get championships because he brings balance. But Barry Sanders played on an unbalanced offense.

    The passing game in Detroit was led by quarterbacks the likes of Rodney Peete, Dave Krieg, Scott Mitchell and others not worthy of being named. Remember? Wayne Fontes and Bobby Ross were their Head coaches?

    Here’s the bottom line: With that offense and coaching staff, Barry Sanders have absolutely no business putting up numbers that he put up. The Lions had no quarterback. The offensive line was below average. The only thing that they had was a nice receiver in Herman Moore. That’s it! And Barry Sanders went to the Hall of Fame in 9 seasons on that team.

    Meanwhile, Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, Mike Irvin were on the same team. And all Hall-of-Famers. You don’t think that Emmitt Smith didn’t benefit from Hall-of-Famers in the passing game? With Daryl Johnston at fullback? And Erik Williams and Nate Newton on the line? I mean, can you even NAME ONE offensive lineman from Detroit that blocked for Sanders?

    That’s why Sanders is the best: He played with little help on a team that was short of talent, yet he amassed all that yardage and propelled Detroit to, what… 4 or 5 playoff appearances? That’s why Barry’s the best!

  196. krashie21 says: Jul 13, 2011 10:49 AM

    1bigtex says:
    Jul 13, 2011 8:15 AM
    @billsfan1

    I guess you’ve been watching that sad example of a pro football team in Buffalo for so long that it’s damaged your brain. So you think “Michael Irvin is one of the most overrated WRs of all time”. Here’s a little test for you. After Jerry Rice and Lance Alworth, find me another HOF WR with more yards per game than Irvin. I’ll wait.
    __________________________________

    Something tells me you’re going to be waiting a while.

  197. steelmill says: Jul 13, 2011 10:52 AM

    twitter:Chapman_Jamie says:
    Jul 12, 2011 12:31 PM
    Again, can someone explain why Sherman Williams is not in the Hall of Fame since he had the opportunity to run behind the same spectacular OL that you all seem to credit all of Emmitt’s success to?

    Ahhh….maybe because he wasn’t as good as Emmitt…maybe?

  198. t16rich says: Jul 13, 2011 11:25 AM

    I will more than gladly say that for you Barry. Emmit is the guy in line behind the man. And you are the man. Emmit deserves all the records and that stuff. But the legend that is Barry Sanders sticks in my mind far more than Emmits carreer. Emmit and Barry. those 2 guys are both awesome.

  199. 1bigtex says: Jul 13, 2011 12:23 PM

    If I was concerned with watching someone get on ESPN’s highlights reel, I’d pick Sanders. The only thing Smith ever did was move the sticks, score TDs, rush for more yards, and win championships. I mean come on, how excited can you get about that? I want to watch someone bust loose for a long twisting run that wins nothing.

    While we’re at it, was I mistakened or did I read some moron (kindbass) proclaim that Jim Brown in his prime wouldn’t make an NFL team today and the same moron proclaimed a guy with less than 2800 yards and a grand total of 16 TDs to be the best RB? Please don’t drive or operate any heavy machinery until the drugs wear off, dude.

  200. nola4eva says: Jul 13, 2011 12:45 PM

    I can’t IMAGINE the numbers Barry would have put up if he had the same kind of football environment and players playing with him that Emmitt did..I liked both players, but as a RB and as far as talent goes, Barry wins this one hands down…forget the SBs and accolades of the 90′s Cowboys..let’s base this one on pure talent as a RB…Barry takes this one all the way…sorry Emmitt… And that is no knock on the great player Emmitt was.

  201. toledolions says: Jul 13, 2011 2:39 PM

    @ melonhead,
    Give it up, you aren’t gonna convince ANYBODY besides Cowboys fans that Emmitt was better. You have no legitimate case. Take Emmitt’s 10 best seasons against Barry’s 10 seasons and Sanders blows him out of the water in every meaningful category. This isn’t even a debate. Emmitt didn’t even match Barry’s rushing yards until 3 years after he retired.

  202. bringbacktheflex says: Jul 13, 2011 2:42 PM

    Sanders was a great RUNNING back. But Smith was the better all around back. He had everything Sanders had but his speed. And he could do things that Sanders couldn’t/wouldn’t do: block, take screens. People who think Smith wasn’t as shifty just plain hate Dallas.

    If you want to sell tickets take Sanders. If you want to win games take Smith. Pretty simple.

    BTW, Gale Sayers had as good of moves as Sanders, and he was bigger and was more versatile. You all are suffering from youth. :-)

  203. drithe says: Jul 13, 2011 2:53 PM

    If Michael Vick is a 9 on a scale of 10 of excitement, then he would be moved down to a 5 compared to Barry Sanders. Sanders is the most electrofying player in the history of the game, and it isn’t even close.

    I respect Emmit Smith. He took a pounding and gave one back. He earned his yards for sure. He also had the second greatest offensive line to ever play the game. They were second only the the hogs of the Redskins. He had a great quarterback and reciever as well to take the heat off of him.

    Sanders had subpar QB’s, one of the worst offensive lines in the game, no recievers and questionable coaching. But despite insurmountable odds, he gained his yards with the quickness and speed of a god.

    People in the stadium would hold thier breaths as he started his run. You could hear it. I swear it.

    There are videos of people from all over the world who watched this man do his magic. It was just amazing to see. If you think Michael Jordan was magic on the court, watch Barry Sanders run his best plays.

    In my opinion, Barry Sanders is the greatest running back and player of all time in the NFL.

  204. 1bigtex says: Jul 13, 2011 3:06 PM

    @toledolions

    Take Eric Dickerson’s first four seasons against Sanders best five seasons and Barry gets blown out of the water. Injuries and a strike screwed Dickerson over.

  205. bringbacktheflex says: Jul 13, 2011 3:31 PM

    drithe:”Sanders had subpar QB’s, one of the worst offensive lines in the game”.

    Again, do you even know what you are talking about? Lomas Brown played tackle for the Lions during Sanders career and he was ALL-PRO. Glover played Center and Guard and he was a pro-bowl player.

    Now you are going to argue that Sanders MADE them better. In that case you have to look at Smiths line and give him the benefit of the doubt. Tuenie didn’t even make pro-bowl until Smith came along. Neither did newton.

    Do some Google searches before you type. Sheesh.

  206. SmurfJuice says: Jul 13, 2011 3:35 PM

    To me, leaving the team you built your career on to go somewhere else and pad numbers/win titles dilutes your achievements.

    Michael Jordan was tarnished by the Wizards.
    Joe Montana was tarnished by the Chiefs (although not by his choice)
    Marcus Allen was tarnished by the Chiefs (although not by his choice)
    Ken Griffey Jr was tarnished by the Reds (and others)
    Clyde Drexler was tarnished by the Rockets
    LeBron James is tarnished by the Heat

    Emmitt Smith’s legacy was tarnished by his stint with the Cardinals.

    This is what makes Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit more special in my mind, because he did it all with his original team. If Emmitt had retired as a career-long Cowboy, I’d have a bit more respect for his achievements.

  207. oumoonunit says: Jul 13, 2011 4:58 PM

    Growing up in Dallas, I am no doubt a little bias, but I have one test that really tells me who I think is a better running back: If there is one second on the clock on a 4th and goal on the one yard line down 4 points, who would you rather give the ball. Sanders lead the league in lost yards every year he lead the league in yards (this also make the fact he lead the league more impressive). He is one of the most exciting players to ever play. I would still rather have a consistent 4 yards every carry like Smith gave you. If you gave Smith 3 carries, you would have a first down. If you did that with Sanders, you had about the same chances for a 70 yard TD as a punt.

    Both players were amazing, but I still say Jim Brown was the best ever.

  208. democratsarestupid says: Jul 13, 2011 6:31 PM

    Barry Sanders is simply a class act and could care less about who is better than whom. IMHO Barry is the greatest ever.

  209. discosucs2005 says: Jul 13, 2011 6:34 PM

    @oumoonunit

    ” If there is one second on the clock on a 4th and goal on the one yard line down 4 points, who would you rather give the ball. ”

    Jerome Bettis lol.

    I see your logic, and that’s a fair way to look at it, but I think there is more to it than just that. I mean, that’s kind of like saying “what pitcher do you trust in the bottom of the 9th?” I (I’m a Giants fan) would trust Brian Wilson. But I still think Tim Lincecum is the better pitcher, and would help a team more over the course of a season (although maybe not this season).

    I think your test should definitely be counted in determining who is the best, but just not the sole factor.

  210. 808raiderinparadise says: Jul 13, 2011 8:30 PM

    OK, Barry Sanders is not only better than Smith, he is the best RB ever from a .500 type team and worse. Emmitt was great as well but come on he played on the dream team with HOFers around him and on America’s team. Think of Detriot Lions Football …. nothing right? except Barry Sanders, he is the face of that football team and always will be. I will never forget tunning in to watch him every thanksgiving break crazy runs. Put him on that Cowboys team and well ……he would be one of the top 3 best players ever in the history of the NFL. How is Barry supposed to be a better reciever when he is being followed by 3 defenders every play? E. Smith could check swing into the flats wide open as defenses had to expand to cover Irvin and company.If Barry wanted to play 3-4 more years his records may never be broken, ever. Marshall Faulk was better than Emmitt Smith. check those stats out.

  211. shadowgm1 says: Jul 13, 2011 10:37 PM

    Barry doesn’t even need to say it. The statistics and supporting casts the two enjoyed say it all. Not too worried that Emmitt was able to last longer and gain 3,000 more yards (in six more seasons than Sanders).

    Classy guy to take that stance, lends truth to what I read awhile back about how he would feel terrible about being the guy that broke Payton’s all-time record (which ironically Smith eventually toppled).

    Barry Sanders, not even a question.

  212. rodell77 says: Jul 13, 2011 10:55 PM

    Thoes week lions teams made the playoffs in the 90′s. They beat the Cowboys a couple times in that time span. That said you can’t say that either of these Great backs was MUCH better than the other.
    Smith had more heart and it wasn’t even close. Sanders was more elusive and explosive. Heart wins more championships than talent alone. Advantage Smith.

  213. The Prophet says: Jul 14, 2011 2:28 AM

    Barry Sanders is one of the last truly selfless players in major league sports. he retired while still in great shape because he didn’t want to break Jim Brown’s record, and to this day still won’t say a bad word about anybody and would never even imply he was better or worse than anybody, I’ve never heard the slightest inkling of blame or regret towards his Lions teammates or coaches for keeping him away from a Super Bowl. And he also resisted any offers to join a different team JUST to win a ring. He enjoyed playing the game and that was enough.

  214. SmurfJuice says: Jul 14, 2011 3:07 AM

    No running back in history made you dizzy like Barry Sanders.

    He juked Hall of Famers until they were on injured reserve. He routinely ran 100 yards for a gain of 40. Watching him in slow-motion, it looked like HE didn’t even know where his feet were taking him. Take a poll of defensive coordinators and players in the 90s, “Which running back were you more worried about?”

    Advantage: Sanders.

  215. joetoronto says: Jul 14, 2011 5:50 AM

    urlacherbacker says: Jul 12, 2011 11:18 AM

    joetoronto says:
    “Smith was done by the time he got to the Cardinals. For those who don’t, or can’t, remember.”

    Says Who? I dont remember Smith saying that. I would take his word over yours.
    **************************************************
    What!?

    What an asinine comment, unbelievable.

  216. twitter:Chapman_Jamie says: Jul 14, 2011 7:16 AM

    I love it when Emmitt supporters destroy Barry supporters with facts and reason yet their comments get the “thumbs down”. Sad.

  217. jfigga says: Jul 14, 2011 8:32 AM

    Anyone who WATCHED these two backs knows Barry was a far superior player. I’m an Eagles fan and saw for years what Emmit did to us. But never for a second was it because of his talent. He was just a very good NFL back. Dallas was a well oiled machine. Emmit ran through gaping holes and did his thing. Barry Sanders skills have never before and will never again be seen. He lit up the league with an awful line and worse team. His ability was jaw dropping. People stopped what they were doing and watched 4-12 Lions games just to see Barry. He made pro bowl defenders look like pop Warner players. Barry, not even close.

  218. bringbacktheflex says: Jul 14, 2011 9:29 AM

    jfigga: “Barry Sanders skills have never before and will never again be seen”

    Again, check out some history before you spout dumb comments like this. Take a look at a link to Gale Sayers – all that Sanders was AND could actually break tackles, stiff arm opponents, and score TDs. Only 40 years before Sanders.

  219. bringbacktheflex says: Jul 14, 2011 10:25 AM

    SmurfJuice says: “Take a poll of defensive coordinators and players in the 90s, “Which running back were you more worried about?” ”

    Now take a poll of playoff team defensive coordinators of the 90′s. Let’s see:

    - 6 playoff games
    - 1 career playoff TD
    - in 4 outdoor playoff games he averaged 2.8 ypc
    - 1994 season avg 5.7 ypc, but in playoffs got -1 yard on 13 carries
    - never won an outdoor playoff game

    They had Herman Moore and Brett Perriman to stretch the field and most of their playoff defenses ranked in the top 10 or 15, so it wasn’t like Sanders was the only thing they had.

  220. marsh78 says: Jul 14, 2011 2:53 PM

    Barry Sander was better than Emmitt Smith, but Walter Payton was better than both of them. Payton did some pretty amazing things with a terrible Bears OL for most of his career. Just think if Walter had Emmitt’s OL for most of his career!

  221. tdk24 says: Jul 14, 2011 5:08 PM

    Sayers was good, but the defenses back then were sooo bad. Sanders was good but had no break away speed. He never could finish off those long runs with TD when it mattered. Emmitt just hit the holes at the right time and boom, he was gone. This one play always sticks out in my mind where he just did a half step to the left, hit the hole and headed straight down the field. The CBs and S’s all closed in to the middle of the field to hit him but he just zipped by them like they were in quicksand.
    Then you have Bo, and he was better than them all. It’s just too bad he didn’t have 15 years to blow away every stat a RB could have.

  222. arm57romg says: Jul 14, 2011 7:49 PM

    1. Emmitt never lost love for the game.
    2. The Giants game with the separated shoulder.

    Barry Sanders is the biggest big play threat in history, but saying he is better than Smith is like saying Chris Johnson is a better RB than Adrian Peterson. While CJ/Barry jump off the map in certain subjects, Smith/AD did absolutely everything a RB should do very well.

  223. cabletech92 says: Jul 14, 2011 7:58 PM

    Barry was the best ever. I am a huge fan of Barry but the arguement that he didnt have a team to work with is crazy. Herman Moore was one of the best receivers in the game when he played. Brett Perriman, Johnny Morton, and David Sloan were very good too. Lomas Brown and Jeff Hartings and Kevin Glover were good OL men too. They werent as good as Dallas had but still good. The lions just never had a top QB to put it all together. Barry didnt score a lot of TD’s because Wayne Fontz would pull him inside the 5 because he didnt want him taking unnecessary hits. I remember Barry blowing out Rod Woodson’s knee by putting a move on him. Never touched Woodson yet he stattered his knee anyway. Barry averaged over 1500 yards a season for 10 seasons. Think about that. Smith was good but Barry was special.

  224. sakatak says: Jul 14, 2011 10:32 PM

    If I had to pick the best of all time it would be Jim Brown, Barry was incredible but Jim Brown was a man among boys.

  225. gamewarrior405 says: Jul 15, 2011 12:20 PM

    Since Dallas fans are so fond of numbers, let me put those numbers in context.

    First off, Barry Sanders is the only back in NFL history to face an 8 man front every game. No other back routinely faced 8 men in the box every down. Even with Moore & Perriman facing single coverage, the Lion’s QBs couldn’t do much. Moore and Perriman looked better since they were not facing double coverage, only man coverage. If Barry disappeared in playoff games, that was because every team knew if they stopped Barry, the Lions lost. No respect given by any team to the Lions receivers or QB…stop Barry above all else. No single back ever faced that as often as Barry. Most importantly, when comparing teams. Dallas has QB-Aikman, WR-Irving, RB-Smith and OL-Allen as HOF players on that roster. Lions had 1..RB-Sanders. That doesn’t even consider future inductees like Deion Sanders, Jimmy Johnson, & Charles Haley….all present during the early 90′s.

    Whoever claims Emmitt was a better receiver doesn’t know what they are talking about…see career stats below.

    10 years, Barry had 352 receptions, 2,921 yds and 10 tds.

    15 years, Emmitt had 515 receptions, 3224 yds and 11 tds.

    So basically for the 5 extra years Emmitt played, he had 163 receptions, 303 yds and 1 td more than Barry. That averages out to 32 receptions, 60 yds and 0.20 tds per year for those 5 extra years.

    Barry never had less than 1100 yds in a season and that season he missed 5 games.

    Emmitt had 4 seasons where he ran for less than 1000 yards.

    Emmitt fumbled 54 times to Barry’s 27.

    Barry rushed for 1500 yds+ for 5 of his 10 years.
    Emmitt rushed for 1500 yds + for 3 of his 15 years.

    Barry lowest average yd per carry was 4.3 yds and highest was 6.1 yds. (5 of 10 years avg over 5 yds)

    Emmitts lowest average yd per carry was 2.8 yds and highest was 5.3 yds. (1 of 15 yrs avg over 5yds)

    Emmitt finished with 5 seasons, 1347 carries, 3086 yds rushing, 163 reception and 303 receiving yards more than Barry. So lets average that out a season.

    If Barry played those same 5 years, he would need to carry the ball 269 carries for 617.2 yds and have 32.6 receptions for 60.6 yards per season.

    Barry’s worst season in his career he carried the ball 243 times for 1115 yds with 36 receptions for 205 yds. (11 games played that season)

    Other than TD’s, which Barry was removed from all goal line situations because of Wayne Fonts…in fact in just the 2 years Tommy Vardell was with the Lions, he got 12 tds with less than 150 yds as our goal line back. Barry skill set and stats are superior to Emmitts in every way, with exception to TDs.

    Emmitt’s QB, Blocking Guard and WR are HOF players. Barry is the one man show.

    No comparison to be made really. Barry was better in every way, and much more humble.

  226. bringbacktheflex says: Jul 15, 2011 1:01 PM

    Oh good lord! Right off the bat you base your argument on absolute falsehoods. You really think that with a history full of Jim Brown, Walter Payton, and Jim Thorpe that Barry Sanders was THE ONLY BACK IN NFL HISTORY TO FACE AN 8 MAN FRONT EVERY GAME??? How old are you? 12? I watched football during Sanders time and I can tell you he didn’t face that kind of defense every game, every down.

    gamewarrior405 says:
    “If Barry disappeared in playoff games, that was because every team knew if they stopped Barry, the Lions lost. ”

    I see. So that means that during the regular season didn’t care if they lost to the Lions because Sanders didn’t face a defense committed to stopping him. That likely means he didn’t face 8 man lines all the time. Nice backpedal.

    “No respect given by any team to the Lions receivers or QB…stop Barry above all else. No single back ever faced that as often as Barry. ”

    Yeah, Jim Brown never faced a defense committed to stopping him, in a league that didn’t favor the pass and didn’t make it easy to pass.

    Most importantly, when comparing teams. Dallas has QB-Aikman, WR-Irving, RB-Smith and OL-Allen as HOF players on that roster.

    Allen wasn’t on the team when Smith won his first league rushing title and SB. Next argument.

    “Other than TD’s, which Barry was removed from all goal line situations because of Wayne Fonts…”

    Ah, here we go. The coaches might understand that Sanders would likely have lost 5 yards from the one yard line because he didn’t like to be touched. (BTW, apparently TDs aren’t important to gamewarrior405)

    “Emmitt’s QB, Blocking Guard and WR are HOF players. Barry is the one man show. ”

    Smith didn’t play behind an HoF lineman. If you think he did, please provide the link to the NFL’s HoF site where this individual is listed and his induction year.

    Sanders played behind an All-Pro Tackle and pro-bowl guard. Oops! Sorry to confuse you with facts.

    Sanders played most of his games indoors on perfect field conditions. Any playoff game Sanders had to play in weather was a disaster. Smith could play in ANY weather condition and proved it.

    Sanders was a great back, no doubt. Most fans would pick Sanders because he was exciting to watch if you don’t understand the intricacies of football. Smith, on the other hand, did all the little things that you need a back to do: blitz pickup, set up the blocks, cutbacks, break away speed, tough catches, a nose for the endzone, and a leadership quality that few can eqaul. Smith carried his team to victories.

    BTW, since you are so fond of numbers, Jim Brown averaged over 100 yards FOR HIS CAREER and 5.2 yards FOR HIS CAREER. I guess that makes him the best ever. It does in my book.

  227. gamewarrior405 says: Jul 15, 2011 1:45 PM

    Since the conversation was limited to Barry vs Emmitt, any comparisons to other running backs is moot.

    So let me classify them for you. Unlike some people, my posts can remain objective, instead of spiteful or insulting.

    Jim Brown-#1 Dominate RB ever. Man among boys.
    Barry Sanders- #1 Elusive, Exciting RB ever.
    Walter Payton- #1 Blue Collar RB ever. Sweetness.
    Marshall Faulk- #1 All purpose RB ever.
    Eric Dickerson- #1 Underrated RB for his stats.
    Emmitt Smith- #1 Leading Rusher NFL.

    There are other names that could be listed, but most of the others didn’t play 9 years or longer..that are worth mentioning anyway.

  228. nahcouldntbethat says: Jul 15, 2011 1:59 PM

    Jim Brown was the greatest runningback of all time. More yards per game than either Barry Sanders or Emmitt Smith and in a time when runningbacks got absolutely destroyed by the number of carries he handled.

    The record for career rushing attempts in 1957, the year Jim Brown entered the NFL was 1,171. He more than doubled that in a 9 year career through 1965.

    His record of 2,359 carries stood for 14 years after he retired. O.J. Simpson broke it in his 11th season in 1979.

    His closest peer in terms of carries was Jim Taylor who carried the ball 1,941 times in a 10 year career,

    The record for rushing yards when Brown entered the NFL was 7,126, an ongoing total from Joe Perry since 1948. Brown wound up with 12,312,

    The record for rushing TD’s was 69 by Steven Van Buren. Brown wound up with 106.

    When creating the lists of all time backs Jim Brown is #1 by a mile. Then you can start talking Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton, all of whom can figure in the mix for 2 to 4.

  229. nahcouldntbethat says: Jul 15, 2011 2:07 PM

    Minor edit:

    Joe Perry was also the all-time leader in rushing attempts as of 1957 at 1,246. The point still stands.

  230. dspohn55 says: Jul 15, 2011 2:56 PM

    It’s not even close. Barry Sanders played with far inferior talent, you want to talk about franchise players… Barry Sanders was the Detroit Lions. Single handedly brought them to the NFC Championship game in the early 90′s. Never had even an above average defense, always played with a relative joke at QB (Andre Ware, Rodney Peete, Scott Mitchell, Erik Kramer). Played with a fullback for only one season. And can you name even one offensive linemen that blocked for Barry?

    You can’t say the same for Emmitt.

  231. gamewarrior405 says: Jul 15, 2011 3:13 PM

    I will agree to that statement, and leave with a wiki quote.

    “Brown’s claim to the title of greatest running back of all time is supported by statistics. In 118 career games, Brown averaged 104.3 yards per game and 5.2 yards per carry. None of the NFL’s career rushing leaders come close to these spectacular totals. For example, Walter Payton averaged only 88 yards per game during his career with a 4.4 yards-per-carry average. Emmitt Smith averaged only 81.2 yards per game with a 4.2 yards-per-carry average.[14]

    The only top ten all-time rusher who even approaches Brown’s totals, Barry Sanders, posted a career average of 99.8 yards per game and 5.0 yards per carry. However, Barry Sanders’ father, William, was frequently quoted as saying that Jim Brown was “the best I’ve ever seen.”

  232. letsgogetasnack says: Jul 15, 2011 10:58 PM

    Have you noticed that ONLY Cowboy fans say Emmitt was WAY better…arguing with them is like arguing wit yo wife….YOU WILL NEVA WIN!

  233. SmurfJuice says: Jul 16, 2011 5:15 AM

    I just did a quick YouTube search for “Emmitt Smith Highlights”

    They don’t exist :(

  234. hatesycophants says: Jul 16, 2011 2:03 PM

    When I was a kid, even as a Lions fan, I wanted to be Walter Payton. The memories of watching him play “live” are fading. I just watched his highlights. He was the second or third best back ever. Barry may pay homage to Jim Brown as the best, but hands down Barry Sanders was the greatest running back ever. His moves seem impossible. Smiff’s moves looked pedestrian.

  235. bringbacktheflex says: Jul 16, 2011 7:10 PM

    gamewarrior405 says:
    “Since the conversation was limited to Barry vs Emmitt, any comparisons to other running backs is moot.”

    You were the one who started talking about how “no other back faced 8 man fronts ever in the NFL”. That doesn’t seem to limit the conversation to just these two.

    gamewarrior405′s list –
    Jim Brown-#1 Dominate RB ever. Man among boys.
    Barry Sanders- #1 Elusive, Exciting RB ever.
    Walter Payton- #1 Blue Collar RB ever. Sweetness.
    Marshall Faulk- #1 All purpose RB ever.
    Eric Dickerson- #1 Underrated RB for his stats.
    Emmitt Smith- #1 Leading Rusher NFL.

    Not a bad list, but I think if you were building a team to sell tickets, you’d pick Sanders or Simpson or Sayers. If you were building a team to win games you’d go with Brown, Dickerson, or Smith. You want guys who are complete backs, move the ball FORWARD, score TD’s, and provide leadership. It wouldn’t be Sanders.

  236. bringbacktheflex says: Jul 16, 2011 7:14 PM

    I guess it dropped my comments in the brackets because HTML uses that notation. Anyway…

    Jim Brown-#1 Dominate RB ever. Man among boys. =absolutely=
    Barry Sanders- #1 Elusive, Exciting RB ever. =not even. Again, check some Gale Sayers footage, or even OJ Jimpson.=
    Walter Payton- #1 Blue Collar RB ever. Sweetness. =Don’t understand this classification. Most RB’s would be considered ‘blue collar’.=
    Marshall Faulk- #1 All purpose RB ever. =Not really. Great pass receiver, but not an every down back. Doesn’t belong on this list.=
    Eric Dickerson- #1 Underrated RB for his stats. =agreed=
    Emmitt Smith- #1 Leading Rusher NFL. =And one of the most complete and toughest RB’s to play. Ever have a dislocated shoulder? I have. You’d be lucky to dress yourself, let alone avoid 300 pound linemen while running around on a football field leading your team to the playoffs.=

    Not a bad list, but I think if you were building a team to sell tickets, you’d pick Sanders or Simpson or Sayers. If you were building a team to win games you’d go with Brown, Dickerson, or Smith. You want guys who are complete backs, move the ball FORWARD, score TD’s, and provide leadership. It wouldn’t be Sanders.

  237. bringbacktheflex says: Jul 16, 2011 7:31 PM

    dspohn55, At least pretend to read some of the posts before stating the same bogus “facts” as the other Sanders fans.

    “Barry Sanders was the Detroit Lions. ”

    Check the All-Pro and pro-bowl rosters for the Lions during Sanders time.

    “Never had even an above average defense,”

    Most of Detroit’s playoff defenses ranked in the top 10 to 13 in the NFL. Sorry, but by definition that’s above average.

    “always played with a relative joke at QB (Andre Ware, Rodney Peete, Scott Mitchell, Erik Kramer). ”

    Some pretty high drafts picks there. Ware wasn’t given a chance to start more than a few games. I agree he was a bust, but a #1 pick. Peete was hard to judge because he was injured so much. Mitchell (via Wiki) “In 1995, he set single-season records for the Lions in touchdown passes (32) and passing yards (4,338). Mitchell’s Lions made the NFL playoffs in 1995 and 1997.” Kramer played well, and (via Wiki) “Kramer holds the Bears’ record for highest career passer rating (80.7), and owns their single-season records for attempts, completions, touchdowns and passing yards.” so he wasn’t a joke QB, very serviceable.

    “Played with a fullback for only one season.”
    Meaning more people out for passes, meaning fewer tacklers in the box, meaning more running room for Sanders.

    “And can you name even one offensive linemen that blocked for Barry?”

    Lomas Brown and David Glover. And I wasn’t even a Lions fan.

    Oh, don’t forget, Sanders played indoors for most of his career under near perfect field conditions.

  238. deconjonesbitchslap says: Jul 17, 2011 12:05 AM

    what other person’s achievements should we argue about today, Mike?

  239. korsakoff says: Jul 18, 2011 3:06 PM

    If Barry Sanders wasn’t the greatest, then at least he was the classiest. Love the man.

  240. fallendelusion says: Jul 19, 2011 12:08 PM

    I’m trying to think when this became all about Cowboys fans vs. the World. I’m not a Cowboys fan. In fact I hate them with every fiber of me being. If I’m forced to admit it, I’m a Bengals fan(woe to me). Yet, it’s my thought that I’d rather have Emmitt than Barry.

    I think the votes going in favor of Barry is that 1. everyone hates the Cowboys. 2. Everyone loved to watch Barry run.

  241. 1bigtex says: Jul 19, 2011 6:48 PM

    @korsakoff

    “the classiest” Really??? Exactly how “classy” is it to walk out on your team with no warning? Was that the classy move you were refering to? What about trying to skate with several million unearned dollars of bonus money? Maybe that was the “classy” move you were talking about? How about agreeing to return the money only if the team will cut or trade you? That must be the “classy” move you meant. Here’s a quick note; if somebody has to sue to get the money that you rightfully owe them, you aren’t “classy”, you’re trying to be a thief.

    Barry was a heckuva talent, but he wouldn’t know “classy” if it bit him in the ass.

  242. landrylover says: Aug 19, 2011 12:09 AM

    Why are the people using “what if” scenarios this even allowed to debate? Please, for the love of God, stop arguing in favor of one football player over another with the fantasy statistics you made up in your head. Some of my personal favorites:

    “Sanders played for a vastly inferior team than Smith did for much of his career. If Sanders had the opportunity to run behind the same OL that Smth did, he’d have far better numbers than Smith retired with.”

    Another of my personal favorite quotes from above “You put barry on that team (referring to the Cowboys) 2000 yards every yeear”.

    Did Barry ever play for the Cowboys?- Nope. Did Barry get 2000 yards every season?- Nope.

    How do you know that Barry would have done better with a different team?- Becaus he didn’t play for a better team or a different team. He played for the Lions.

    How do you know that Barry’s stats would have been better had he been on a different team?- You couldn’t possibly know that. His stats are what they are. Your wishful thinking will not change them.

    How do you know that he wouldn’t have become complacent on a team like the Cowboys? Maybe he would have done enough to get by, but perhaps not have had record setting statistics. Some people perform to their absolute best when they are forced to. And some perform worse than they otherwise might have when surrounded by sea of talent.

    Using wishful statistics such as the ones above don’t fare well for the Barry fans. After all, if you have to state that Barry’s statistics WOULD have been better based on the fantasy scenario you made up in you’re head for him, aren’t you essentially making the argument that Smith’s statistics were better making him the better player?

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