Emmitt's failure to mention Florida raises eyebrows

By all accounts, Saturday night’s Hall of Fame induction speech from all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith represented the most memorable arrival in Canton since former teammate Michael Irvin’s remarks.  And for good reason; we’ve heard that Emmitt hired the same guy Irvin retained to write his own speech, and there’s chatter that Emmitt devoted upwards of 100 hours to rehearsing for his final moment in the NFL spotlight.

In hindsight, Emmitt’s speech was a very good one.  Sure, he had a moment or two when he nearly fell off the horse, for example by acknowledging “the late Mark Tuinei, who obviously couldn’t be here.”

But Emmitt’s speech has drawn scrutiny more for something he didn’t say.  As our pal Brooks of SportsByBrooks points out, Emmitt gave a big “FU” to UF.

The snub, which came with Florida coach Urban Meyer in attendance at the enshrinement ceremony, has sparked multiple theories as to the cause.  One school of thought focuses on a still-strained relationship with former Gators coach Steve Spurrier, who as legend has it didn’t beg Emmitt to stay when Emmitt decided to give up his final year of eligibility and jump to the NFL.  Another theory, presented by Ethan Skolnick of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, who was in the Akron-Canton area to cover Stage One of the “LeBron Tour De Image Rehab” traces the tension to current Florida A.D. Jeremy Foley.

Brooks comes down on the Spurrier side of the debate, pointing out that Emmitt didn’t show up for the 2006 Ring of Honor ceremony at the Swamp because Spurrier was due to be inducted at the same time Emmitt’s name was added to the list of all-time Florida greats.

Regardless of the reason, Emmitt’s extensive prep means that the failure to talk about his college football experience was no “blowed out”-style slip of the tongue.  Emmitt meant to ignore the Gators, and Emmitt did indeed ignore the Gators.

UPDATE:  A source with knowledge of the situation tells us that Emmitt was pressed by the powers-that-be to trim some time from a speech that was poised to kiss 30 minutes, and that Smith simply forgot to mention Florida as he tried — without notes — to deliver his prepared remarks.

64 responses to “Emmitt's failure to mention Florida raises eyebrows

  1. Or maybe he was inducted into the PRO football hall of fame and not the COLLEGE football hall of fame. What he did at Florida had nothing to do with what he did with the Cowboys (other than the spot where he got drafted).

  2. all i got to say is how in the hell does emmitt smith close a hall of fame induction ceramony and not jerry rice? when you think of top 5 rbs he his not in the equation. maybe not even top 10. jerry rice is considered hands down the best wr to play the game. some argue the best to play the game. i think it was a disgrace to jerry rice. as far as florida goes. i think UF will be just fine without an acknowledgement from emmitt smith. i was just watching america’s game with emmitt as one of the speakers and i shut it off because it made me sick.

  3. Emmitt definitely did it on purpose, and anyone that thinks otherwise is sadly mistaken. The current Florida staff has done a lot to make sure Emmitt feels the love from his alma mater and assumes his rightful place in Florida history. It’s a damn shame he couldn’t bury the hatchet once and for all – especially with Urban Meyer and a host of Florida boosters, officials and players in attendance. His snub leaves a nasty mark on what otherwise was the best speech of the day.
    Shame on you Emmitt …

  4. Well put Thor . . . Since when do people dictate who someone should acknowledge in their HOF enshrinement speech. Whoever started this crap is obviously a douche bag.
    GET A F-ING LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. If Emmitt is still butt hurt over some stupid thing that happened 20 years ago, and that caused him not to thank the college that helped to prepare him for his pro football career, then he comes across as a petty, graceless man. And I’m saying this as an Emmitt fan. He needs to get over it.

  6. So please tell me dear sir, what does this whole article have to do with Brett Favre????? I don’t see the connection.

  7. “all i got to say is how in the hell does emmitt smith close a hall of fame induction ceramony and not jerry rice?”
    Duuuurrrr because he’s Emmitt Smith. The other guy is Jerry Rice, a guy that put in work on everything in his life but his Hall of Fame induction speech, apparently. They did it right, the crowd was roaring every time Emmitt and the Cowboys were mentioned. Rice, not so much.
    By the way, you may want to take the plank out of your eye before you gripe about the splinter in Emmitt’s eye. “all I got to say”, indeed.

  8. Thunderlips007 says:
    August 8, 2010 4:54 PM
    all i got to say is how in the hell does emmitt smith close a hall of fame induction ceramony and not jerry rice? when you think of top 5 rbs he his not in the equation. maybe not even top 10. jerry rice is considered hands down the best wr to play the game. some argue the best to play the game. i think it was a disgrace to jerry rice. as far as florida goes. i think UF will be just fine without an acknowledgement from emmitt smith. i was just watching america’s game with emmitt as one of the speakers and i shut it off because it made me sick.
    Well lips, I’m sure that the hall did not want to embarass Jerry Rice, knowing that showing Jerry READING his speech (for someone who prepared so well for games you would of thought he might have practiced his speech a time or two before giving it) to an empty stadium would not be appropriate.

  9. Emmitt’s career at Florida propelled him into the NFL. Period. Shame he didn’t acknowledge them but the fact of the matter he is not the greatest player their history (though he’s probably the most successful NFL player to come through). They won with him but they won more without him. Wish he was more grateful to a good school and a good athletic program, but I’ve always thought he was an ass and I still think he is.

  10. Wait. Emmit and Irvin didn’t wrote their own speaches!?!?
    What kind of turd doesn’t write his own acceptance speach for the Hall if Fame?!?
    Oh wait. That right. Dallas Cowboys. That’s who. They cheat their entire careers. Why should they stop now.
    What a crock those two are

  11. I’m pretty sure that UF got it’s thanks when Emmitt made all of that money for them by filling up the stadium and winning all of those games.

  12. Who cares? This isn’t the UF Hall of Fame or the College Foootball Hall of Fame, its the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Emphasis on “pro”.
    The snub to the Cardinals is a bit more amusing to me.

  13. @Thunderlips007
    Not in the top 5? ya the guy with the most touchdowns, most yards, most attempts, most 100 yard game, most 1000 yard seasons. No he is not one of the best to ever play. Gotta love Cowboys haters.

  14. Emmitt is angry at Florida because they didn’t prepare him for life after football by teaching him English. Now he has to hire someone else to write his speech and spend “a hunnert hours” trying to memorize it. I’d be peeved too.

  15. Mike Florio is a saint. he never has done anything wrong. he has never misspoke in his life, or ever used the wrong words while speaking. Why does this clown act like he is above everyone else? maybe he should spend more time learning about football (picked skins to go to the bowl last year) and less time thinking of ways to make fun of people for how they speak.

  16. There should be a Hall Of Shame. Inductees include: Ryan Leaf, Brian Bozworth, Jamarcus, Dwayne Jarrett, Charles Rogers, Jim Zorn, Vinny Cerrato and Micheal Westbrook

  17. A big F.U. to you Gloryhole for this entire post. WHO CARES! Your getting so mixed up with all the gossip magazines and websites you read, your forgetting we dont give a F about that stuff. Save these “rumors, and speculation” for your TMZ buddies.

  18. robert ethan,
    Your best post ever. Neither a Cowboys fan or hater but that was funny.

  19. Why is this important to the 2010 football season? What in the hell does it have to do with anything? Who gives a crap?

  20. “Or maybe he was inducted into the PRO football hall of fame and not the COLLEGE football hall of fame. What he did at Florida had nothing to do with what he did with the Cowboys (other than the spot where he got drafted). ”
    This is exactly what I was thinking.

  21. I just noticed in the PFT most commented, the “Favre bizarre allegations” has suddenly disappeared. It was #1. I’ve never noticed this happening before. I smell an oops! coming from all the cyber smart-ass sites,, when the Sterger slut admits she was just kidding, lying, or mis-quoted. I smell litigation.

  22. I don’t care what anyone says. Jerry rice > emmitt smith. rice is the greatest ever to put on the pads…better than Jim brown, Joe montana, johnny Unitas, etc. To have the closing speech end with emmitt smith and not rice, whose not a top 3 RB, is a disgrace.
    for all the cowboy lovers, top 3rbs of all time for ur reading pleasure. even the most idiotic cowboy fans can’t argue against this list.
    1. Barry sanders
    2. Jim brown
    3. Walter Payton

  23. I watched ESPN’s Coming Home, (Going Home)
    with Emmitt and Rick Reilly and he nothing but praise for his hometown followers and his fellow Dallas players, but I don’t remember his mentioning U of F. I don’t blame him, Steve Spurrier is the biggest egotistical coach anywhere, and I wouldn’t mention him either. Spurrier sits when he pees.

  24. Emmit, was at Florida at a time that he was needed to help create some excitement,as for all the wins that he helped create, 20-16 during his 3 years are not alot, but the spectacle of him running the ball, did indeed give Florida fans something to be proud of!
    As far as not being begged to stay with the team by coach Spurrier, more power to the Head ball coach and not writing his own speech and leaving Florida out of it, well if it was up to me his place in the ring of honor at UF could be replaced by nothing, just painted over, because thats what he gave back to the Gators, nothing, nothing at all…..

  25. I watched ESPN’s Coming Home, (Going Home)
    with Emmitt and Rick Reilly and he nothing but praise for his hometown followers and his fellow Dallas players, but I don’t remember his mentioning U of F. I don’t blame him, Steve Spurrier is the biggest egotistical coach anywhere, and I wouldn’t mention him either. Spurrier sits when he pees.

  26. Emmit knows he played no one in college and Florida never won anythign has him as RB!

  27. Emmitt just wishes he went to USC after finding out how much Reggie Bush got paid.

  28. f@%k emmit. He still doesn’t compare to Walter Payton. remember Walter was the team for years and emmit was a support on his team for years. how many teams did walter play on where the offensive line was shitty, the QB didnt know his ass from his head and the team as a whole couldn’t catch a cold much less a win without having to feed the ball to walter and hope for the best. to me emmit didnt accomplish much. just followed a few all pro big boys with big contracts into the endzone.

  29. I would bet that 95% of the HOF get someone to write or at least get help with their speech. Just something else for Cowboy haters to gripe about. Give me your HOF players, and I bet I can find a story about help with their speech.
    How can anyone say that Emmitt is not in the top 5 RBs unless your are a hater.

  30. one word an Emmit would still be running??? BARRY……. emmitt you were not half the back barry was …
    i know all the cowgirl fans dont wanna hear that.. but too bad… cowboys suck, an so did emmitt!!!

  31. The only reason Russ Grimm mentioned his college Pitt,was the move from linebacker to center,which defined his career.

  32. Jerry Rice may be the best receiver of all time (I think moreso to offensive system and longevity) but that doesn’t make him the best player ever. Ronnie Lott was far and away the best safety of all time, and the gap between him and say Ken Houston is FAR wider than Rice to Carter, Monk, Irvin, ect. San Francisco could’ve and did win without Rice. Dallas couldn’t have won without Emmitt, as was proven in 1993. And Barry Sanders wasn’t nearly the RUNNING BACK that Payton or even Brown was, he was a guy who would lose a yard, gain two, get a no gain and then break one or two long runs a game. I’ll take the consistent four or five yards every carry, durability, blocking, and catching that Emmitt was unparalleled with. Barry was great, no doubt. But he was Babe Ruth while Emmitt was Willie Mays.

  33. @sdffa11
    I can argue that you don’t have any credentials to have a list that anyone should take serious

  34. Spurrier didn’t press him to stay!?!? Are you kidding me??? Emmitt would not be that petty!

  35. How many times did Emmitt say “and so forth”? He could’nt carry Barry Sanders’ jock!

  36. ‘Most’ does NOT equate to ‘best’ in and of itself.
    Most yards rushing (Smith), receiving (Rice) and passing (Favre) may be enough for some folks to nominate the formers ‘best’; moreso be reflection an ever fluid ‘measure’ that validates nothing and even if there were a consensus (and in fact there is not & never will be) it would merely reflect the subjective bias of a popularity contest… affirming nothing.
    Ditto other sports: baseball, hrs (Bonds) & wins (Young), basketball points (Jabbar) like hockey scoring (Gretsky) is no different. One can cite several cases/sports/players where seeming is not as it appears.
    Ruth had 95 ‘more’ hrs than did Bonds when the two had the same # at bats – this despite steroid consideration any (Bonds did or didn’t). So is the SF guy ‘better’ because he had ‘more’, or can we consider ‘greater’ to be relative to opportunity?
    The fact guys named Unitas & Brown (football), Williams and DiMaggio (baseball), Chamberlain (basketball) and others in their sports still hold unbroken records to this day despite a modern day media ‘overhype’ which makes statements that under scrutiny don’t stand up, should give pause those who via research can shoot holes in such hollow present day superiority claims 24 / 7 /365.
    Players who get more ‘opportunties’ SHOULD have ‘more’ stat’. While said is notable in that it may reflect their ability/confidence inspired in their respective team(mate)s as well expanded opportunities, it can prove specious shy a bit of investigatory research being undertaken.
    Examples of ‘changes’ (and not to be confused with progress) include more games per season which skew stats & expansion/more teams per sport which waters down competition, various rule changes & manipulation said both overt & covert (cheating) by individual players and/or teams etc. as well a myriad other factors, all of which play a part.
    For me (because I know how much you care), the top players (greatest ever) include no one who has played football in the last 30+ years – my prerogative & scrupulously affirmed via in-depth study; bias/subjectivity any no more or less than anyone else same.
    Upshot be, it all makes for wonderful debate but the truest Hall of Fame is the one that resides in the hearts, minds & memories each of us.

  37. @sdffa11
    Did you listen to Rice’s speech, dude? It was a real turd in the punchbowl wasn’t it. Is that the finale that the Hall would have wanted?
    BTW, sorry you never got to see Jim Brown play. He was a lot better than Sanders.

  38. Here is what Emmit should have said
    “Thank you Barry Sanders for quitting when you did, otherwise I would not be standing here today. ”
    I thought the look on Jerry Jones face was pretty funny when Emmit was acknowledging him. As if he knew it was BS. Not a smile on his face until the words “Dallas Cowboys” were mentioned. What a douche.
    But I have to give him credit, it was one of the better speeches, rehearsed or not. Not the best, I give that to Floyd Little. Short and sweet and to the point. Jerry my man, stick to non public speaking lol.

  39. To all the Cowboy Haters: Ummm yeah, how many of Emmitts OL are in the HOF…? How well did the other backs do behind the same “all pro line”
    Lassic in #22’s absence..? Oh yeah, Dallas woulda won the SB in ’93 without Emmitt.
    Sherman Williams, Herschel Walker… what’d they do…?
    Chris Warren, Troy Hambrick…… when are they getting inducted…?
    Cason, George… lmao.
    Look, all BS aside. Emmitt was one of the best, and absolutely belongs in the conversation. Many haters out there today. Barry woulda this, Barry coulda that…. BUT HE DIDNT. EMMITT DID…!
    #22 did it WITH Aikman lighting it up.
    Name another running back that did the following, IN THE SAME YEAR: League Leading Rusher, League MVP, Won the Super Bowl, & SuperBowl MVP….! PLEASE….! You cant because nobody else ever has, or ever will.
    I personally dont think anyone will ever break #22’s rushing record.I didnt like the way 22 was all about the money, & records but it doesnt change the fact that he did more than any running back to ever play in the NFL. Im sure he’ll sit atop the Rushing record for decades to come.

  40. This is not news…MANY HoF acceptance speeches never mention their colleges or just say something like “when i got drafted out of____”. Somebody noticed the “omission” and the “press” and bloggers are running with it. No requirement for acknowledgement = no snub. I remember, back in the day, whenever a camera was trained on a young kid who made a play, they almost always waved and said “hi Mom” or something similar. Since it never happens anymore, Moms across the country should feel snubbed. Why bother writing teen magazine type gossip?

  41. He also did not mention me…I was incensed that he forgot me, an integral cog in the wheel to his admission into the hall…Thanks a lot ES!


  43. Love how Emmit jumped ship to the Cardinals to secure his records. All the people insulting the Cowboy haters fail to remember this.

  44. who cares if he thanked a college program for his induction into the PRO HOF. If he thanked UF would we be asking why he didnt thank his high school?
    Me I dont care about the speeches. Actually now wondering why I am commenting now. But tons of people waste time with mindless comments so why not me. It really has no effect on any of us who these guys thank. Every so often we get a Jimmy V speech that makes a difference. Other than that they are all blah blah blah….
    So did ALL the others thank their college programs yesterday?
    Did they all last year? Has every HOF player thanked his college program in the speech?

  45. I’m not gonna lie.
    I love it when Florio’s super-negative conspiracy theories blow up in his face.

  46. It’s amazing how many jealous punks make their punk comments on this board. Emmit Smith has more yardage then any running back in the history of the NFL. More then Barry Sanders, More then Jim Brown, He has 3 superbowls, NFL MVP, Superbowl MVP on and on and on……anyone who is on this board ripping on Emmit Smiths career is just plain and simple a jealous, and knows NOTHING about football.

  47. 24-7, u are football – illiterate.
    i agree sanders didnt always have much of an OL in front of him.
    but the browns won a lot of championships before brown came along. only one with him. looks to me like the star system held them back.
    the browns continued to be an above average team for years after brown left – he wasnt going to keep leroy kelly on the bench much longer.
    brown had a helluva lot of help. as did emmitt.
    sanders did not. and as for payton, he had some help. the bears went to the playoffs 6 times in payton’s 13 years. they had 5 losing seasons and 2 .500 seasons in the other years… 1975-76, 1978, 1980-83. the bears won one superbowl out of 1 try.
    in 10 seasons, sanders’ lions went to the playoffs 5 times. they won one playoff game, over dallas (only one since the 1957 championship). all the other seasons were… losing seasons. it’s the lions, no super bowls.
    smith’s cowboys went to the playoffs 8 times. then they had 5 losing seasons the other years. they bagged 3 super bowls as we know. they had some other good players…
    in these later years, it isnt that hard to make the playoffs.
    brown’s browns had 9 winning seasons in 9 years. they had 6 winning seasons in the 7 nfl years before brown got there, and they went 3-3 in 6 championship games. in the 8 years after brown, the browns had 7 winning seasons and 1 at .500. and lost 2 nfl championship games in 2 tries. to get to those 2 games they beat dallas.

  48. Couldn’t you have saved yourself a little time and embarrassment by checking with Emmit’s people before posting this?

  49. TO- numberfour— keep drinking the emmitt kool-aid…..THE FACT IS ANY AVERAGE( R.B.) would be a hall of fame’r if they had the same shot emmitt did!! and the point is .. that BS. or JB. with the same chance as emmitt had,, there stats would have been mind blowing.. punch those numbers in.

  50. @football24-7
    Every so often, I get the chance to read something that makes me say “Now there’s the dumbest human being alive”. You, sir, win today’s prize. “What did he do when he went to the Cards???” Uh, dude, he was already 34 years old and already had the career rushing crown. Please list for me all of the RBs who have incredible years at age 34. He also suffered a broken scapula (against Dallas, BTW) his first year in ‘Zona. He did gain almost 1,000 yards his final year with the Cards. Please list for me all the 35 year-old RB rushing for over 900 yards.
    You, sir, are a moron!

  51. I don’t buy the “update” about why Emmitt left UF out of his HOF speech. C’mon, you need notes to mention your college’s name (in this case one word, three syllables) even once? IMO the omission was deliberate and as such a disappointment to Gators everywhere.
    Reality check: UF alumni donations helped provide the football scholarship and program Emmitt needed to get into the NFL and enjoy a stellar pro career. The school deserved his thanks. Perhaps he’ll show his gratitude in another way — and soon, I would suggest.

  52. @big tex— wow get a life,who answers an old posting like you do??? since your a emmitt ass clown like the rest of your cowgirl fans. ask anyone thats not from that stupid state, who the best RB??? sorry little tex no one says emmie is..hes about the 5 or 6 on the list?? if that.. and you sir like to rub on emmie’s nuts with you lips!!!

  53. @football24-7
    So I responded to your post 3 hours later and your reply is “Who answers an old posting”. That’s your defense for a completely stupid statement criticizing the performance of a 34 year-old RB who ALREADY had over 4,000 carries and over 17,000 yards? What is the cut off line regarding response time? We all need to get this right since you’ve assumed the title of “All Knowing”. BTW, how is that Do-It-Yourself Colonoscopy working out for you Mr. Rectal/Cranial inversion?
    And for what it’s worth, your post just reminds us all of what a moron you are.

  54. @football24-7
    You refer to Texas as a Mexican state and yet your posts read as if they came from an ESL student. Just a few examples;
    “an emmitt sucked” Should be “and”
    “which the better backs are” Should be “who”
    “your a emmitt” Should be “you’re or you are” Also needs to be “an” not “a”
    “who the best RB” Should be “who is”
    “think different” Should be “differently”
    “there stats would have been” Surely I don’t need to point out the error. I won’t begin to delve into your punctuation and capitalization issues.
    Derek Lassic, Timmy Newsome, Curvin Richards, Sherman Williams, Troy Hambrick; those are some of the “average RBs” that were in Dallas with Emmitt Smith. Why didn’t they have careers at least close to his? You’re the one who said “ANY AVERAGE (RB)”. Where’s the list of all the 34 year old RBs with great years since that’s what you expected of Emmitt Smith in Arizona? That would at least give your arguement a bit of merit. Please include on that list, everyone with over 4,000 carries at 34. You seem to be a great deal more interested in screaming your opinion, than providing any evidence to back it up.
    FYI, the Cards’ signing of Smith was as much to sell tickets as it was to carry the ball. The Cowboys were a very big draw in Arizona.

  55. boy oh boy i dont care about nor does the rest of the country care about the stupid cowboys. iam real glad you know all these home-made facts about YOUR team the cowboys. who rush for this,, an did that !!BLAH BLAH BLAH, get it through your head ,(with your green card) NO ONE LIKES this team or cares..you evade the FACTS!!! barry hands down is the better back. anyway you cut it… thats it no more no less.. like i said if ask football fans that are not from the armpit of the states (texas) your eyes would open up to see the light???? than you can walk into the light with tim tebow??

  56. My “green card” is that I’m a 5th generation native Texan. I can trace the my family back to the American Revolution in this country.
    What home-made facts? My arguement with you is YOUR statement that Emmitt Smith was an “average RB”. I didn’t talk about Barry. I didn’t talk about Jim Brown. My stance is that those who think that anybody else would have done what Emmitt did just because of the team he was on, ignore the FACT that the other RBs in Dallas did not. Please, prove me wrong Mr. ESL.
    And while you are at it, please LEARN THE RULES OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE. Your lack of football knowledge is only exceeded by your ignorance of the rules of English. Those who can not use the language effectively, will effectively have the language used against them.
    “than you can walk into the light”
    Do you even read any of your crap before you post it or are you just that ignorant?

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