*In June 2011, Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine decided to count down the best of the best, the top 25 plays in franchise history. Obviously, this wasn't the easiest of tasks, but some 30,000-plus words later, we feel pretty good about the results. Now here in a 25-part summer series, we share our list for one and all. Without further ado, we continue with No. 8 and a snippet from the Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine story: *
8) Emmitt Shoulders The Load, Jan. 2, 1994:
The specific play itself, gutsy, brilliant and courageous in every which way and fashion imaginable, doesn't really stand alone in this instance. This is the greatest plays in the history of the Dallas Cowboys, though, so a play needs to be designated. But the truth is, there were so many from this one game by this one man that we could write a second entire series. The 25 Greatest Plays by Emmitt Smith on Jan. 2, 1994.
And even then, there would be some omissions. Yeah, he was that good on this day.
Heck, in his three decades as a broadcaster, Pro Football Hall of Fame coach John Madden visited a locker room just once after a game. And that once was to shake the hand of Smith after his performance against the Giants in the Meadowlands in this regular-season finale. He also patted Smith on his separated right shoulder, which draws a laugh in retrospect but only added to the running back's pain at the time.
Both teams were 11-4, the NFC East division on the line, not to mention a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Smith finished the first half with 109 rushing yards and six receptions. Oh yeah, also a Grade 1 shoulder separation, an injury which has ended seasons for many a running back.
On the final drive, in overtime, which culminated with a game-winning 41-yard field goal, Smith accounted for 41 of the team's 52 yards and nine of the 11 touches. And while the 10-yard scamper, which included a stiff-arm which his injured right arm, is cited as the specific play for purposes of the countdown, it could've just as easily been his block against 280-pound Giants lineman Keith Hamilton which likely prevented a sack of Aikman.