Maurice Jones-Drew was on Denver radio and was asked if he had a chance of catching Emmitt Smith. “I definitely think it’s doable,” he replied. After that, he then went on to expound about Emmitt Smith.
“Once again, Emmitt Smith was in a different situation than a lot of us, though,” he said. “I mean, he had a Hall of Fame receiver, Hall of Fame quarterback, Hall of Fame offensive line, Hall of Fame fullback. Whoever put that team together did a heck of a job, and it just showed.
While Maurice Jones-Drew is 55th on the career rushing list, he is 10th on the list of career rushing yards through age 26. Of course, #1 was Emmitt Smith, and he was 2,102 yards ahead of Jones-Drew’s pace at the same age. That’s basically Jones-Drew putting together the best season of all-time, and then also still trailing (because it’s not like Smith stopped running for a year).
A couple of years ago, I looked at what it would take for Adrian Peterson to catch Emmitt Smith. Namely, a lot. The same applies to Maurice Jones-Drew, where he would have to have one the best four seasons of any running back ever for another decade to surpass Smith.
So, I’m going to take this a different direction, to show just how ridiculous Emmitt Smith’s rushing record is. Not only does Smith have the record for the most rushing yards by age 26. He also has the most yards of anyone ever after his 27th birthday.
That would be the Emmitt Smith who played nine seasons for two different teams that won a combined one playoff appearance. That would be Emmitt Smith from age 27 through 35, at ages when most running backs are out of the game. That would be the Emmitt Smith whose teams went a combined 59-85 from 1996 onward.
That Emmitt Smith had 9,399 rushing yards, which would have still ranked him as 31st all-time, even if we disregard his Super Bowl years. That Emmitt Smith would still rank ahead of most backs who played in the NFL for their whole careers, and is 2,545 yards ahead of Jones-Drew.
Considering that the eight other backs not named Emmitt and Jones-Drew who had the best yardage seasons at age 26 went on to average 4,101 yards for the rest of their careers after their 27th birthday, I think Jones-Drew has a pretty good shot of cracking the top 30 in career rushing yards. He could catch the old Emmitt after age 27 who didn’t play with a bunch of Hall of Famers in their primes and played on a lot of losing teams. It’s not guaranteed, though.
[photo via US Presswire]