April 2, 2014

Rookie of the Year: Emmitt Smith, 1990

Running Back, Dallas Cowboys

Age: 21
College: Florida
Height: 5’9”   Weight: 199

Smith established himself as a highly productive ground gainer when, in his first college start as a freshman, he rushed for 224 yards against Alabama. He went on to gain a school-record 3928 yards in three seasons at Florida before entering the 1990 NFL draft following his junior year and was taken by the Cowboys in the first round (17th overall).

1990 Season Summary
Appeared in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Attempts – 241 [8]
Most attempts, game - 24 (for 103 yds.) vs. Phoenix 12/16
Yards – 937 [10]
Most yards, game – 132 yards (on 23 carries) vs. Washington 11/22
Average gain – 3.9
TDs – 11 [5, tied with Ottis Anderson & Thurman Thomas]
100-yard rushing games – 3

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 24      
Most receptions, game – 4 (for 38 yds.) at NY Giants 9/30, (for 117 yds.) at LA Rams 11/18
Yards – 228
Most yards, game – 117 (on 4 catches) at LA Rams 11/18
Average gain – 9.5
TDs – 0

TDs – 11 [9, tied with Ottis Anderson]
Points – 66

Awards & Honors:
NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year: AP, PFWA
Pro Bowl

Cowboys went 7-9 to finish fourth in the NFC East.

Smith followed up in 1991 by leading the league with 365 carries for 1563 yards and earned a second trip to the Pro Bowl. He was a consensus first-team All-NFL selection in ’92 as he again topped the NFL with 1713 yards and scored a total of 19 touchdowns and the Cowboys won the Super Bowl. Smith led the NFL in rushing for a third straight year in 1993 (1486 yards) as the Cowboys repeated as league champions, and he again received MVP recognition. He led the NFL once more in rushing (1773 yards in 1995) in the process of gaining over a thousand yards in 11 straight seasons. Smith also led the league in touchdowns scored on three occasions, including a then-record 25 in 1995. He was a consensus first-team All-Pro four times and was selected to eight Pro Bowls. Smith became the NFL’s all-time leading rusher while still with Dallas before finishing up with two seasons in Arizona. He ended up with 18,355 yards on the ground (17,162 of them with the Cowboys) and scored a total of 175 TDs. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2010.


Rookie of the Year Profiles feature players who were named Rookie of the Year in the NFL, AFL (1960-69), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press – Offense or Defense, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, or the league itself – Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year).