I once heard something about Marcus Allen, that if it is true I consider it to be one of the greatest accomplishments in the History of the game. I heard that in his illustrious career Marcus Allen was never tackled for a loss of yardage. He was stopped for no gain, but never for a loss. If true, that is not just amazing, it is warrior like. The object of the game is to move the football forward. Barry Sanders lost more yardage on negative runs than any RB in the History of the game, because of his dancing around.
Do you know why every Lions Head Coach took him out in goal line situations? One Lions fan once told me Barry wanted his teammates to get the score. No, his coaches wanted to score. For one minute pretend you are the Lions Head Coach. Your career hinges on wins and losses. Wins are secured by scoring. Are you, in all honesty, going to pull your best player to give other guys a chance to score if he can do it better than they can? Barry was never going to throw his body in there and hit the hole to get the hard yard. That is what separates him from the RBs I would prefer to have on my team. The willingness to sacrifice. To absorb a blow in order to deliver a bigger one.
The epitome of this concept happened in the last game of the 1993 season. Dallas and the New York Giants were both 11-4 going into the final game of the season. The winner of that game was guaranteed home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The loser of that game was relegated to the Wildcards. The game was at New York, but Dallas was the heavy favorite. In the first half they lived up to their status and went into halftime with a 13-0 lead.
They also went into halftime uncertain if their star RB was coming back. Late in the 2nd quarter Emmitt took off on a 46 yard run. As he was tackled he remained on the ground with what turned out to be a separated shoulder. He was given two options; park it for the rest of the game, or play hurt, perhaps even be a decoy. Emmitt Smith didn’t even hesitate in making his decision, and what followed is to this day the greatest show of heart on a football field that I have ever seen. The second half began with Emmitt indeed being a decoy, and this caused him to yell at Head Coach Jimmy Johnson.