Will LaDainian Tomlinson Surpass Emmitt Smith's Career Stats for Rushing Yards and Rushing TDs?

12/11/09 in NFL   |   WBKsports   |   366 respect

A child in the late 70's, I grew up watching the Steelers and Cowboys roll deep into the playoffs every season.  It was the same time I began to watch watch football full-time.  My dad was born in Pittsburgh, so whenever I watched football the Steelers were on. For some reason in the late 70's every time I watched an NFL game, it was the Cowboys vs. Steelers. I was a Steelers fan though, and the Cowboys were my enemy.

As the Chargers prepare to take on the Dallas Cowboys this Sunday, I cannot help but to think about the legacy the Cowboys have woven over the years. "America's Team" as we NFL fans have come to know them as have shared with the NFL some of the greatest players of all-time. 

 Most of the time I was Dan Fouts and John Jefferson on the Chargers, but I would also go out into the backyard and imitate my favorite NFL stars from other teams...Roger Staubach and Tony Dorsett were two of my favorite players to pretend to be. I even played the "Danny" White back up QB/Punter position during many of my NERF football contests, and several times I had to take care of business and "Randy" White some fools while on Defense...And if I ever got into it with another kid, I would ED "Too Tall" Jones them with my mighty fists. It was strange because I didn't really like the Cowboys as a team, but their players were so talented and really fun to imitate. My Dad was probably mad, but I just couldn't resist.

When the 80's started to take shape, the Steelers faded so my Dad wasn't watching football as much. I was 10 years old, so football was becoming more interesting to me. Still a Chargers fan, I hadn't watched my Hometown team play in a Super Bowl. I took a liking to the Redskins for some reason and became a Skins fan well pretty much until now...Anyways, in the 90's, I witnessed some Dallas Cowboys greatness like no other. Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin again became my favorite players on a team I really couldn't stand.

Aikman was clutch, and Irvin was amazing, but there careers ended earlier than they should have. Emmitt Smith on the other hand contiued to generate statistics for another 5 years. Emmitt Smith finished with 18,355 Rushing Yds. and 164 Rushing TDs which are both #1 on the All-Time Career NFL list. Emmitt Smith played 15 seasons...13 in Dallas and 2 in Arizona.

Ladainian Tomlinson has amazed Chargers fans during his 9 year run racking  up 12,321 Rushing yds and 135 TDs. His most notable season cam at the age of 27 in 2006 when LT ran for 1,815 yds and 27 TDs. Emmitt Smith's most notable season was at age 26 in 1995 when he had 1,773 yds rushing and 25 rushing TDs. 

By the end of this season, Tomlinson should be somewhere around 12,800 yds and 140 TDs...Before NFL training camp 2010, Ladainian will have just reached his 31st birthday. Emmit Smith played until he was about 6 months from his 36th birthday. So can it be done? Will Ladanian Tomlinson surpass the great Emmitt Smith?  He's only 400 yds away from passing the great Tony Dorsett.  Does Ladainian Tomlinson have 5 productive years left in him? Will LT soon pass two of the greatest running backs in Dallas Cowboys history?  I think he will, but that's me.

I know Emmitt has those 3 Super Bowls and LT has ZERO, but this debate is about the rushing stats. Let me know what you think?
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12/23/09   |   dookiehead

umm. are u guys serious? uhh. go look up da stats, theres no way lt catches emmit. he would have to average like 11oo yyards for like the next  5 seasons. then play another season and pick up like 600 yards. no way .

12/15/09   |   klj50301

absolutely not. he is already on the downhill slide as can be seen from this years numbers. LT might  make it
2 more years.

12/15/09   |   shellajolejole66

WBKsports wrote:
 Sweetness was one of my favorite NFL stars...His foot movement was so subtle and his head and shoulder moves were so swift...When I think of Walter Payton, I also think about Barry Sanders...I wonder where his stats would have ended at had he not retired early?

hheheehehhehe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

12/15/09   |   shellajolejole66

WBKsports wrote:
 Sweetness was one of my favorite NFL stars...His foot movement was so subtle and his head and shoulder moves were so swift...When I think of Walter Payton, I also think about Barry Sanders...I wonder where his stats would have ended at had he not retired early?

boooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

12/14/09   |   WBKsports   |   366 respect

idahoproducer wrote:
LT is pacing Emmitt. They are about equal concerning yards vs. seasons played. I believe LT is now in his 9th season, but only about 600 yds this season. He had about 45 yds or so today.

It looks like the system of offense the Chargers are most successful with this year is the passing and play action game, with LT and Sproles used as decoys on play action and out in the flat, opening passing lanes for Rivers, who is playing as good as anyone right now.

I do not believe that LT will catch Emmitt. My guess is LT has 4 more years after this one. I see him moving into 3rd, past Barry. And I can see him being motivated at some point to pass Walter. I believe LT would be plenty satisfied to put his name next to Barry's or Walter's. LT was talking about Emmitt today in an interview. He was gushing about playing opposite Emmitt at Texas Stadium, taking advice from him. You could tell.  LT loves the game, and the players who play it.

But, know one thing... If LT were asked if he could have a Super Bowl victory or the All Time rushing record... I know this for sure.. He wants the ring, because LT gains no yards without the effort and sacrifice that his team makes for him.

 I definitely have to agree with you...Right now, the Lombardi Trophy is what the Chargers and this current group of players hunger for most...Without that, even Raiders fan can still take claim that they have the better organization because they've won Super Bowls...

We have 0 World Series Titles, 0 Super Bowl Rings, 0 NBA Championships, and of course, we have 0 Stanley Cups in San Diego...Can we get just one championship in S.D.??? This is the best Chargers team since the 14-2 season in 2006!

12/13/09   |   idahoproducer   |   130 respect

LT is pacing Emmitt. They are about equal concerning yards vs. seasons played. I believe LT is now in his 9th season, but only about 600 yds this season. He had about 45 yds or so today.

It looks like the system of offense the Chargers are most successful with this year is the passing and play action game, with LT and Sproles used as decoys on play action and out in the flat, opening passing lanes for Rivers, who is playing as good as anyone right now.

I do not believe that LT will catch Emmitt. My guess is LT has 4 more years after this one. I see him moving into 3rd, past Barry. And I can see him being motivated at some point to pass Walter. I believe LT would be plenty satisfied to put his name next to Barry's or Walter's. LT was talking about Emmitt today in an interview. He was gushing about playing opposite Emmitt at Texas Stadium, taking advice from him. You could tell.  LT loves the game, and the players who play it.

But, know one thing... If LT were asked if he could have a Super Bowl victory or the All Time rushing record... I know this for sure.. He wants the ring, because LT gains no yards without the effort and sacrifice that his team makes for him.

12/13/09   |   robo27real

TheRoss wrote:
I just don't believe his health is going to hold up long enough to make it.

he not no emmitt smith

12/13/09   |   dwain1914

I think the injuries early in his career hurt his chances of surpassing the rushing yards mark. He has about 2-3 good seasons left before he will have to call it quits.

12/13/09   |   mrtriplesix   |   1160 respect

WBKsports wrote:
 Sweetness was one of my favorite NFL stars...His foot movement was so subtle and his head and shoulder moves were so swift...When I think of Walter Payton, I also think about Barry Sanders...I wonder where his stats would have ended at had he not retired early?

sanders would of ended up number 1 if he hadnt retired early. damn, i miss that guy. hes not even in the spot light anymore :-(

i dont see LT beating the rushinmg record. matter of fact i dont see the rushing record being beten for a long time cuz of the two back system

12/12/09   |   WBKsports   |   366 respect

jtrain11 wrote:
IMO... The leading rusher in the NFL will always be Sweetness.  Emmitt Smith played behind, probably the best line ever assembled, he had Irvine, Aikman, a good TE, Great D, good FB.  Payton had none of that.  Realistically, Barry Sanders should be on top of the record books, but that is a different story.   I'm hoping LT passes Smith, just don't think it will be likely, Smith was hardly injured, LT on the other hand seems like he is always injured.

 Sweetness was one of my favorite NFL stars...His foot movement was so subtle and his head and shoulder moves were so swift...When I think of Walter Payton, I also think about Barry Sanders...I wonder where his stats would have ended at had he not retired early?

12/12/09   |   pilssburydoboy95   |   1 respect

WBKsports wrote:
 Thanks for the compliment Debi. I found a few editing mistakes I need to fix, but I had a lot fun writing about it. Especially since the Cowboys and Chargers will do battle this weekend. Thanks again.  : )

Hell no I hate the chargers and everybody on that team except quintinn jammer and darren sproles

12/12/09   |   jtrain11   |   188 respect

IMO... The leading rusher in the NFL will always be Sweetness.  Emmitt Smith played behind, probably the best line ever assembled, he had Irvine, Aikman, a good TE, Great D, good FB.  Payton had none of that.  Realistically, Barry Sanders should be on top of the record books, but that is a different story.   I'm hoping LT passes Smith, just don't think it will be likely, Smith was hardly injured, LT on the other hand seems like he is always injured.

12/12/09   |   WBKsports   |   366 respect

idahoproducer wrote:
It's true. You wrote a very good article, so kudos to you! I can remember my Nerf, and also emmulating monsters of the gridiron. Burger King had just opened where I lived, and so Mom would take us for Whoppers after swim lessons. We were about 8 y.o., and then would play in the backyard. The player I most liked pretending to be was Drew Pearson, but I liked to celebrate the TD like Butch Johnson. I also remember the time we tried to simulate the Immaculate Reception. I got in trouble for throwing the ball at my brother's head.

If the Chargers get to the AFC Championship, make sure you write one for us recalling one of the greatest games ever played, "The Epic in Miami", 1982 at the Orange Bowl,  please.

Niiiice! With a photo of Kellen Winslow being carried off the field...41-38 crazy game...Fouts to Brroks for the tie. Great idea man. I'd love to write about that game. Thanks!

12/12/09   |   johnshirey54   |   162 respect

He really has lost a step this year, I just don't ever see him getting back to his All-Pro form. He may play another year or two for the Chargers, then he will finish his career somewhere else, similar to Emmit Smith's stint with the Cards.

12/12/09   |   idahoproducer   |   130 respect

WBKsports wrote:
 Thanks for the compliment Debi. I found a few editing mistakes I need to fix, but I had a lot fun writing about it. Especially since the Cowboys and Chargers will do battle this weekend. Thanks again.  : )

It's true. You wrote a very good article, so kudos to you! I can remember my Nerf, and also emmulating monsters of the gridiron. Burger King had just opened where I lived, and so Mom would take us for Whoppers after swim lessons. We were about 8 y.o., and then would play in the backyard. The player I most liked pretending to be was Drew Pearson, but I liked to celebrate the TD like Butch Johnson. I also remember the time we tried to simulate the Immaculate Reception. I got in trouble for throwing the ball at my brother's head.

If the Chargers get to the AFC Championship, make sure you write one for us recalling one of the greatest games ever played, "The Epic in Miami", 1982 at the Orange Bowl,  please.

12/11/09   |   mk_donley   |   2554 respect

ChargerJim wrote:

I believe wins are more important to LT than records.

I agree, there's no way LT can pass Emmitt Smith. LT, gets hurt too much.

12/11/09   |   TheRoss   |   356 respect

I just don't believe his health is going to hold up long enough to make it.

12/11/09   |   BluDevil   |   618 respect

I don't think he can do it... the cards aren't a doormat looking for old RB's to put butts in seats anymore, so when he's done in SD, he's done.

12/11/09   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

WBKsports wrote:
 Thanks for the compliment Debi. I found a few editing mistakes I need to fix, but I had a lot fun writing about it. Especially since the Cowboys and Chargers will do battle this weekend. Thanks again.  : )
(Edited by Debi_L)

No problem at all, I truly enjoyed reading and will be watching the Chargers this weekend as well.  Hopefully,  they will SLAUGHTER the cowboys!

And BTW, you can still be a Redskiins fan - we need all we can get

12/11/09   |   WBKsports   |   366 respect

Debi_L wrote:
I have no doubt that LT will surpass Emmett - not sure why, it's just one of those things I've kind of kept an eye on, and I've felt would happen.

By the way, thank you, extremely entertaining, well written article!!

 Thanks for the compliment Debi. I found a few editing mistakes I need to fix, but I had a lot fun writing about it. Especially since the Cowboys and Chargers will do battle this weekend. Thanks again.  : )

12/11/09   |   WBKsports   |   366 respect

 Wasted with many a bad team??? Those Bolts choked in the playoffs, but LT has only been on a bad Chargers team twice... his rookie season (5-11) and 3rd season (4-12). The Chargers were 12-4 in 2004, 14-2 in 2006, and 11-5 in 2007. Those were pretty much Tomlinson's prime years. Bolts were 8-8 in 2002, 9-7 in 2005, and 8-8 last season. Those were mediocre seasons, but certainly not "wasted with many a bad Chargers team." The O-Line as always has carried the Chargers Win or Lose.

12/11/09   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

I have no doubt that LT will surpass Emmett - not sure why, it's just one of those things I've kind of kept an eye on, and I've felt would happen.

By the way, thank you, extremely entertaining, well written article!!

12/11/09   |   chevleclair   |   378 respect

The answer is no. Thomlinson is not nearly as durable as Smith was, and it's kind of sad when you think about it, because Thomlinson's prime was wasted with many a bad Chargers team earlier in the decade.When he was the only one the team could rely on.

12/11/09   |   ChargerJim   |   80 respect

I believe wins are more important to LT than records.

12/11/09   |   jevinusmc   |   35 respect

No chance he passes Emmitt in yards, he won't pass Barry in yards.  He has an outside shot at catching him in td's if he stays healthy and is productive as a third down back on the back side of his career.

12/11/09   |   ipunki   |   91 respect

I think it is totally possible that LT will surpass Emmitt Smith. Shoot, he can do it in 3-4 years if he keeps up his running ways!!!