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Filling The Void

Filling the Void: Clash of the RB Titans

I was always a Barry Sanders fan over Emmitt Smith. I felt vindicated by the outcome of a MNF game in 1994.

Dallas Cowboys by Adam Simmons is licensed under CC BY NC ND 2.0

Filling the Void: Clash of the RB Titans

Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

Having a hard time social distancing? Yeah – us too. Especially when it comes to the lack of sports. So, we here at The Turf thought we’d offer a way to help ease the pain and suffering. While we may not have any of the current sports leagues to watch live, there is PLENTY of archive footage available at our fingertips. We’ve scoured the internet and assembled some of the most iconic, noteworthy, and remarkable sporting events we could find. We also found some mundane, run of the mill matches and contests, that seemed banal at first watch. However, at this point, we’ll take anything that resembles sports, right? Each day, we’ll feature one of the contests and provide you a link where you can relive the glory, exhilaration, and thrill from the comfort of your couch.

Make your pick

Remember playground debates? For us at Hadley School, this was choosing a player or team and yelling at other kids who didn’t think they were the best. Now, this is before analytics and brain development, so much of the arguments centered on, “My guy is good and your guy stinks.”

Still, great times.

A few “debates” that I remember and who “my guy/team” was:

There was one choice that I’d make 11 out of 10 times. One hill I’m still ready to die on.

Barry Sanders was better than Emmitt Smith.

This is SportsCenter

In the summer of 1992, I was at a day camp with all of my friends. As children tend to do, the discussion at one point turned against one of them. I was this child; the reason why is unclear.

My friends were questioning my sports knowledge and one said, “I bet you don’t even watch SportsCenter, Terry.”

I had no idea what SportsCenter was, but I stood my ground. “Yeah, so what?”

“Ok, well what team is Charles Barkley on?”

I replied with the confidence of a lawyer revealing a surprise witness, “The Philadelphia 76ers.”

Laughter and jeers ensued. Charles Barkley had been traded to the Phoenix Suns, which was clearly reported on SportsCenter earlier that summer.

This is a roundabout way to let you know that after that moment, I became a SportsCenter super fan.

The Game

A “perfect storm” of both of these things occurred on Tuesday, September 20th, 1994.

The night before the Detroit Lions visited the defending Super Bowl Champion Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football.

Barry Sanders vs. Emmitt Smith. It did not disappoint.

I was 10, so staying up for Monday Night Football for a non-Patriots game wasn’t happening. And neither was a Patriots appearance on Monday Night Football.

I had to rely on the SportsCenter highlights the next morning over cereal.

What I remembered was essentially a ping-pong match between these two all-time backs with a highlight of one followed immediately with a highlight from the other.

The box score tells pretty much the same tale.

Smith had:

  • 29 carries
  • 143 rushing yards
  • 7 receptions
  • 49 receiving yards
  • 1 rushing touchdown

Sanders had:

  • 40 carries
  • 194 rushing yards

The Lions beat the Cowboys 20-17.

Obviously, this game does not represent any type of verdict on which of these two players is the best (Smith had an amazing game, but it’s Sanders). And I’d rather not go too deep into the “What if Sanders had the Cowboys offensive line?” hypothetical. Howevever, seeing my favorite football player rush for nearly 200 yards against the defending champions was beyond sweet, and that’s why I’d recommend a re-watch of this game to any other fans of #20.

Terry is from Massachusetts and is a passionate fan of the Patriots, Celtics, Red Sox and Bruins. He also will admit he only pays attention to Syracuse basketball when they're good. If there's a Twitter trade rumor even remotely associated with one of his teams, he's likely fallen for it. Finally, he believes 100% that if the Celtics had beaten the Heat in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals they would have swept the Thunder in the Finals.

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