Emmitt Smith is the NFL’s all-time leading rusher and a Cowboys legend. You probably feel like you know him pretty well, but there’s a few more things you can learn.
Here are 10 things you might not know about Emmitt Smith.
- Playing career
In Smith’s 15-year career (13 with the Cowboys, two with the Cardinals) he amassed a number of records. He is the career leader in rushing attempts (4,409) yards (18,355) and rushing touchdowns (164). His 81.2 yards per game average ranks 15th all-time. His also has eight Pro Bowls and four first-team All-Pro awards.
- The extra ‘t’
Smith is actually the third of his name, but he spells his first name differently than his namesakes: he has two ‘t’s in his name. He told The Dallas Morning News in 1993 that he simply added the extra ‘t’ a long time ago on his own. His father, Emmit Smith Jr., said his son began spelling it that way when sports writers added the ‘t’ without bothering to ask the proper spelling.
- Dancing champion
Smith appeared in Season 3 of Dancing with the Stars. He and partner Cheryl Burke went on to win the competition, beating Mario Lopez and Karina Smirnoff. Smith was the first athlete to win the competition. He averaged 26.8 points out of 30 and received perfect scores from the judges on the Cha-cha, the Mambo, and the Samba. Smith returned to Dancing with the Stars for the Season 15 “All-Stars” edition, but lost in the semifinals.
He isn’t the only Triplet to compete on the show, either. Michael Irvin appeared on it in 2009. His professional dance partner? Cheryl Burke. The duo were the ninth pair to be eliminated out of 15 contestants.
- Emmitt Smith Day
A lot of people have a singular day named after them. Smith has one date every year reserved for his honor in his hometown of Pensacola, Fla. The day after Smith was drafted by the Cowboys, Pensacola declared that April 23 every single year would be Emmitt Smith Day.
- A chance meeting
Smith has been married to his wife, Pat, since 2000. Pat is a former Miss Virginia who was Miss USA runner-up in 1994. She had previously been married to comedian Martin Lawrence. The two met when they ran into each other a music festival in Aruba. After, they began dating long-distance immediately.
Smith’s nickname among his family growing up was “Scoey.” Comedian Scoey Mitchell was his mother’s favorite entertainer. The name was a way to differentiate the youngest Smith from the three generations of Emmitt Smiths.
- Going back to college
“I promised my mom if I left school early, I’d come back and get my degree,” Smith told the University of Florida Alumni Magazine. “I wanted to get that done.”
- Architect dreams
Before he became a star with the Cowboys, Smith dreamed of being an architect, according to a story in The Dallas Morning News from 1993. After he retired, Smith didn’t become an architect but he came close. In 2013 he became the President and CEO of Emmitt Smith Enterprises, an umbrella company that includes Smith’s real estate firm and his construction company, which specializes in commercial construction.
He left in June 2017 and is now attempting to open a sports shop at DFW International Airport.
- Back on TV
Smith made fun of his Dancing with the Stars appearance during a cameo on the CBS show How I Met Your Mother. In it, a character asks him who won the Super Bowl. Smith says that once you win two or three of them you stop paying attention. He’s then asked what’s more important than football?
“Dance, my friend,” Smith said. “Dance.” You can check out the super-low quality scene below.
That wasn’t his only cameo on TV, either. He appeared on a CSI: Cyber episode in 2016.
- Poker contender
Smith competed in the 2011 Heads-Up Poker Championship. He beat professional poker player David Williams in the first round, then lost to gambler Andrew Robl in the second round. Robl went on to the semifinals before he lost to eventual champion Erik Seidel.