NFL TD leader Emmitt Smith’s 1ooth TD ball should fetch some change.
Near the end of our engaging chat last week with Emmitt Smith regarding his post-career business plans ( Pass the Word: Emmitt Smith is No Dancin’ Fool ) I had one last question for the NFL’s all-time leader rusher and touchdown-maker: Where are all those balls?
Long-time Emmitt watcher know he that whenever he scored a touchdown, he never spiked the ball, tossed it to an official or handed it to a kid in the stands (though servicemen are now trumping kids). He calmly carried the pigskin to the sideline and handed it to a Cowboy official, who wrapped a npiece of tape around it, marked it and tucked it into a locked container on the sidelines.
Smith did that from his first to his last, No. 164. The idea was his dad’s. “Just before I started the season,” Smith recalled, “He said, ‘You should keep ehe footballs from every touchdown you score because you never know what your place in history might be.'”
For several seasons, no one really noticed. It was a small gesture between Emmitt, the Cowboy official and his family. It wsn’t until television cameras began following him to the sidelines as he began approaching some records did the world discover his ritual. “Someone asked me, ‘What did you do with the football?’,” he said. “I said. ‘I put it with all the other footballs.’ Then the guy said, ‘What other footballs.” ‘All the ones I’ve been keeping since my rookie year.'”
So where are they? “In Dallas,” he said, coyly. “They’re not in anything special. Just boxes.”
Smith uses them for to raise funds for charities, either his own or other charities. “I’ve given a few of them away, but I still have the majority of them.”