Running Commentary - Joe Perry

01/01/2005

Hall of Famers Talk about the Best

As the Dallas Cowboys' Emmitt Smith races towards Walter Payton's all-time rushing total of 16,726 yards, Profootballhof.com has solicited the thoughts of some of the game's greatest players. Follow along each week, as one of Walter's fellow Hall of Famers shares his views about the rushing record and the men who've held it.

Joe PerryHall of Famer JOE PERRY actually broke the rushing record twice, if you recognize his years with the 49ers in the All-America Football Conference. The NFL Record Book does not include his rushing yards from the AAFC, so he officially surpassed Steve Van Buren's career total in 1958. Perry is the first runner in NFL history to rush for 1,000-yards in back-to-backs seasons (1953 and 1954).

Coverage of His Pursuit of Steve Van Buren
Not as much as there is these days. The backs and the backfield has changed a lot since my era. When I was playing, we had three backs carrying the ball, and you never carried the ball over 10-15 times a game.

I don't think the contact between teams and people was as great as it is today. All I'd knew was what I would hear over the wire.

Joe PerryThe Record Not Including AAFC Stats
That was a lot of hullabaloo. A record is a record. If you set a record, what are playing tiddlywinks or football? You know, the guys in the (AAFC) played football like the guys in the NFL. In fact, the same guys came over and played in the same leagues.

On This Record Being Broken
Records are made to be broken. That's why they keep track of records. You keep moving on, to another stage.

What Could He Have Done With 30 Carries a Game?
That one I can't answer, I'd be projecting. But, we had three guys that could carry the ball - myself, Hugh McElhenny, and John Henry Johnson (all in the Hall of Fame). So, you had to divide the ball, otherwise there would have been a big fight out on the field.

On Emmitt Smith
I know Emmitt is a great runner, and I would have him on our team.

Other Running Commentary: Merlin Olsen | Marv Levy | Franco Harris

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