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The Smith Shuffle

If it's all the same, this is how we prefer to think of Emmitt Smith.

Full disclosure: I didn't watch one second of ABC's Dancing with the Stars. Fuller disclosure: It pains me--and every bit of my sportswritin' DNA--to even write about it. But since the NFL's all-time leading rusher has sullied his legacy by winning the cheesiest dance-off since West Side Story, the national phenomenon can no longer be ignored.

According to my sensitive sources, former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith won the "competition" last night, edging out some dude that used to be on Saved by the Bell. Screech? Was it Screech? Tell me it was Screech. No? Damn, wish it would've been Screech.

Like every other female this side of Baghdad, my wife was glued to the show. Even went with friends to a bar for a watching party last night. I think...oh dear...she might have even voted for Emmitt. Must have been sleepwalking one night, because I thought she actually said after one episode that "he looked cute in those leopard-print sweatbands on his biceps." Shoot me.

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In retrospect, Emmitt persuaded the men to watch him play football on Monday nights and the women to watch him dance on Tuesday nights. He's one of the most recognizable faces in America these days. Gosh, we should all be impressed down here. But we're not. We're ashamed. Because we're supposed to believe the show just miraculously ended in a tie, leaving the outcome up to public voting. How convenient. And we're also supposed to believe that Emmitt somehow wanted to go on every media outlet and stump for votes. Just so, so sad. Yeah, worse even than O.J. Simpson in The Naked Gun. Listening from the next room, the show sounded much the same as Oprah or Ellen or The View--lots of overzealous and likely overweight women cooing when prodded.

Bottom line: Stars provided a fantasy for women, watching men act like their husbands never do. Kinda like Maxim for men, gawking at women who look like their wives never do. I'm shocked at how the show took off. To his credit, Emmitt saw it coming. Bumped into him at Cowboys training camp in July when he provided this warning/prediction: "Just because you can't dance, don't knock those of us who can," said Emmitt. "You act like it's not macho or whatever, but chicks dig guys who can dance. So in my mind that makes it macho. Watch it. You'll see."

That sound you hear is Vince Lombardi rolling over in his grave. --Richie Whitt

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