NFL legend Emmitt Smith on football being “dumbed down”

Yahoo’s Jason Fitz is in conversation with Pro Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith, chatting about how the game has changed for the worse starting at the grassroots level and going all the way up to the NFL. Plus, Emmitt is teaming up with fellow NFL legend Peyton Manning and Bud Light to launch their biggest Super Bowl ticket giveaway ever!

Video Transcript

JASON FITZ: I'm Jason Fitz from "Yahoo! Sports" hanging out with NFL Hall of Famer legend Emmitt Smith. Last week, we heard Tom Brady say a lot about the state of the current NFL, calling it mediocre because of the coaching, the rule changes, the approach to the game. What do you think about Brady's thoughts?

EMMITT SMITH: I don't disagree at all. I think-- I think the game has been watered down all the way down to the youth level as well. It's been dumbed down. In fact, I don't-- I'm not sure if players are being developed at the grass-root level the way they should.

I think players are oftentimes looking for answers from the sideline versus having the ability to think themselves and to read coverages themselves and to know when to sit down in a zone and know when to run through when it's man to man.

Or as a quarterback, having the ability to go from your first read, second read, third read, and make it all the way to your fourth, the ability to eliminate half the field, and function like a true quarterback, or a true professional athlete should be able to function.

And I think offenses now are telling kids where to run the football versus allowing their natural instincts and their natural abilities to take over and to make the play better. There's a lot of narcissistic coaches out there, and they're not as creative as people make them out to be. They're system players and system coaches, and they only those kind of things.

But when you have a very unique player like a Barry Sanders, or a Emmitt Smith, or a Thurman Thomas, or a Marshall Faulk that's very unique in what they do, and you try to contain that to only limit it to this, you have not reached the full potential of that individual. And I think that's some of the things that's going on right now in the National Football League as well as at the collegiate level, too.

JASON FITZ: We got to talk to you about Bud Light. This is a badass campaign. This is incredible. Talk to us about what Bud Light is doing for the Super Bowl.

EMMITT SMITH: Well, I'm thrilled because, this postseason, myself and Peyton Manning have teamed up with Bud Light with this new campaign, Easy to Receive receiver campaign, and we're actually trying to give away a lot of tickets to the postseason games. And Bud Light is doing a great job of making some fans very happy during the Super Bowl.

And Peyton Manning and myself, we both have played in Super Bowls, so we understand what it's like. And so when Peyton and I shot our commercial in a bar, Peyton brought everybody drinks around the bar, and then he started throwing passes with Bud Lights around the room.

And for me, I just judged the competition, judge who scored a touchdown and how they did it. And so it was a great experience working with Peyton Manning who's a hell of a athlete, not only that, but a great entertainer, funny guy, personality is off the charts. And so we had a great time shooting the commercial.

JASON FITZ: We appreciate you hanging out with us. Best of luck. Can't wait to watch the campaign and can't wait to see where it goes. And check out Bud Light to get to the Super Bowl. Come on, who doesn't want to do that?

EMMITT SMITH: Yes, sir. And make sure-- if you get the Bud Light, make sure you drink responsibly as well.

JASON FITZ: Amen, my friend. Thank you so much for hanging out with us. We appreciate you.

EMMITT SMITH: All right, peace out, bro.