Nov 6, 2011; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys ring of honoree Charles Haley celebrates during a halftime ceremony against the Seattle Seahawks at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys and the Hall of Shame

Last weeks poll question on The Landry Hat was about whether or not Tony Romo was worthy of being enshrined in Canton. The debate then ensued about Romo’s credentials. The truth is Tony has the regular season statistical ability to be eligible for the Hall, but he does not have the team success on the field to warrant such a case. We can sit here and argue about the candidacy of Tony Romo until we are all blue in the face but in this blogger’s opinion it means absolutely nothing because the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio is absolutely meaningless and shameful until one former Cowboy is enshrined. Every year I watch the Hall of Fame voting and am appalled and embarrassed for the league I love so much when the writers overlook a five time Super Bowl champion and a key component to two of the greatest dynasties in the history of the NFL. Charles Haley was not just a great player, but he was a great leader on the field. His ability to attack the quarterback was only surpassed by his ability to lead his teammates on the field. Haley is the prime case for media bias, because his surly behavior towards reporters is the only reason the writers do not vote for him when the Hall of Fame voters make their decisions. We can debate current players up for enshrinement all we want, but until Charles Haley has a bust in Canton, the building will always be viewed as the Hall of Shame, not the Hall of Fame.

Charles Haley played 14 season in the NFL for the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys. He made his debut in 1986 after being drafted by the 49ers as a Fourth Round pick. Haley was drafted as a linebacker but his pass rushing skills made him the perfect rush defensive end. In his first go around with the San Francisco 49ers he was a key member of the 49ers teams that won back to back Super Bowls in Super Bowl XXIII and Super Bowl XXIV. After head coach Bill Walsh left the 49ers and Joe Montana was pushed out, Haley got in a verbal confrontation with new head coach George Seifert and a physical confrontation with Montana’s successor at quarterback Steve Young, Haley was traded to the Dallas Cowboys in 1991. Haley had the last laugh however, as upon his arrival the Cowboys went on to win back to back Super Bowls in 1992 and 1993 (Super Bowl XVII and Super Bowl XVIII). Haley also was a member of the Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl run in 1995 (Super Bowl XXX). The victory for the Cowboys over the Steelers made Charles Haley the only player in NFL history to be a member of five  Super Bowl winning teams. Injuries forced Haley’s retirement in 1996, but he came back to San Francisco in the 1998 playoffs and played the 1999 season briefly for his old team.

Haley finished his career with 100.5 total career sacks. Haley had six seasons of double digit sack totals in his career (four with SF and two with Dal). Haley was twice named NFC Defensive player of the year (1990, and 1994). He was selected to five Pro Bowl teams and selected as an NFL All Pro twice (once as a linebacker and once as a defensive end).  His sack total is more than that of Andre Tippett and Howie Long, who have both been enshrined in Canton as Hall of Fame players.

In 2011, Haley was enshrined into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor. When interviewed about Haley’s enshrinement, owner Jerry Jones called the trade for Haley, “the piece of the puzzle that put the Cowboys over the top,” in reference to what made the ’92 and ’93 teams Super Bowl champions. Along with Jones’ comments about Haley, former San Francisco head coach Bill Walsh has also been outspoken about Haley’s candidacy for Hall of Fame enshrinement.

As you can see, the case for Haley should be iron clad for the Hall of Fame. The problem is Haley had a cantankerous relationship with the media. He was usually not made available to the media and was not a good quote for reporters working with the teams and covering the sport at the time. The media also despises him for his actions against George Seifert and his altercation with Steve Young. Since the media members vote on the Hall of Fame, the current members of the voting committee have an obvious bias towards Haley. There is not greater media injustice than the “jihad” they have taken out to destroy Haley’s legacy on the field. Other than media bias, there is no other reason Haley is not heading to Canton to make his acceptance speech.

The fact that the Cowboys accepted to play in the Hall of Fame game this year makes me sick. The Cowboys should be out making a stand against the injustice against Charles Haley. I have been on the record in the past as saying all Cowboys should boycott the game until Haley is elected. Until Haley is enshrined in the Hall, Canton will continue to be the Hall of Shame not the Hall of Fame.

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