4. Chuck Howley, LB (1961-73)
The case for greatness:
Howley was a five-time All-Pro and six-time Pro-Bowler outside linebacker who was fantastic in space. He intercepted 25 balls and had 18 fumble recoveries in his career. Being the only player on a losing team to win the Super Bowl MVP, Howley was phenomenal in big-time games, intercepting three balls in two Super Bowls, and having multiple other big-game performances.
Howley did everything on the field well, and was a mainstay on the early Cowboys teams, helping them emerge to relevancy. He also made a big fan of Tom Landry as well, as the famous coach once said “I don’t know that I’ve seen anybody better at linebacker than Howley.”
Why he’s underappreciated:
Much of why Howley is underappreciated comes down to two different reasons: First, he played on some very bad Cowboys teams early in his career since he was traded to the Cowboys in only their second year of existence after becoming an expansion team in 1960. Secondly, stats were counted differently back in that era, and certain stats (like sacks) were not recorded at all.
So, Howley, while not considered a sack machine, reportedly held his own rushing the quarterback very well and ended up with an unofficial sack total of 26.5 sacks. All of this leads to his numbers not being as eye-popping as they could’ve been, which is probably why he was a Hall of Fame snub, despite being in the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor. Many consider it a travesty that he has continued to be looked over.