Let’s start the hall of fame campaign
FRISCO, Texas – It’s time to write your MP. Or Men.
This is just off the press:
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Seniors Committee has just announced this year’s 25 semi-finalists for the Class of 2023. There will be a reduction to 12 by the committee on July 27, then to three at its next meeting on August 16, with all three eligible to be voted on this year instead of just the previous two. It’s time to catch up.
And guess what? When you have just turned 86 and have been eligible for consecration for 43 years, or half of your life, it must seem like an eternity. Ask Chuck Howley.
Come on, you know who he is even if you’re not a Cowboys fan. Heck, even if you haven’t been to Texas Stadium or AT&T Stadium, you surely have a TV, and at some point in all those years of game broadcasting someone must have focused on the famous Cowboys Ring of Honor. You only had to see his name up there among the Staubachs, the Aikmans, the Landrys and the Jordans and… do I have to go on since it’s been 45 years?
Incidentally, the first 54 in the Ring (sorry Randy White) and the fourth to be named overall behind just Bob Lilly (1975), followed by Don Meredith and Don Perkins the year after. Very good company when you were next in 1977.
And remember this, the godfather of the Ring, Tex Schramm, was no frivolous judge of who belonged up there. The original Cowboys president, a better judge than most, believed that linebacker Howley was a keystone in making the expansion franchise what it has become, and that he was one of the best players, not only for the Cowboys but throughout the NFL.
Ah, wait, don’t bother writing your congressman, you know, that old saying, seemingly deaf as they are. Those days really seem like a waste of time.
Better yet, write, uh text, uh Tweet, Instagram one of the 48 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee (there is one position open). Their names are listed on the PFHOF website. I’m sure you’re smarter than me at finding these people. A Chuck Howley should no longer be, as one website has ruled, the All-Snub team.
And it should become a two-man campaign. Because in the now 25-man discussion, there’s also Cowboys cornerback Everson Walls. And don’t get me started on this one after the committee threw a big face out of Heisman in Walls in 2018 despite making it to the Modern Era Finals in its final year of eligibility.
And look, I’ll admit I’m biased on this one. I’ve known “Cubby” now for, oh, like, 38 years. First as a Cowboys player. Then as Ron Springs’ kidney donor teammate. And now on our _Mick Shots_ podcast here on DallasCowboys.com, in addition to being my co-host for Star Sports Tours meet and greet the day before Cowboys home games.
OK, we’re not exactly going out to dinner together, but we’re close enough to debate Cowboys on opposite sides of the fence without feeling hurt. It’s near me.
Walls, upon hearing this latest news from the Hall of Fame, said, hiding his previous disappointment with his unique gift of chatterbox, “Maybe second time is a charm. I couldn’t outrun modern-day youth. Can “Maybe I could outrun those old Senior farts.”
But again, don’t take my word for it all. Watch it and in doing so remember the mission of the Hall of Fame, which for me is to preserve the history of professional football. The stories. Characters. And the selection committee rightly does so by placing the worthy busts in the Canton, Ohio rotunda to live in perpetuity. You heard this reminder from me until my face was blue.
Take Howley. Most remember him playing for the Cowboys from 1961 to 1973. Thirteen years old. The Chicago Bears’ 1958 first-round pick, seventh overall from West Virginia, played two seasons for the Bears, a serious knee injury in 1959 limiting him to just three games at the end of that season. the season. The knee looked so bad, Howley prematurely decided it was time to retire. He returned to his hometown of Wheeling, West Virginia to run a gas station, as they were called at the time. A fucking gas station.
But after playing in his West Virginia alumni game in the spring of 1961, he decided not to retire, and the Cowboys that year, Johnny on the spot, used their first and ninth picks. turn of 1963 to exchange his rights. Come on, you can’t make this thing up. And the rest is history.
Five-time All-Pro first team.
Six-time Pro Bowl linebacker.
Super Bowl MVP, the only man to win this award while playing for the losing team, the Cowboys in Super Bowl V, 16-13, against the Baltimore Colts. Voters couldn’t ignore his dominating performance in a game marked by turnover, Howley with two interceptions, a few tackles and a forced fumble. Howley’s first interception set up a Cowboys field goal. His forced fumble set up their only touchdown.
Worth remembering, right?
Howley finished his career with 25 interceptions, as well as 399 return yards. It’s 16 yards by choice. Two came back for touchdowns. Finished with four playoff picks. For a linebacker now, not just any linebacker for sure.
This brings us to Walls. So go. It’s time to right that wrong from 2018 when the selection committee crushed the former Cowboys cornerback after advancing to the Finals, with Walls waiting for word in his hotel room in Atlanta, never receiving the blow he was waiting for.
Here is all I have to say about it. Walls is the only NFL player to lead the league in steals three times. Only. He is the only NFL rookie in the Super Bowl era to lead the league with the 11 interceptions he caught in 1981, to date a Cowboys rookie record. Only.
And… and… no NFL player — pick your Hall of Fame cornerback of choice — has intercepted more passes in a single season since his 11 in 1981. Let me do that math. It represents 40 years of NFL football and encompasses the careers of Hall of Fame defensive backs such as Deion Sanders, Champ Bailey, Darrell Green, Rod Woodson, Charles Woodson, Aeneas Williams, Ty Law and Ronnie Lott.
And that was just another “only” until a sophomore Cowboys corner named Trevon Diggs last season matched those 11 interceptions, with Walls cheering him on every pick of the way.
Oh, and let’s mention that Walls, the kid from Richardson, Texas, who had to walk to Grambling State to eventually become an undrafted rookie in that 1981 season, also added a Super Bowl ring to his Hall-worthy resume. while playing. for the New York Giants in the 1990 season. Additionally, Walls’ five seasons leading the Cowboys in interceptions are “only” matched by Terence Newman. And his 44 regular-season interceptions rank second in franchise history behind only Hall of Famer Mel Renfro (52). Plus, add four more playoff interceptions, two of those overlooked in that memorable “Catch” game the Cowboys lost to San Francisco in his rookie season.
And get this. Walls’ career includes two strike seasons in the NFL, recording seven picks in just nine games in the 1982 season and five in the 12 games he played in a 1987 season that featured three substitute games. Impossible to say how many more picks he would have had if he had played those 11 missing games.
Don’t tell me he’s not worthy.
And just to prove there’s a backlog of guys associated with the Cowboys worthy of Hall of Fame consideration, the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Coach and Contributing Committee have also announced their 29 nominees. for the semi-final for 2023, eventually reducing that group to 12, then one. . So what about Cowboys founder, original owner Clint Murchison Jr., now on this list of semi-finalists for the second time? And here is all I have to say about it:
Without the late Murchison, who owned the Cowboys for 23 years (1960-83), there might never have been the Dallas Cowboys. Don’t you think that, too, is worth remembering in years to come, someone who helped put not only the Cowboys, but the city of Dallas on the world map.
And one more: John Wooten, a pioneer in his own right. Wooten the second black scholarship athlete at the University of Colorado in 1955 only former Cowboys wide receiver Frank Clarke. A guard, Wooten was a 1959 fifth-round pick of the original Cleveland Browns, blocking during his career there for the indomitable Jimmy Brown as well as eventual Browns Hall of Fame running backs Bobby Mitchell and Leroy Kelly during his nine-year career in Cleveland. .
But more than that, John, after a stint as a players’ agent, became the Cowboys’ director of professional scouting from 1975 to 1991. He then created player development programs for the NFL in 1991, was vice president/player staff for Philadelphia. Eagles in 1992 and served as assistant manager of professional/college scouting for the Baltimore Ravens until his retirement in 2002.
And continuing in his pioneering ways, in 2003 Wooten became president of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, ushering in an era of improved front office coaching and interviewing opportunities for candidates of color, a position he proudly held. until 2019.
You know what I mean? You know what I mean about all these deserving guys?
Their unique and successful stories must be preserved, frozen in time after those of us who tell them today are long gone. And no better way to do that than to start the campaign for their rightful entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Now get to writing.