WALL OF SHAME TO HALL OF FAME: Flashback–Change of scenery worked for Charles Haley; he thinks Dallas will help Hardy | Counseling was key to smarter decisions, funneling rage and leaving aggressiveness on the field
Greg Hardy isn’t the first player the Dallas Cowboys have ever brought in with baggage.
“Bags?” Charles Haley mused, “I had suitcases. Full suitcases.”
Haley was one of the NFL’s best pass rushers at the turn of the 1990 decade. He hit double figures in sacks in four of his first six seasons and went to three Pro Bowls. He was San Francisco’s dominant pass rusher on back-to-back Super Bowl champions in 1988-89.
But Haley had issues. Anger issues. There were confrontations with his coaches and teammates. Continue reading →
SACKED FOR FIFTH TIME: Dallas Cowboys living legend Charles Haley again denied induction into NFL Hall of Fame
IRVING, Texas – Once again, Charles Haley’s been left out of the latest Hall of Fame class.
This marked the fifth year Haley, who’s the only player in NFL history with five Super Bowl rings, was a Hall of Fame finalist without getting in. Michael Strahan, Andre Reed, Walter Jones, Derrick Brooks, Aeneas Williams, Claude Humphrey and Ray Guy all were named into the Class of 2014.
Haley ranks 12th in Cowboys history with 34 sacks and had 100.5 for his career. He would have been the 13th former Cowboys player who accrued at least five years with the team to be named to the Hall of Fame.
Haley, who was the NFC Defensive Player of the Year twice in his career, joined the Cowboys in 1992 in a trade from San Francisco. Many believe Haley was the difference-maker on defense to put the team over the hump. Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin were already in place and leading a high-octane offense, but it was Haley’s presence that added a needed piece.
The converted defensive end had six sacks in his first season but played a big role in the Cowboys having the No. 1 ranked defense in the NFL in 1992. In Super Bowl XXVII, Haley made a game-changing play when he sacked Bills quarterback Jim Kelly and forced a fumble, which was recovered in midair by Jimmie Jones for a touchdown. The Cowboys eventually pulled away for a convincing 52-17 win.
Haley had four sacks in 1993 but his most memorable moment came after a Week 2 loss to Buffalo, which dropped the Cowboys to 0-2. Haley emphatically slammed his helmet through a locker room wall at Texas Stadium and voiced his anger in the Cowboys’ not having signed Emmitt Smith, who was two games into a contract dispute with Jerry Jones and the organization. Haley’s comment, “We can’t win with a rookie,” in reference to Smith’s backup Derrick Lassic, might have been the final straw as the Cowboys and Smith came to terms the next week. Smith went on to have an MVP season and the Cowboys won another Super Bowl.
The Cowboys went back to the No. 1 defense in 1994 and Haley had his first double-digit sack season with the club with 12.5, including four in the season opener in Pittsburgh.
Haley had 10.5 sacks in 1995, battling through a bad back all season. He had a sack against the Steelers in Super Bowl XXX, which helped him earn his league-best fifth Super Bowl ring.
In three Super Bowls with the Cowboys, Haley had 2.5 sacks and he had 4.5 sacks in his five Super Bowl games played
RELATED: Charles Haley won’t be included in NFL Hall of Fame Class of 2014
NEW YORK – Charles Haley’s wait continues.
The fifth time was not the charm for the former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman, who again was denied entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Derrick Brooks, Walter Jones, Andre Reed, Michael Strahan, Aeneas Williams, Ray Guy and Claude Humphrey form the Class of 2014, announced Saturday night. Brooks and Jones earned enshrinement as first-year eligible candidates, and Strahan made it after missing last year in his first year of eligibility.
Williams and Reed have waited longer, with Reed in his ninth year of eligibility and Williams in his fifth. Guy, the first punter to earn induction and only the second true specialist, and Humphrey were seniors nominees.
The seven-man class will be enshrined in Canton this summer.
The 46 selectors met for a record 8 hours, 59 minutes, with Haley’s discussion taking 25 minutes. Discussion on Tony Dungy lasted 47 minutes, the longest of the day, with Brooks taking only 10 minutes.
Haley made the cut to 10, but he, Jerome Bettis, Kevin Greene, Marvin Harrison and Will Shields were eliminated in the reduction to five. Morten Andersen, Tim Brown, Eddie DeBartolo Jr., Tony Dungy and John Lynch were eliminated from consideration in the first reduction ballot from 15 to 10.
Haley, whose final retirement came following the 1999 season, has been eligible for enshrinement for 10 years. In that time, he has watched seven teammates inducted into the Hall of Fame.
It had seemed this might be Haley’s year.
He remains the only player with five Super Bowl rings, winning two with the San Francisco 49ers and three with the Cowboys.
Haley’s teams went 153-66, including 19-6 in the postseason. Only once in 12 regular seasons did his team have a losing record. That was in 1999 after he had retired and then unretired.
His teams won 10 division titles, and he played in seven NFC Championship Games. His teams missed the playoffs only twice.
PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME: Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Charles Haley a finalist for the fifth time
IRVING, Texas – Former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Charles Haley is once again one of the finalists for the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Haley, a finalist for the fifth time, joins four first-year eligible nominees among the 15 modern-era finalists to be considered for election to the Hall of Fame when the selection committee meets in New York City on Feb. 1.
If Haley made it this year, he’d be the 15th Cowboys player to be elected to the Hall of Fame, joining Troy Aikman, Larry Allen, Tony Dorsett, Bob Hayes, Michael Irvin, Tom Landry, Bob Lilly, Mel Renfro, Deion Sanders, Tex Schramm, Emmitt Smith, Roger Staubach, Randy White, and Rayfield Wright.
Haley played 12 seasons and in 169 games and is the only player in NFL history to play on five Super Bowl winning teams between his time in Dallas and San Francisco.
He began his career as a linebacker in San Francisco, where he recorded four double-digit sack seasons. He’d later get traded to the Cowboys, where he’d record two more double-digit sack seasons in 1994 and 1995 as a defensive end. Haley finished his career with 100.5 total sacks, getting named to five Pro Bowls and garnering two All-Pro selections.
Former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson, who was a semifinalist this year and won two Super Bowl titles during his time in Dallas, didn’t make the list of finalists.
The 15 modern-era finalists will be the only ones considered for Hall of Fame election when the 46-member selection committee meets. A finalist must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent to be elected.
To be eligible for election, players and coaches must have last played or coached more than five seasons ago. Derrick Brooks, Tony Dungy, Marvin Harrison and Walter Jones are the four first-year eligible nominees. Haley and Kevin Greene have both been eligible for 10 years.
All the finalists were determined by a vote of the selection committee from a list of 126 nominees, which was reduced to a list of 25 semifinalists. In addition, Ray Guy and Claude Humphrey were selected as senior candidates by the Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee, leaving 15 modern-era and two senior nominees among the full list of finalists.
Here’s a list of all the finalists:
Morten Andersen, Kicker
Jerome Bettis, Running Back
Derrick Brooks, Linebacker
Tim Brown, Wide Receiver/Kick Returner/Punt Returner
Edward DeBartolo, Jr., Owner
Tony Dungy, Coach
Kevin Greene, Linebacker/Defensive End
*Ray Guy, Punter
Charles Haley, Defensive End/Linebacker
Marvin Harrison, Wide Receiver
*Claude Humphrey, Defensive End
Walter Jones, Tackle
John Lynch, Free Safety
Andre Reed, Wide Receiver
Will Shields, Guard
Michael Strahan, Defensive End
Aeneas Williams, Cornerback/Safety
DALLAS COWBOYS HISTORY: The Great Wall of Dallas | Cowboys trenches paved the way for an NFL historic run | Special Feature
As we sit four weeks from what might be the first Dallas Cowboys playoff run in a few years, it’s time to take a look back at a little Dallas Cowboys history. If you’re a regular reader on this website you may remember that “trenches” is a common theme. We all know that winning teams (and subsequently NFL clubs with postseason) success usually comes down to the walls (trenches) they’ve built. Obviously it takes time for these men to coalesce and become cohesive as a single unit. I’m not suggesting that the 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys offensive line compares to the 1990’s line that helped win three titles in four years. However, Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys organization has added key components in recent years. This five part video series from NFL Films reminds us all of what can happen with the right mix of trench men. Enjoy!
The Great Wall of Dallas- The Perfect Unit | (4:20) | (Watch this Video)
See which players comprised “The Great Wall of Dallas”. Check out the guys who came out of nowhere to form one of the best offensive lines in NFL history. They helped pave the way for three NFL Hall of Famers.
The Great Wall of Dallas- Their First Super Bowl | 5:54 | (Watch this Video)
Actor Gary Busey used to hang around the Dallas Cowboys. Learn about Busey’s fandom and check out how the Dallas Cowboys won their first Super Bowl with “The Great Wall of Dallas.”. Buffalo Bills fans may want to skip to the next video.
The Great Wall of Dallas- Nate the Kitchen | 7:00 | (Watch this Video)
Former Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Nate Newton was known for being extremely overweight, but that does not mean he did not make light of the situation. See how he compared to former Chicago Bear William ‘the refrigerator” Perry and gained stardom thanks to John Madden.
The Great Wall of Dallas- The End of the Line | 5:36 | (Watch this Video)
Mark Tuinei and Erik Williams had very interesting roads to success. See how the two became a big part of the Dallas Cowboys and also how Nate Newton overcame drug issues to help give back to the community.
The Great Wall of Dallas- Where Are They Now? | 10: 52 | (Watch this Video)
Find out what Nate Newton, Mark Stepnoski, John Gesek and Kevin Gogan are doing now. Also, see which former member of the great offensive line passed away, but left lasting memories for all of his teammates.
Courtesy: NFL | NFL Films | NFL: A Football Life series | Dallas Cowboys
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One of four NFL teams without a Super Bowl appearance, the Cleveland Browns finally have a tangible sign of their eight championships prior to the modern era.
Digging through a box in his North Carolina garage as part of the reality show “Garage Gold” on the DIY Network, the grandson of a former team minority owner found a trophy commemorating the 1946 All-America Football Conference championship.
The AAFC did not present teams with trophies, so the 38 players commissioned a pair for owner Arthur B. McBride and minority owner Daniel Sherby.
The 1946 season not only jumpstarted the Browns franchise, but was also the first of 10 consecutive seasons in the title game under Hall of Fame coach Paul Brown.
The Browns won AAFC titles in 1946, ’47, ’48 and ’49, and then won the NFL title in their first year in the league in 1950. The NFL did not hand out permanent championship trophies until 1966.
“We did not know that this one existed at all,” Browns alumni relations manager Tony Dick said after returning from North Carolina this week, via the Chronicle-Telegram. “It’s pretty special that we actually have something that’s physical and you can look and it says that we’ve won a championship.”
The Browns will work with the Pro Football Hall of Fame to decide where the trophy is displayed. If it ends up at the refurbished team headquarters in Berea, the Browns will have a surrogate connection to their halcyon days to overshadow the manufactured motivation that stands as a daily reminder of the “Factory of Sadness” era.
Courtesy: Chris Wesseling | The official NFL website writer
David “Deacon” Jones, the Hall of Fame defensive end whom some consider the greatest defensive player in NFL history, has died at the age of 74.
The Washington Redskins, for whom Jones played his final NFL season in 1974, posted an obituary on their website Monday night after announcing the news. Natural causes was given as the cause of Jones’ death.
Jones’ NFL career started in 1961, when he was selected by the Los Angeles Rams in the 14th round (186th overall) out of Mississippi Vocational (now known as Mississippi Valley State). Jones spent his first 11 seasons in Los Angeles, where he teamed with Merlin Olsen, Rosey Grier and Lamar Lundy to form “The Fearsome Foursome” — one of the most famous defensive lines in NFL history. Jones was selected to seven consecutive Pro Bowls with the Rams from 1964 to 1970 and made eight overall.
“A tremendously sad day for our Rams family with the passing of Deacon Jones,” tweeted Kevin Demoff, executive vice president of football operations and COO for the now-St. Louis Rams. “Revered on & off the field, a legend who redefined the game.”
Few would disagree with former Rams coach George Allen, who labeled Jones as the “greatest defensive end of modern football.” Jones, also a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, was nicknamed “Secretary of Defense” by Rams fans. Jones later was named “defensive end of the Century” by Sports Illustrated in 1999.
Jones was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980.
Jones — who proved to be one of the more durable players in NFL history, missing just five games during his decorated 14-year career — was traded to the San Diego Chargers in 1972 and had immediate success, receiving defensive captain honors and a Pro Bowl selection. Jones finished his career in 1974 with the Washington Redskins.
In addition to his accomplishments on the field, the outspoken Jones is credited with coining the phrase”sacking the quarterback.”
Sacks weren’t kept as an official NFL statistic until 1982. Had they been kept far earlier, few doubt Jones would be the NFL’s all-time leader. According to the Rams’ media guide, Jones recorded a team-best 159.5 sacks with the franchise and 173.5 in his career. He recorded double-digit sacks seven times with the Rams and became the first defensive lineman to post 100 solo tackles in a season (1967).
Jones achieved success in the corporate world in the decades following his retirement, but the football accolades continued piling on. He was named to the NFL’s 75th anniversary team in 1994 and voted the 15th greatest player in league history in a 2010 NFL Network special.
Jones made several trips to visit troops in Iraq and was active in the community. He particularly enjoyed working with youngsters and youth organizations. His passion for helping shape young minds led him to start the Deacon Jones Foundation in 1997. He served as the foundation’s president and CEO.
Deacon Jones: 1938-2013
Related video: NFL Films remembers Deacon Jones
06:05 – NFL Films looks back at Hall of Fame defensive end Deacon Jones’ legendary career with words from his contemporaries and the man himself. Click HERE to watch video.
Former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly announced today (Monday) that he has been diagnosed with cancer.
The Hall of Fame signal-caller is battling Squamous-cell carcinoma of the upper jawbone, and he is scheduled to undergo surgery Friday.
“This past couple of weeks has been difficult for me and because of the nature of social media I thought it would be best to share with everyone what has been going on with my health,” Kelly said in a statement on the Bills’ official website. “I was recently diagnosed with Squamous-cell carcinoma (cancer) of the upper jawbone.
“I have undergone tests which have shown that the cancer is isolated to my upper jaw and has not spread to other parts of my body. Surgery is scheduled for June 7th and doctors have told me that the prognosis for my recovery is very good.”
Kelly knows there’s a long road ahead, but he expressed optimism Monday that he’ll be OK.
“When you hear the word cancer, it automatically scares the crap out of you,” Kelly told reporters Monday. “I know it not only scared me, but it scared my family. Like everything, it’s just another river to cross and another stumbling block.
“I’ve been to the top many, many times, and I’ve been to the bottom. It’s just one of those roller-coaster rides I’ve been on throughout my life; it’s just another challenge for me. I know I’ll beat it — that’s the bottom line.”
Kelly was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002 and is the Bills’ all-time leading passer with 35,467 yards. He also led the Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls from 1990 to 1993.
Our thoughts are with Jim and the entire Kelly family. All of us here at NFL.com and NFL Network wish him a speedy recovery.
Click HERE to watch the video – Duration – 5:07
07:44 – Former Dallas Cowboy Ed “Too Tall” Jones discusses his induction into the Black College Football Hall of Fame, NFL Hall of Fame, current defensive ends, the Rooney Rule, and the Dallas Cowboys.
Former Cowboys defensive end Charles Haley and his five Super Bowl rings belong in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
He was denied again this year, largely because of the logjam of first-time eligible, shoo-in candidates like Larry Allen, Warren Sapp and Jonathan Ogden.
But with former Colts receiver Marvin Harrison and Tampa Bay linebacker Derrick Brooks as the only big name first-time candidates up next year, Haley, a four-time finalist, should finally get his gold jacket in 2014.
He finished his career with 100.5 career sacks, was a five-time Pro Bowler and a first-team All-Pro twice.
All that pales in comparison to being a key member of five title teams, two with the 49ers and three with the Cowboys.
As much as the Cowboys were about the Hall of Fame triplets on offense in Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin, they didn’t sniff the Super Bowl and become champions until they made the trade with San Francisco for Haley.
He was the final piece to the Cowboys’ dynasty team of the 1990’s and very much deserving of induction into the Hall of Fame.
That should come next year.
The race to the postseason presses on, with some teams vying for playoff spots while others deal with the walking wounded and the disappointment only a lost season can bring.
That’s the basis of the NFL — competition. So it should come as no surprise that when it comes to celebrating the all-time greats of the game, a certain level of competition exists before determining just who those "greats," or, as it were, Hall of Famers, are. This competition doesn’t take place on the playing field; rather, it’s a game of survival of the fittest in the Hall of Fame voters’ hearts and minds. Who will make the cut?
Well, much as with the playoffs, there’s an elimination process. A giant initial list is reduced to 25 (plus two Senior Committee nominees), with the next big cut paring the group down to 15 finalists early next month. With that in mind, evaluate the field to determine who makes the next jump.
Here are a couple of notes to get you in line, with regard to handicapping the field of outstanding former players looking to don the coveted yellow jacket:
» Only consider what occurred on the field. Can’t guarantee that same stipulation is made by every voter.
» Pro Bowls mean very little, especially in the Y2K era, when a trip to Hawaii was more about reputation and popularity than it had ever been.
» Some guys dominated for a short period of time; others excelled for more than 10 years. Both types of legacies are valuable to these eyes.
Semifinalists are broke up the into five categories, according to their likelihood of making it to the next stage. Here goes …
Larry Allen (G/T, 1994-2007) and Jonathan Ogden (T, 1996-2007): Both are first-ballot Hall of Fame players all the way. It would be shocking if both don’t make it to Canton right away. Allen was dominant at two line positions and has a Super Bowl ring. So does Ogden, who, along with Walter Jones, was the dominant left tackle in pro football during the Y2K era.
Tim Brown (WR/KR, 1988-2004): A finalist last year, Brown, who retired with more than 1,000 career pass receptions, has gotten some juice in the media. What shouldn’t be forgotten is what a good returner he was out of the gate. He’ll be a finalist again this year.
Cris Carter (WR, 1987-2002): Like Brown, Carter was a finalist last year and also has more than 1,000 catches to his credit. This is the year the former Minnesota Vikings great gets in. Of all the Hall of Fame "injustices," Carter is the new Art Monk, i.e., the guy who must not wait any longer.
Bill Parcells (head coach, 1983-2006): Parcells should be a shoo-in. Winning two Super Bowl rings and taking four franchises to the playoffs should be enough. And what about spawning Bill Belichick’s career? He’ll be a finalist again this year. (Prediction: The Tuna goes all the way.)
Andre Reed (WR, 1985-2000): So many fans feel sorry for Reed, particularly those in Buffalo. He’ll make the finalists’ cut again, but I’m not convinced he’s a Hall of Fame player. Evidently, the voters aren’t, either. The wide receiver tally reads Carter, Brown … and then Reed.
Warren Sapp (DT, 1995-2007): One of the dominant defensive tackles, if not the dominant DT of his era, he should be a finalist in his first year of eligibility. Bear in mind the fact that Sapp won a Super Bowl on a team known for its defense. That’s key.
Will Shields (G, 1993-2006): This guy was about as premium a player as a club could have on the offensive line. Take a look at Priest Holmes’ insane numbers from 2001 to 2003, or Larry Johnson’s campaign in 2005, when he gained 1,750 yards. During Shields’ last season, Kansas City ranked ninth in the league in rushing. The year after? The Chiefs finished 32nd. He was a great offensive lineman, but with Allen and Ogden locks, this might not be his year.
Jerome Bettis (RB, 1993-2005): Bettis is a sure bet to make the finalist list, due to his popularity and his status as the NFL’s sixth all-time leading rusher. He’s a 50-50 proposition for enshrinement this year.
Edward DeBartolo, Jr. (owner, 1977-2000): The recent "A Football Life" documentary gave DeBartolo some run, but the concern here stems from the well-documented issues surrounding his involvement with former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards and a river-boat casino controversy. He makes the finalists’ list. DeBartolo was too influential — and too successful (five rings) — not to be considered a strong candidate.
Kevin Greene (LB/DE, 1985-1999): Like Bettis, Greene is probably a 50-50 proposition to make the Hall, if his odds aren’t a little lower. The man with 160 sacks (third all-time) was a finalist last year and should be again.
Charles Haley (DE/LB, 1986-1996, 1999): If there’s one guy you can’t believe is not yet in the Hall of Fame, it’s got to be Charles Haley. Haley has five Super Bowl rings, and he was a disruptive force, the linchpin that pushed the Dallas Cowboys of the 1990s to the highest levels of success. Those factors easily push Haley into the finalists’ group … again.
John Lynch (S, 1993-2007): Lynch was an incredibly popular player. His pedigree and affable nature, and the fact that he — like Sapp — was a key cog on a Super Bowl-winning team known for its defense, will easily be enough to get him on the finalists’ list. Lynch brought a Ronnie Lott-type mentality to the safety position.
Aeneas Williams (CB/S, 1991-2004): The NFC’s second-best corner (behind Deion Sanders) of the 1990s will eventually get in the Hall of Fame, because there aren’t many corners of his ilk not already in.
Don Coryell (head coach, 1973-1986): Coryell was a master innovator whose tweaks to offensive football, as well as the numbering system used for route trees, made the modern passing game simpler for quarterbacks. He turned around two franchises – the Cardinals and the San Diego Chargers — and will eventually have a bust in Canton. It’s a matter of when, not if.
CLOSE … BUT NOT THIS TIME
Morten Andersen (K, 1982-2004, 2006-2007): The NFL’s only player to be the all-time leading scorer of two franchises, Anderson probably won’t make it — rightly or wrongly — because he was a kicker.
Steve Atwater (S, 1989-1999): Atwater would knock your lights out. Sometimes, he’d inadvertently destroy his fellow DBs in the process. The former Denver Broncos great was impactful from his first training camp on, something that can’t be said about everyone on the semifinalists’ list. Projection: Atwater’s votes are cannibalized by another heavy hitter, John Lynch.
Terrell Davis (RB, 1995-2001): This is Davis’ seventh year of eligibility. That should tell you something. All those Mike Shanahan-coached running backs who’ve gained 1,000 yards — like Alfred Morris — aren’t helping Davis’ cause. It’s unfortunate.
Joe Jacoby (T, 1981-1993): Teammate Russ Grimm was inducted into the Hall in 2010. Grimm is still coaching in the NFL, which probably kept him on the radar. The pantheon of Washington Redskins greats includes a few names before we get to Jacoby, despite the fact he was quietly effective for the better part of 13 years.
Art Modell (owner, 1961-2011): The recently deceased owner will probably fall short. The fear is that when he moved his team from Cleveland to Baltimore, where they became the Ravens, will never be overlooked. Modell did much for the league in six decades of service. It won’t be enough.
Michael Strahan (DE, 1993-2007): Strahan’s popular, he’s in the public eye, and he was an outstanding pass rusher with 141.5 career sacks. This is the toughest former player to project, but with Haley and Greene still waiting, Strahan may be the odd man out.
Paul Tagliabue (commissioner, 1989-2006): Back in the public eye due to the New Orleans Saints’ bounty fiasco, the former de facto CEO will eventually reside in Canton. Voters haven’t been impressed enough by Tagliabue’s contributions to push him forward in the selection process.
Steve Tasker (ST/WR, 1985-1997): The greatest special teams player in the modern history of the league, Tasker’s viability doesn’t improve … because he is the greatest special teams player. The reason he could be a possible Hall of Famer is the same factor that keeps him out. Odd.
George Young (contributor, 1968-2001): "Contributor" is hard for some fans to contemplate and, at the end of the day, appreciate. The former New York Giants general manager drafted Phil Simms and Lawrence Taylor, and built excellent football teams in the 1986 and 1990 Giants. Still, is he among the top 15 names mentioned? Don’t imagine the voters lean that way.
HALL OF VERY GOOD
Roger Craig (RB, 1983-1993): Craig was a fantastic all-around player and, ultimately, a Hall-of-Very Gooder. He was a three-dimensional running back, much like Walter Payton, but without the far-reaching numbers. With just three 1,000-yard rushing seasons (and another receiving), Craig faces a long road to enshrinement.
Karl Mecklenburg (LB, 1983-1994): Versatile and consistent, Mecklenburg was the kind of player who could play with his hand in the dirt, stand up at outside linebacker, or play inside, like Sean Lee. Call him an athlete who defensive coordinators in 2012 could wrap their arms around. Nonetheless, the Hall of Fame is for the elite of the elite.
Albert Lewis (CB, 1983-1998): Albert Lewis was a remarkable football player. At 6-foot-2, he could lock up with the giants of today, like Brandon Marshall. Besides having 42 career interceptions, and starting at corner until he was 38 — 38! — Lewis blocked an astounding 11 kicks in his career.
Courtesy: Elliot Harrison
Former Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Larry Allen was among the 27 Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalists announced Friday.
Allen was joined on the list by former Cowboys defensive lineman Charles Haley and former Cowboys coach Bill Parcells, both finalists last year.
Allen is among six first-year eligible candidates, joining kicker Morten Andersen, safety John Lynch, offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, defensive tackle Warren Sapp and defensive end Michael Strahan.
In addition to the six first-year eligible nominees, one other previously eligible candidate, cornerback Albert Lewis, is a semifinalist for the first time.
Each of the remaining 20 nominees on the selection committee’s list has been a semifinalist at least once before this year.
Haley, who played for the Cowboys from 1992-96, has been eligible eight years and a finalist the past three years. Parcells, who coached the Cowboys from 2003-06, was a finalist last year.
The list of 27 semifinalists will be reduced by mail ballot to 15 modern-era finalists. That list increases to 17 finalist nominees with the inclusion of senior committee nominees defensive tackle Curley Culp and linebacker Dave Robinson.
The results of the modern-era reduction vote to 15 finalists will be announced in early January 2013.
The Class of 2013 will be determined at the selection committee’s annual meeting Feb. 2, the day before Super Bowl XLVII, in New Orleans. The Class of 2013 will be enshrined Aug. 3 in Canton, Ohio.
DEMARCUS WARE STACKS UP AGAINST THE ALL-TIME GREATEST PASS RUSHERS:
When DeMarcus Ware teamed up with Jason Hatcher to take down Cleveland QB Brandon Weeden in the third quarter of Sunday’s game, Ware became just the fifth player in NFL history to record seven consecutive seasons with 10 or more sacks. So just how elite is the group Ware just joined? Well, the other four men on this list all currently sit in the top 10 of the NFL’s career sacks list and were all first-ballot Hall of Famers. Yeah, it’s that good. Here’s a look at the names Ware now sits aside in NFL history.
Reggie White – Phi/GB/Car – Double-digit sack seasons: 12 – Career sacks: 198
White entered the league as a 24-year-old and wasted absolutely no time in establishing himself as the greatest defensive end to play the game. He recorded 13 sacks as a rookie with the Eagles, then followed with 18, 21 and 18 in his next three seasons. In fact, White had at least 11 sacks in each of his first nine NFL seasons, all but one of which came in Philly. Most amazing of all, Smith is the only man on this list who played on the strong side, meaning opposing quarterbacks usually had a great view of the freight train coming at them.
Double-digit sack seasons: 9
Career sacks: 137.5
John Randle started his career out with eight-straight seasons of double-digits sacks, including an NFL-leading 15.5 in 1997.
He finally snapped his streak in 2000, when he recorded just eight sacks with the Vikings, before moving onto to Seattle for the final three years of his career.
Randle would have one more double-digit sack season with the Seahawks — at age 34 — before retiring in 2003.
He finished fifth on the all-time sacks list.
(though he’s since been passed by Michael Strahan and Jason Taylor).
Lawrence Taylor – NY Giants – Double-digit sack seasons: 7 – Career sacks: 132.5
LT didn’t have the staying power in the NFL that some others on this list enjoyed, but Taylor did manage to become just the second player in NFL history to record a 20-sack season (at least, since sacks became an official stat in 1982). Taylor dropped the QB 20.5 times in 1986, and he would go on to post seasons of 15.5 and 15 sacks before hitting a wall at age 32. Taylor’s prime was a bit short, but he was still the most fear pass rusher in football in the mid-80s.
Bruce Smith – Buffalo/Washington – Double-digit sack seasons: 13 – Career sacks: 200
Here’s an amazing stat from Smith’s legendary career: the NFL’s career sacks leader never once led the NFL in sacks in any given season. But Smith was among the most consistent pass rushers in NFL history, and the only thing that kept him from having 12 straight double-digit sack seasons was a problematic knee that kept him out much of the 1991 season. Smith entered the league the same year as Reggie White, and while White usually earned the nod as the more feared player, Smith lasted three more seasons than White, giving him just enough time to become the first player ever to 200 sacks.
Double-digit sack seasons: 7
Career sacks: 109.5
Of the men on this list, only Reggie White got to seven double-digit sack seasons faster. And while catching White or Smith on the career sacks list will be a tall task, Ware’s numbers match up with anyone’s at this stage in his career.
Through his first eight seasons in the NFL, White had 124 sacks; Smith had 92; Randle had 85.5; Taylor had 114.5 (counting years 2 through 9, because sacks weren’t recorded his rookie season). Ware? He’s currently at 109.5, and he’s on pace to finish the year with 117.5. That would put him behind only Reggie White on this elite list.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees recently broke Johnny Unitas’ streak of 47 consecutive games with a touchdown pass, a record that had stood since 1960. It was considered the league’s most untouchable record.
Ten years ago today, Emmitt Smith broke Walter Payton’s record for career rushing yards. He retired after the 2004 season with 18,355. No active running back is close since LaDainian Tomlinson retired after last season, with 13,684 yards. Rams running back Steven Jackson is the NFL’s leader among active players with 9,473 yards.
“Records ultimately always seem to get broken,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “Some of those ones that are untouchable and last a long time at some point seem to be eclipsed, but because the way the league is, it doesn’t seem like we have these bell cow rushers who get the ball 25-30 times a game like they did years ago.
“Of all of Emmitt’s greatest traits, and he had thousands as a player –- as instinctive a player as I’ve been around, great balance, great power, explosiveness, feel, vision all that stuff -– I think at the end of the day, his most redeeming quality was his durability. Because he was a marked man ever since he was probably 13, 14 years, and everybody knew who Emmitt Smith was going into every game. Every defense wanted to stop him. And week in and week out, year after year after year, he showed up and was so productive. It’s hard to find that in this era of football. …I don’t think anybody might be able to eclipse what he accomplished.”
Smith’s marketing team released a statement from Smith about the 10-year anniversary of his record.
“It was certainly a milestone for me and was difficult to accomplish,” Smith said. “Football is the ultimate team sport; one that’s not really about breaking records. My accomplishments throughout my career were due not only to my abilities, but also certainly to the efforts and sacrifices of others. I can’t take all the credit. We did this as a team and that is something I’ll always cherish.”
VIDEO: Emmitt Smith’s historic run, career highlights, and Jerry Jones’ induction speech to the NFL Hall of Fame crowd in Canton, Ohio.
When Frank Luksa wrote, folks read.
When Luksa spoke, folks listened.
Luksa was a long-time member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee. Having covered the Cowboys from the 1960s, he was the perfect Dallas representative on the panel, having seen all the players and coaches in franchise history.
Mel Renfro was one of the best Luksa had seen. A second-round pick in 1964, Renfro went on to become both a Pro Bowl cornerback and safety, intercepting a franchise-record 52 passes. He went to 10 Pro Bowls and three Super Bowls.
Renfro was a Pro Football Hall of Famer if Luksa had ever seen one. Renfro retired after the 1977 season, then waited the mandatory five years before becoming eligible for induction in 1983.
But his wait lasted 10 more years before Renfro become a finalist for the first time in 1993. But the committee passed him over that year – and also in 1994 and 1995.
So in his fourth Renfro presentation to the committee in 1996, Luksa voiced his frustration.
“If you’re not going to do it for Mel, do it for me,” Luksa told the committee. “I’ve got to get this thing over with. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame and you’re making me look bad. People are wondering why I can’t get him in.”
The committee voted Renfro into the Hall of Fame that day.
Luksa’s words were powerful, both those spoken and in print. His words will be missed.
One of Luksa’s two daughters, Elise Daniel, said her father died peacefully at a Plano rehabilitation center. Luksa had triple heart-bypass surgery in August, Daniel said, and had been in and out of medical facilities since then.
Luksa had long and distinguished careers at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Times Herald and The Dallas Morning News. He retired from The News in 2004.
Luksa was a longtime voter for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which, in 1992, bestowed Luksa with the Dick McCann Memorial Award. The award is annually presented by the Pro Football Writers of America in recognition of long and distinguished reporting in the field of pro football.
During the week of Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium, Luksa, Pat Summerall and Dan Jenkins were presented with the Blackie Sherrod Award for their long and distinguished careers in North Texas covering pro football.
Elise Daniel said that a memorial service for her father has been set for 2 p.m. Friday at First United Methodist Church in Dallas, on 1928 Ross Avenue. Luksa is survived by his wife, Henrietta, daughters Elise Daniel and Laura McMillin, and five grandchildren.
Despite how he comes across to some, former Cowboys receiver Drew Pearson told The Dallas Morning News’ David Moore he still has faith Dez Bryant will grow into that elite player.
“I feel confident that it will happen for him,” Pearson said. “I hope it happens here.
“Dez understands the situation he’s in and really wants it. Maybe it will all come to him at one time.
“Maybe he’s just a late bloomer.”
But Pearson still has plenty to nitpick about the Cowboys’ third-year receiver.
What stood out recently was the Monday Night Football blunder when Bryant was fooled into thinking the Bears were in press coverage. He adjusted his route and went deep rather than run the hitch that was designed. Cornerback Charles Tillman picked off the pass from Tony Romo and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown and a 10-0 lead.
“It was a bad read,” Pearson said. “Those are the kind of things that defenses, defensive backs especially, will give you a false look initially. If you’re not cerebral, if you’re not experienced enough to make adjustments, cornerbacks will play those games with you.
“You can’t get fooled by that in your third year in the league. If you made that mistake with coach [Tom] Landry in your third year, that would have been a cardinal sin.”
“When the game is on the line, that is the time No. 88 needs to step up, not take a back seat, not take a step back. That is when No. 88 is expected to shine.”
Part of being consistent is having a few signature routes the quarterback knows he can complete to you in virtually any situation. Pearson had three: the 12-yard sideline route, the 15- to 20-yard turn-in and the 15- to 20-yard end route. Those were his bread and butter.
What does Bryant have? Is he consistent enough with any of them?
“His route tree is limited to the slant, the fade, the go route and the end route,” Pearson said. “That is it. I’ve never seen him run a counter, a post corner, a slant-and-go, a sideline takeoff where he stutters and takes off the way Kevin Ogletree did so successfully in the opener.”
Pearson had been critical of Bryant throughout his first two years with the Cowboys, and Year Three looks to be more of the same. This obviously stems from Bryant wearing the same jersey number that Pearson did during his 11 seasons with the franchise.
“He’s not living up to the expectations that were placed on him by wearing that number,” Pearson recently told the Midland Reporter-Telegram. “Drew Pearson took it to the Ring of Honor level and Michael Irvin took it way beyond that to the Hall of Fame level.
“When Michael and I had a chance to talk to Dez when he came in his rookie year we told him, ‘Don’t do what Drew Pearson did in it. Don’t do what Michael did in it. Do more than that.’ I know that’s a lot to live up to, but what else is there? You live up to those expectations and people will cherish you for the rest of your life.”
Bryant dropped three passes in the Cowboys’ 34-18 loss to the Chicago Bears Monday night. Two of those incompletions cost the Cowboys first downs and the third might have gone for a touchdown.
Even though Bryant finished with a career-high 105 receiving yards, the mistakes overshadowed his eight catches.
Pearson focused on Bryant’s mistakes during a Tuesday interview that aired on ESPN.
“You should know your plays. You should know where to be. You should know your adjustments that you need to make,” Pearson said. “You know what your value is to this Cowboys offense. You should be making the big plays to help the offense when they need it. To me, that’s what the 88s are all about. That’s what I did in the 88s, that’s what Michael (Irvin) did in the 88s. I’m not saying Dez needs to be us. But we’d just like to see him carry that tradition on with the 88s a little better.”
With the eye of an art history major, Steve Sabol filmed the NFL as a ballet and blockbuster movie all in one.
Half of the father-son team that revolutionized sports broadcasting, the NFL Films president died Tuesday of brain cancer at age 69 in Moorestown, N.J. He leaves behind a league bigger than ever, its fans enthralled by the plot twists and characters he so deftly chronicled.
“It is with tremendous sadness that we learned of the legendary Steve Sabol’s passing," FOX Sports Media Group chairman David Hill said. "He was a terrific man and a skilled and talented artist. Steve and his father Ed built NFL Films from nothing and were pioneers in sports television and filmmaking, and after taking the reins from his father, Steve put his own stamp on NFL Films, and its ability to capture football’s nuance and subtlety. When we started FOX Sports, no one was more helpful than Steve, and in a short time he became a great, great friend. He was always there to listen to one of my idiotic ideas. Nothing was ever too much trouble for Steve, and no one, absolutely no one, could rock a pink shirt while talking about the NFL as well as Steve. He was greatly respected and will be missed by everyone at FOX and the entire NFL community.”
Sabol was diagnosed with a tumor on the left side of his brain after being hospitalized for a seizure in March 2011.
”Steve Sabol was the creative genius behind the remarkable work of NFL Films,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement from the league confirming Sabol’s death. ”Steve’s passion for football was matched by his incredible talent and energy. Steve’s legacy will be part of the NFL forever. He was a major contributor to the success of the NFL, a man who changed the way we look at football and sports, and a great friend.”
When Ed Sabol founded NFL Films, his son was there working beside him as a cinematographer right from the start in 1964. They introduced a series of innovations taken for granted today, from super slow-motion replays to blooper reels to sticking microphones on coaches and players. And they hired the ”Voice of God,” John Facenda, to read lyrical descriptions in solemn tones.
Until he landed the rights to chronicle the 1962 NFL championship game, Ed Sabol’s only experience filming sports was recording the action at Steve’s high school football games in Philadelphia.
”We see the game as art as much as sport,” Steve Sabol told The Associated Press before his father was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year. ”That helped us nurture not only the game’s traditions but to develop its mythology: America’s Team, The Catch, The Frozen Tundra.”
The two were honored with the Lifetime Achievement Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2003. In his career, Steve Sabol won 35 Emmys for writing, cinematography, editing, directing and producing – no one else had ever earned that many in as many different categories.
”Steve Sabol leaves a lasting impact on the National Football League that will be felt for a long time to come,” NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith said. ”His vision and innovation helped make him a pioneer the likes of which the NFL has never seen before and won’t see again.”
He was the perfect fit for the job: an all-Rocky Mountain Conference running back at Colorado College majoring in art history. It was Sabol who later wrote of the Raiders, ”The autumn wind is a pirate, blustering in from sea,” words immortalized by Facenda.
The Sabols’ advances included everything from reverse angle replays to filming pregame locker room speeches to setting highlights to pop music.
”Today of course those techniques are so common it’s hard to imagine just how radical they once were,” Steve told the AP last year. ”Believe me, it wasn’t always easy getting people to accept them, but I think it was worth the effort.”
His efforts extended beyond his work as a producer, including appearances on screen and in public to promote NFL Films’ mission.
An accomplished collage artist, Sabol exhibited at the ArtExpo in New York, the Avant Gallery in Miami, the Govinda Gallery in Washington, the Milan Gallery in Fort Worth, Texas, and the Garth Davidson Gallery in Moorestown, N.J.
”Steve was a legend in this business – a dynamic, innovative leader who made NFL Films the creative force it is today,” ESPN President John Skipper said. ”The work he and his dedicated and talented team create every day is one of the many reasons why so many more fans love the game of football today.”
Sabol is survived by his wife, Penny; his son, Casey; his parents, Audrey and Ed; and his sister, Blair. The NFL said there would be a private funeral.
RELATED POSTS: STEVE SABOL: 1942-2012
We are honored to link to an excerpt from "Ed Sabol’s Last Football Movie" (courtesy of NFL.com), the ultimate illustration of the master’s vision and passion for the game.
Sabol leaves lasting legacy – FOX Sports – Photographs – Through the Years – 9 images
Remembering Steve Sabol – Rich Eisen of the NFL Network
Roger Staubach admits he sometimes doesn’t always see straight when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys because of his loyalty to the team and the people he has gotten to know over the years.
When the Cowboys Hall of Fame quarterback looks at the 2012 version of the squad, he sees a playoff team.
“I say it’s either going to be 10-6 or 11-5,” Staubach said after Thursday’s practice at Cowboys Stadium. “That’s not bad. That gets you in the playoffs … If you stay healthy and get people healthy at the end of the year, Dallas will be in the hunt.”
Staubach admits concern about the team’s overall depth, especially at wide receiver behind Miles Austin and Dez Bryant.
“They have a great quarterback,” Staubach said. “I think Jason (Garrett) is growing to be a heckuva coach. Last year we were hurting in the secondary and I think hopefully we’ve solved some problems there. Keep the run game healthy. Make sure the wide receivers, Miles, he’s got to stay healthy, and Dez, on paper if we keep people healthy, we’ll be in thick of it.”
Staubach has never hidden his affinity for Tony Romo.
“How do you not? I don’t get it,” Staubach said. “To be honest, this guy is one heck of a quarterback. He doesn’t have all the ammunition around him. I’m a big (Troy) Aikman fan and I think Troy will say he had pretty good people around him. I know I did. But Romo, they’re fortunate to have one of the top five quarterbacks in the NFL.”
PHILADELPHIA — Steve Van Buren, the square-jawed Hall of Fame running back who led the Philadelphia Eagles to NFL titles in 1948 and 1949, has died. He was 91.
The Eagles said Van Buren died Thursday in Lancaster, Pa.,of pneumonia.
The former LSU star, nicknamed “Wham-Bam” for his quick and punishing running style, joined the Eagles in 1944 as a first-round pick. He led the NFL in rushing four times and finished his eight-year career with 5,860 yards rushing and 77 TDs.
The five-time All-Pro player was selected to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team in 1994, and was the first Eagles player elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“I’ve seen them all –Jim Thorpe, Red Grange, Bronko Nagurski,” Greasy Neale, Van Buren’s coach with the Eagles, told the Philadelphia Daily News in 1957, “but he’s the greatest.”
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound back sustained a leg injury in training camp before the 1952 season and retired as the NFL’s career rushing leader. The Eagles later retired his No. 15.
“On the field and off, as a player, a leader and a man, Steve Van Buren embodied the finest characteristics of our city and our sport,” said Jeffrey Lurie, the Eagles’ chairman and CEO. “He was a friend and an inspiration to generations of fans, and the model of what an Eagle should be.”
Van Buren set the Eagles’ single-game rushing record with 205 yards against Pittsburgh in 1949, and is second in team history with his 77 touchdowns. He also holds the club record for most consecutive games with a rushing touchdown with eight in 1947.
“Watch those old films and you know that Steve Van Buren was something special,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said. “He was special in person, too, humble about his own accomplishments and encouraging to others. His memory will be with Eagles fans for as long as this team takes the field.”
One of his most memorable plays came in the 1948 NFL championship game, played in a driving snowstorm at Shibe Park. He scored the only touchdown of the game on a 5-yard run in the fourth quarter and the Eagles beat the Chicago Cardinals 7-0 for the franchise’s first title.
Nearly a year to the day later,this time in mud and torrential rain in Los Angeles, Van Buren ran for 196 yards and the Eagles beat the Rams 14-0 to become the first –and only –team to shut out opponents in consecutive championships.
Van Buren was born in La Ceiba, Honduras. His parents died when he was 10, and he moved to New Orleans to live with his grandparents. He failed to make his high school football team as a sophomore,but played well enough as a senior to earn a scholarship at LSU.
With the Tigers, Van Buren was used primarily as a blocking back until his senior season, when he led the nation in scoring with 98 points and rushed for 847 yards.
Van Buren is survived by three daughters.
LaDainian Tomlinson has retired, so let the debate begin. Where does the NFL’s fifth all-time rusher rank in the pantheon of great running backs?
I’ve been watching the NFL for better than a half century and covering it professionally for the last 38 years. In my educated opinion, Tomlinson does not belong in the Top 5 but I do have a place for him in my Top 10. Barely.
I don’t judge runners based on statistics or rings. Only three of my Top 10 backs ever played on championship teams and four of them don’t even rank statistically in the Top 10 in rushing.
But they all passed my eye test. I know greatness when I see it. I saw it in these 10.
With apologies to some backs I’ve seen (Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk and Tony Dorsett) and some that I haven’t (Steve Van Buren, Ollie Matson and Marion Motley), here’s my pantheon of the Top 10 all-time running backs:
1. Barry Sanders. The most dazzling runner the NFL has ever seen — averaging 5.0 yards per carry and 100 yards per game — then retired in his prime. His moves were an optical illusion, tricking many a defender’s eyes.
2. Jim Brown. The best fullback in NFL history, also retired in his prime. Won eight NFL rushing titles in his nine seasons.
3. Gale Sayers. Knee injuries prevented Sayers from ever reaching his prime, cutting short his career after seven seasons. A big back with speed, second only to Sanders in dazzle.
4. O.J. Simpson. Third to Sanders and Sayers in dazzle. First back to rush for 2,000 yards in a season and did it when the NFL was playing only 14 games.
5. Walter Payton. The most complete back in NFL history – running, catching, blocking.
6. Emmitt Smith. Played more games, gained more yards and scored more touchdowns than any back in NFL history.
7. Curtis Martin. Put him on the 1990 Cowboys and he’d have become Emmitt Smith.
8. Earl Campbell. Second-best power back in NFL history after Brown.
9. Thurman Thomas. Backbone of a team that went to four consecutive Super Bowls, the Bills were an incredible 48-4 when Thomas rushed for 100 yards in a game.
10. LaDainian Tomlinson. Second to Payton in his completeness, could run, catch or throw for scores.
What’s YOUR Top-10? Leave a comment. How can any list not have Emmitt at #1?
Courtesy: RICK GOSSELIN | SportsDayDFW
RELATED: Emmitt Smith reacts to the retirement of Ladainian Tomlinson
Legendary Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith was not just an accidental tourist in the career of former TCU great LaDanian Tomlinson, who is retiring today as a member of the San Diego Chargers.
Smith, the league’s all-time leading rusher, was Tomlinson’s inspiration as a little boy growing up a Cowboys fan in Waco, and then moreso when he went on to have an outstanding college career at TCU.
There is no question Tomlinson, who finished his 11-year career with the Chargers and the Jets as the league’s fifth all-time leading rusher, had his sights set on Smith at the top spot.
He didn’t quite make it but what he accomplished was enough to make him a sure-fire Hall-of-Famer and it earned him the respect and admiration of his idol.
"I have known LaDanian since he was 13 years old," Smith said. "When you know someone when they are very young, and you watch that person grow into being a man and one of the very best to ever play the game, it is inspirational for me personally. He was a pleasure to watch play football. He did it with pride and passion and he was a true professional from his very first day in the NFL. I am extremely honored to know that I have had a positive influence on him. What he accomplished in his career gives me great pride."
And although Tomlinson didn’t get the rushing title or a coveted Super Bowl, Smith said LT leaves the game with dignity and a respect that few enjoy.
"LaDanian has had a tremendous impact on the league, not only as a player but also as a person with great character, and it shows by the respect his peers have for him and how well-known he is to the public," Smith said. "He accomplished many great things as a player, but I don’t know of any player recently who has left the game with as much admiration and respect from his peers as LT enjoys. And that might be an athlete’s most cherished accomplishment."
Clarence Hill Jr. | Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
IRVING, Texas – A few of you waving #BobbyCarpenter hashtags have disagreed with me on Twitter already, but I would be glad to see former Dallas Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells back on an NFL sideline.
By my estimation, the Big Tuna is one of the most fascinating personalities in the history of not only football, but sports in America. The 2012 season would be better, more interesting, if Parcells were involved. And while the New Orleans Saints haven’t officially reached out to Big Bill as an organization, Parcells’ quote to Newsday that "Everything is hypothetical at this point" makes it pretty obvious that he’s interested in what Sean Payton has been selling.
It sounds like the kind of thing he was saying about the Cowboys job right at the end of the 2002 NFL season, after reports emerged that he had met with Jerry Jones on the owner’s private jet at Teterboro Airport.
If the memory of that news doesn’t make you appreciate Parcells, you’ve obviously forgotten just how bad the Cowboys had it before he got here. After three straight 5-11 seasons, he came in, kicked the players’ butts and led a team quarterbacked by Quincy Carter to the playoffs.
Allow me to repeat myself. He led a team quarterbacked by Quincy-freaking-Carter to the playoffs. It’s got to be one the greatest coaching jobs in league history.
There’s something wrong with any Cowboys fan who doesn’t have great respect and admiration for what Parcells did here. Nevermind the fact he rode Troy Hambrick and Richie Anderson into the postseason, but in the process he built a team that had been in the hunt, if nothing else, since he left.
It makes no sense to hold Carpenter and Julius Jones over Parcells’ head when during his tenure the Cowboys added Tony Romo, Marion Barber, Miles Austin, Jason Witten, Jay Ratliff, DeMarcus Ware, Terence Newman, Bradie James, Marc Colombo, Kyle Kosier and Mat McBriar among many, many other crucial parts of these teams. And no, the Cowboys haven’t won a Super Bowl with the group Parcells assembled, but he at least turned the thing around. For the first time since Jimmy Johnson left, the arrow for this franchise began to point up as soon as Parcells arrived.
He did the same thing for the Cowboys, the Jets, the Patriots and the Giants. Rescue ops have been his specialty, so it would be really intriguing to see what he could with a team that actually has talent when he arrives.
Though New Orleans has a ton of good players, the team is a mess right now in the wake of this bounty situation. If Parcells were to come in and quickly do what he’s done four times already, you’d have to think it would erase any doubt about his candidacy for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Not that putting him into the Hall should’ve been much of a question, anyway.
Courtesy: Josh Ellis
Jerome Bettis, RB – 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
Tim Brown, WR/KR – 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jack Butler – CB – 1951-59 Pittsburgh Steelers
Cris Carter, WR – 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins
Dermontti Dawson, C – 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers
Edward DeBartolo, Jr., Owner – 1979-2000 San Francisco 49ers
Chris Doleman, DE/LB – 1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers
Kevin Greene, LB/DE – 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers
Charles Haley, DE/LB – 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys
Cortez Kennedy, DT – 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks
Curtis Martin, RB – 1995-97 New England Patriots, 1998-2005 New York Jets
Bill Parcells, Coach – 1983-1990 New York Giants, 1993-96 New England Patriots, 1997-99 New York Jets, 2003-06 Dallas Cowboys
Andre Reed, WR – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins
Willie Roaf, T – 1993-2001 New Orleans Saints, 2002-05 Kansas City Chiefs
Will Shields, G – 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs
Dick Stanfel – G, 1952-55 Detroit Lions, 1956-58 Washington Redskins
Aeneas Williams, CB/S – 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, 2001-04 St. Louis Rams
Former Cowboys defensive end Charles Haley and head coach Bill Parcells are among 15 modern-era finalists for the 2012 Pro Football Hall of Fame class.
The full finalist list is 17 with the inclusion of two recommended candidates of the Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee, Jack Butler and Dick Stanfel.
Parcells, the Cowboys’ head coach from 2003-06, joins guard Will Shields as one of two first-year eligible candidates. Parcells has been a finalist twice before (2001, 2002) following his retirement as Jets head coach in 1999, but at the time, the Hall of Fame by-laws did not require a coach to be retired the now mandatory five seasons.
Parcells won two Super Bowls with the Giants (1986 and 1990) and compiled a 34-32 record with the Cowboys, becoming the first head coach in NFL history to lead four different teams to the playoffs (Giants, Patriots, Jets, Cowboys).
Haley won an NFL player-record five Super Bowls in 13 NFL seasons — two with the San Francisco 49ers from 1986-91 and three with the Cowboys from 1992-96. He finished with 100.5 career sacks and was inducted into the Cowboys Ring of Honor last November.
The Selection Committee will elect the 2012 Class on Feb. 4 in Indianapolis, the site of Super Bowl XLVI.
Although there is no set number for any class of enshrinees, the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s current ground rules stipulate that between four and seven new members will be selected each year. No more than five modern-era nominees can be elected in a given year and a class of six or seven can only be achieved if one or both senior nominees are elected.
The complete list of 17 finalists, courtesy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame:
Former Dallas Cowboy star Charles Haley poses at his Dallas home with his unprecedented five Super Bowl rings and trophies, won while playing first in San Francisco (two on the left), then Dallas (three on the right). Haley is up for admission to the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
IRVING, Texas — Will Charles Haley again get one step closer to the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
Fifteen modern-era finalists for the 2012 Class will be announced this Saturday. Haley and former Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells (2003-06) are among 26 current semifinalists. It is usually limited to 25, but this year there are 26 resulting from a tie for the final position.
A finalist the last two years, Haley won an NFL player-record five Super Bowls in 13 NFL seasons – two with the San Francisco 49ers from 1986-91 and three with the Cowboys from 1992-96. He was inducted into the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor this past November.
Parcells won two Super Bowls with the Giants (1986 and 1990) and compiled a 34-32 record with the Cowboys, becoming the first head coach in NFL history to lead four different teams to the playoffs (Giants, Patriots, Jets, Cowboys).
The finalist list will increase to 17 with the inclusion of the two recommended candidates of the Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee, Jack Butler and Dick Stanfel. The 2012 Hall of Fame Class will be determined and announced Feb. 4 on Super Bowl weekend.
HALL OF FAME ALERT: Dallas Cowboys Jason Witten passes Ozzie Newsome for third all time in catches among TEs
Photo courtesy: Khampha Bouaphanh
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo completes a pass to Dallas Cowboys future Hall of Fame tight end Jason Witten.
With his five catches Sunday, Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten passed Ozzie Newsome and moved into third place in all-time receptions for tight ends. Witten, who now has 666 catches and is one reception short of his eighth consecutive 50-catch season, trails only Tony Gonzalez (1,114) and Shannon Sharpe (815) on the all-time tight end receptions list.
“[Newsome] was really the staple and the foundation of what this position is all about,” Witten said of the Cleveland Browns Hall of Famer. “When you pass a guy like that, being a fan of the game, you always look up to those guys that really gave you an opportunity to do it. I’ve got a long way to go still. But it’s special to pass him.”
Witten had five catches for 37 yards.
“I’ll tell you one thing: Troy Aikman did have Jay Novacek as that safety valve, and Tony Romo has that with Witten out there, too, which is a big plus for us,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said.