Aikman watched as Haley, a defensive lineman who starred with the Cowboys and 49ers during his decorated 13-year career, again was passed over by Pro Football Hall of Fame voters earlier this month. Aikman isn't sure what more the five-time Pro Bowl selection with 100.5 career sacks must do to prove his worth. Haley, after all, is the only NFL player with five Super Bowl rings.
No mere coincidence, according to Aikman.
"I've been very outspoken as far as his candidacy and how much I think he belongs," the Hall of Fame passer told KTCK-AM this week, via The Dallas Morning News. "If there's a defensive player in the (Hall of Fame), I think Charles Haley should be in the (Hall of Fame), and I'll leave it at that. Because as a teammate, he was a great player."
Aikman continued: "When you go back and you look at the teams that won those five Super Bowls, he was a big part of those teams that won those five Super Bowls. That's meaningful to me. And having had him on my team for three of them, I'm not so sure we would've won any of them if it weren't for him. I'm pretty adamant about the fact that I believe he deserves to be in, and I'm pretty disappointed that it hasn't happened."
Our world doesn't lack colorful anecdotes about Haley's time in the NFL. As dazzling as he was on the field, Haley stuck out as a beguiling presence in the locker room, according to some teammates and those who covered the player.
There's no escaping the Hall of Fame grumbling, and perhaps Haley's off-the-field persona has damaged his chances, but support from Aikman speaks volumes about just how valuable he was to those Cowboys teams of old.