Around the NFL  

 

Why Charles Haley belongs in the Hall of Fame

The Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2014 will be enshrined on Saturday. Each day this week, the Around the League crew will pick a player that we believe is also deserving of enshrinement.

The player with the most Super Bowl rings in NFL history has been denied election to the Hall of Fame for five years running.

Harrison: The new Hall of Famers
Ahead of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony, Elliot Harrison shares the skinny on the Class of 2014.  READ

Charles Haley, a premier pass rusher on the best squads of the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys, has hoisted the Lombardi Trophy five times but has yet to be fitted for a gold jacket in Canton.

If there was an NFC game of the week in the late 1980s and early 1990s, chances are Haley was prominently featured -- often making impact plays.

Haley appeared in six NFC Championship Games in a span of seven seasons. His team won the division in 10 of his 12 years and produced a collective .700 winning percentage. He was twice named NFC Defensive Player of the Year and finished his career with 100.5 sacks.

Haley played all three downs in San Francisco as the rare outside linebacker capable of stuffing the run and harassing quarterbacks. The NFC's balance of power tilted in 1992 when he was traded to Dallas and converted to defensive end.

Buoyed by Haley's playmaking presence on defense, the Cowboys proceeded to reel off three Super Bowl victories in four years, displacing the 49ers dynasty with one of their own.

Legendary Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman has said he's "amazed" that Haley's contributions have not been recognized with a bust in Canton.

Former coach Jimmy Johnson has questioned the voting process that has bypassed Haley in favor of less accomplished players.

"I've said many, many times that Charles Haley should have been in the Hall of Fame a long time ago," Johnson said. "No offense to any of the players in there, but I coached and coached against a lot of the players that are in the Hall of Fame, and Charles Haley is better than them."

Armed with a bulletproof on-field résumé, Haley can thank his off-field exploits for the voters' reluctance to place him in football's version of Valhalla.

Haley's locker-room antics would make Richie Incognito blush. He was famously prickly toward reporters.

Voters are instructed to ignore off-field factors, but they are only human. Once those who took the affronts personally are replaced by a new generation of voters, Haley will be rewarded as one of the best defensive players of his generation.

The latest Around The League Podcast talks about the good and bad out of Cowboys camp, then plays the "What's More Likely?" game.

Fan Discussion

NFL News
CONTENT
15