The Case for Bob Hayes

Bob HayesYes, it's that time of year again, when the long list of names gets thrown into a large pile and slowly the names get whittled down to the fortunate few who are selected for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

And, once again, the discussion eventually gets around to those poor souls who have been overlooked. The past few years, the name that was continually brought up was Art Monk, who was inducted this past year with Michael Irvin.

But the poster-child for snubs, in my not-so-unbiased opinion, is the Cowboys' own "Bullet" Bob Hayes.

That Hayes revolutionized the game is not in dispute. He and he alone is the reason that the zone defense was invented. With his speed, he would simply outrun other defenders.

Some writers, as if to quell the discussion, wrote on the same day that the preliminary list of candidates was announced, that Hayes is not a Hall of Famer. Others scribe about his feats - one of the better ones I've read is by Ralph Wiley at ESPN from 2002.

So I decided to look at the wide receivers in the Hall of Fame and match him up against them. In order to make it a playing level field, I only looked at receivers who played in Hayes' era, so you won't see the likes of Swann, Largent, "Crazy Legs" Hirsch, James Lofton or Art Monk.

Let's look at some numbers:

Player Career Years Rec Yards TDs Yd Per Rec
(YPC)
TD Per Rec
(TDPC)
Yd Per Yr
(YPY)
YDs
Rank
REC
Rank
TD
Rank
YPC
Rank
TDPC
Rank
YPY
Rank
Bob Hayes 1965-1975 11 371 7414 71 19.98 5.23 674.00 8 8 6 2 2 6
Bobby Mitchell 1958-1968 11 521 7954 65 15.27 8.02 723.09 7 6 8 6 6 3
Charley Taylor 1964-1975, 1977 13 649 9110 79 14.04 8.22 700.77 4 2 4 8 7 4
Charlie Joiner 1969-1986 18 750 12146 65 16.19 11.54 674.78 1 1 7 5 8 5
Don Maynard 1958, 1960-1973 15 633 11834 88 18.70 7.19 788.93 2 3 1 4 4 2
Fred Biletnikoff 1965-1978 14 589 8974 76 15.24 7.75 641.00 5 4 5 7 5 7
Lance Alworth 1962-1972 11 542 10266 85 18.94 6.38 933.27 3 5 2 3 3 1
Paul Warfield 1964-1977 14 427 8565 85 20.06 5.02 611.79 6 7 3 1 1 8

The first thing that jumps out at me is how much of a home-run threat he was. He averated almost 20 yards per catch. TWENTY! And he caught a touchdown every 5 receptions.

Sure, he's last in Total Yards and Total Receptions, but he was a home run thread every chance he had with the ball. And with the Cowboys, he got that chance a lot.

While he was more known for his prowess in track, Hayes did play football in college. And he was just as potent a weapon there that he was with the Cowboys.

NFL.com has Bob Hayes listed at #5 top 10 players not in the Hall of Fame. The interesting thing about people who do not claim he should be in is that these people are not players. Ask players who went up against him and they will tell you.

One only hopes that more sports writers will listen this time around.

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