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Turning Their Noses on Greatness

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With five Super Bowl victories, an unprecedented eight Super Bowl appearances, and 20 consecutive winning seasons the Dallas Cowboys are rich in a tradition of success. "America's Team" has appeared in a record 10 NFC Championship games and has won 32 playoff games, the most since the AFL/NFL merger, yet something has eluded the NFL's most prolific franchise.

For the players who made the plays, whether it be a pancake block, a jarring hit, or a nicely threaded pass, only five of them have made it into pro football's Hall of Fame.

This may not be as eye popping as it really is, but just consider that the lowly San Diego Chargers, who became a pro team the same year as the Cowboys (1960), have also had five Hall of Fame players inducted into the Hall. While the Raiders, another franchise introduced in 1960, have sported 10 Hall of Fame players. Yet, Oakland has had marginal success when compared to Dallas'.

Are Cowboys' greats being snubbed?

Cliff Harris and Rayfield Wright found a way to combined for 12 pro bowls, 8 All-Pro teams, and 4 Super Bowl rings, yet can't find their way into Canton's hallowed halls. Despite being two of only thirteen players to play in 5 Super Bowls, Harris and Wright have been ignored by the writers who induct ex-NFLers annually. Do Harris' and Wright's accomplishments warrant a shrine in Canton? That question may be argued for plenty years to come, but did having a star on their helmet have anything to do with why they don't?

Unlike the Cowboy's alumnus before him, Michael Irvin's case, is a bit different. Irvin played wide receiver, a position where he could rack up stats ... and that's exactly what he did. So how does Michael's career compare to previously enshrined receivers? Well, Hall of Fame wide out, Charlie Joiner had 750 receptions and 65 touchdowns.

Ironically, the "Playmaker" retired with the same exact numbers, but Irvin played 80 games less (159-239) than Joiner and has 3 shiny rings on his fingers, while Joiner has none. 80 games! That's 5 full season's worth of games! Fred Biletnikoff compiled 589 receptions, 8,974 yards, and 76 TDs during his Hall of Fame career. While Irvin caught over 150 more passes and had almost 2,000 more yards (11,904) than Biletnikoff, the Raiders wide out did hit paydirt 11 more times than Irvin.

Our #88 also played against another H.O.F. wide out, James Lofton. Lofton's tenure in the NFL was 4 years longer than Irvin's, but their numbers were similar, as Lofton had 764/14,004/75 respectfully.

The "Playmakers" numbers are there, and in some cases far exceed Hall of Fame credentials! Take Lynn Swan for example, he had 336 receptions, 5,462 yards, 51 touchdowns. An astounding 414 receptions less and 6,442 yards less than Irvin. In fact, you can double Swan's receptions and yardage, and he still has less than Irvin.

"There was not one time I ever thought about playing for any other organization other than the Dallas Cowboys. I didn't want to give my heart to any other fans other than the Dallas fans because that's what they gave me."- Michael Irvin upon retiring in July of 2000 .

If only the writers who vote understood what it means to be a Cowboy. Does a bias against America's Team really exist?