Jerry Jones announced today that Drew Pearson, Larry Allen and Charles Haley will be inducted into the Cowboys Ring Of Honor during a ceremony later this season. The induction will occur at halftime of the November 6th tilt against the NFC West Seattle Seahawks. Yes Seahawks fans, your team has been designated as our Homecoming 2011 foe. We've heard for a few weeks that Drew Pearson was going to be enshrined in the Cowboys version of the HOF, and last week Jones hinted on a radio show that Larry Allen would soon be honored as well. The news that Charles Haley would also be joining the coronation came as the lone surprise in today's announcement.
Jerry Jones brought in over 50 ex-players to Cowboys Stadium for today's practice session and controlled scrimmage against the San Diego Chargers. Prior to the afternoon session, he help a press conference announcing the three new inductees.
Pearson has been ranked at the top of Cowboys fans induction wish list for some time, retiring from the game 28 years ago. Meanwhile the more recently retired Larry Allen existed as a no brainer in some eyes. Both players rank as Top 20 All-Time Cowboys in Approximate Value per Pro Football Reference, as we learned from this summer's start of our Best of The Best series. Haley, on the other hand, breaks the mold as far as previous nominations.
The advent of free agency is starting to make it's mark on the unwritten requirements necessary in order to be enshrined. Haley, who played in Dallas from 1992 - 1996, is the first player to be inducted that spent less than eight seasons with the franchise. The list of players to even suit up for other teams at all is limited to early career stints (Chuck Howley's first two years), or late career hang-ons Allen and Emmitt Smith (last two years). Tony Dorsett and Bob Hayes played their final season with another club, but that's it; eight combined seasons played for other franchises by the entire group.
There's not even a question as to the impact that Haley made on the Cowboys dynasty of the '90s, but five years of service raises more than a few eyebrows. Throw in the fact that Haley is being inducted before the Cowboys all time best pass rush specialist Harvey Martin, is stirring up some outrage in Cowboys fans that fondly remember the man they called 'Too Mean'.
Pearson played from 1973-1983 and was the successor to Bullet Bob Hayes. his Career AV, all with Dallas, was 99. He was a three time Pro Bowler and three time First-Team All-Pro. Drew led the NFL in receiving yards in 1977, and played in three Super Bowls, winning one. Now that he is finally included in the ROH, Pearson's case for inclusion in the Pro Football Hall of Fame becomes more legitimate.
Larry Allen, who has been in Dallas multiple times this off season working with the Cowboys offensive line, played from 1994-2005. His Dallas Career AV is 110. A 10 time Pro Bowler with Dallas, he was also a six time First Team All-Pro. he played in and won one Super Bowl. Allen is not yet eligible for the HOF, so this could be looked at as a preemptive strike for the best lineman Jones has ever brought to Dallas.
Charles Haley is a five time Pro Bowler and two-time First Team All-Pro. He came over to Dallas in 1992,[correction] via trade, after spending his first six seasons in San Francisco. Haley was an instrumental part to the 49ers back to back championships, including a remarkable 1990 season (16 sacks, 20 AV). When he arrived in Dallas, he provided enough craziness in the defensive huddle to match Michael Irvin a couple times over. Jimmy Johnson's defense featured a constant rotating of linemen, keeping Haley fresh for late game heroics.
Haley's best season in Dallas actually was the non-championship campaign sandwiched in between three Lombardis. In the 1994 campaign, he notched 12.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception; earning a 16 AV. Earlier this summer, he was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame for his time spent at James Madison University. His inclusion undoubtedly reopens the debate about Deion Sanders, who was admitted entrance into the Pro HOF a couple of weeks ago. At the time, most fan and media sentiment said there was little support for including Deion in the Ring.
The argument for Martin over Haley is a sound one if you believe that the Cowboys Ring of Honor should look at contributions to the team first and foremost. Yes, Haley played for three Super Bowl Champions in Dallas. Martin appeared in three as well, though he only emerged victorious once. While in Dallas, Haley was a two time Pro Bowler and one time First Team All-Pro. Martin made four Pro Bowls in Dallas in addition to a First Team nod. Haley achieved one season with a 10+ AV rating as a Cowboy, while Martin scored a 10+ grade on five different occasions. martin was also the 1977 Defensive Player of the Year, as well as Super Bowl co-MVP. Haley never achieved either, while in Dallas or in his two stints in San Francisco.
Playing in an era when sacks weren't official NFL stats, the club records Martin as the franchise leader in season sacks seven times, sacks as a rookie (8), single season (23) and career sacks (114). Haley has a career total of 100.5 sacks, 34 of those in Dallas, and a career high of 16 with the 49ers in 1990.
So what say you about the new inclusions, BTB? Happy with the group, or do you think some changes needed to be made? Is there anyone other than Martin that you believe should be getting the nod sometime soon?
Updated listing of Cowboys Ring of Honor members*
|PLAYER||COWBOY CAREER||FINAL YEAR||INDUCTION DATE||Years after retirement||All Time Cowboys AV|
|Lee Roy Jordan||1963-1976||1976||Oct-89||13||137|
|Harvey Martin||1973-1983||1983||????||28 and counting||96|
*Resources used for this article: www.profootballreference.com and www.wikipedia.com