By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Football Hall Of Fame Voters Need To Put “Bullet” Bob Hayes In 2008 Class
Many of the readers may recall my conversations with several former NFL players including Green Bay Packer great Herb Adderley and others. Well, last week during one of the numerous e-mail exchanges that I have with him and several other former NFL players, Adderley gave me his insight on what made Hayes such a great player through an e-mail and I wanted to share it with you.
In the e-mail, Adderley wrote: “Any player who revolutionized the sport he plays should be a 1st ballot Hall of Famer. I played in the secondary for the Green Bay Packers when Bob Hayes came in the NFL in 1965. We played against the Cowboys either in pre-season games or Championship games from 1965 thru 69.” “One of my responsibilities was to cover Hayes, and it was impossible to cover him one on one because of his world class speed. We had to spend more time in the classroom and on the field figuring out the best ways to contain Hayes”.
“I covered the best receiver man on man on each team every week with help in the deep middle on long 3rd down passing situations. I am talking about some Hall of Fame receivers, Lenny Moore, Charley Taylor, Bobby Mitchell, Paul Warfield and Fred Biletnikoff just to name a few of them”.
“Against Hayes, the Packers implemented double and sometimes triple coverage the entire game. Hayes was always the weak side or split end, so, I had inside help from one of the safety men every passing down. On 3rd and long, the linebacker on my side would position himself in a walk away position, which lined him up in front of Hayes trying to slow him up coming off of the line of scrimmage”.
“Once the ball was snapped, the Linebacker would be responsible for covering Hayes on all passes within a 10yd distance from the line of scrimmage. I covered him after 10 yards on the out patterns and deep fly routes, and the safety covered him on crossing routes and deep post routes. So, every passing down, we had two and sometimes three guys responsible for covering Hayes. We did not use this type of coverage on any other receivers.” “Most of teams back in the day had to use some type of double coverage or zone defense in order to contain Hayes. He could run pass and thru a zone if Meredith the QB would hit him in stride. He was also a very good punt returner. In 1970, I was traded to the Cowboys; so, I had to cover Hayes in practice everyday, which was impossible to do without a pass rush”.
“I saw him use his world-class speed only a few times because he very seldom had to use his after burners to out run people. I saw him catch a quick slant pass against the Giants in Yankee Stadium with a guy named Clarence Childs covering him. Hayes took it 80 yards for a TD. Childs ran a 9.4 hundred in college, and he couldn’t catch Hayes. Hayes and Childs were track teammates at Florida A&M.
“He did the same thing against the Chiefs while another sprinter name Emmitt Thomas chased him into the end-zone after another 80 yd TD catch and run. No defensive back could cover Hayes one on one, and Thomas and Childs along with many other D-backs were victims of Hayes’ speed. The selection committee has over looked him too long. Bob Hayes gets my vote, and support to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.” Now that’s quite a bit of a testimony on why Hayes should be in the Hall but like I said, I I’ve never seen him play. So I did what all of us ‘youngsters’ do, I googled him and found various articles actually backing up Adderley’s and others claims for Hall enshrinement.
But what now has me puzzled is a comment in an article from CNNSI.com’s archives. CNNSI’s story about him back on September 9, 2002 said: “Hayes had a sparkling athletic career, and as a Cowboys receiver forced the rest of the NFL to change the way pass defense was played.
But many of his accomplishments (chart) were later tainted by drug and alcohol addiction, which landed him in prison and was a big reason he was never enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.” Once again it seems that the football writers who have the voting powers want to again assert their moral consciousnesses and once again it is very apparent why this is the very reason why a bunch of beer drinking, vodka swigging sports writers have no business having such a vote.
Instead of voting on a person’s performance on the field, they want to try and assert some sort of social agenda and ‘punish’ a player for an indiscretion during or after his career. As a comedian so aptly put it in a movie, “Who in the hell died and made you king of the world”?
Now Adderley and others say that Hayes did more than just revolutionize the game; he transcended the game to what it is today. I can believe that when you look at the numbers Hayes had in his eleven years as a pro:
• Best season came in 1966, just his second in the NFL, when he caught 64 passes for 1232 yards and 13 touchdowns in 14 games.
NFL Career Totals:
• Receiving – 371 Receptions for 7,414 Yards and 71 Touchdowns • Punt Returns – 104 Returns for 1,158 Yards and 3 Touchdowns Career Highlights: • Won two Gold Medals in the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan • Named “World’s Fastest Human” after tying World Record in 100-meter dash • Named All-Pro four times • Selected to the Pro Bowl three times • Member of Super Bowl VI Championship Team • Won Two NFC Titles • Won Five Eastern Conference Titles • Set a Cowboys Franchise Record with 71 Career TD Receptions • Set a Cowboys Franchise Record 20.0 Career Yards Per Catch Average • First rookie to lead the Cowboys in receptions with 46 and in reception yards with 1,003.
• First player in Cowboy’s history to total more than 1,000 yards receiving in a single season • Inducted into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor (2001) Those are numbers that even today’s athletes would aspire to have and this nonsense that hey may not have been a good ‘citizen’ is something that truly tests the very fabric of my being on many of the football writers.
The last time I checked the criteria, the HOF voting criteria is about as flawed as the recent elections in Mexico. Far too loose and far to broad in scope, there seems to be no way to hold any of the members accountable for their votes and no true criteria as far as what they should be looking for.
But then again should any of us be surprised when you are asking the 36-member committee that consists of the thirty-two members of the Pro Football Writers Association and five at-large members? So as you can tell the task of even getting Hayes on a ballot is going to be an arduous task.
What shouldn’t be a problem is that if a bunch of football writers are to hold the magic votes on candidates, surely they can look at criteria of each candidate and make a decision as to whether that candidate is worthy or not.
What should be thrown out the window is this social stigma that so many of these writers want to use as part of their vote. My suggestion to those who want to be political in this process is to go join a political party as a media spokesperson.
Politics should have no place in this type of selection process. This is the type of political nonsense that showcases why many former NFL players do not trust many of the selection committee members and I really can’t blame them for taking that stance.
So for the class of 2007 or 2008, it would be nice if this selection committee come to terms with their little political stances and do the right thing for once. Heck I’ll make this simple for them. There are two former Dallas Cowboys who should be enshrined.
The first is Michael Irvin and the second one is “Bullet” Bob Hayes. Hayes deserves it more than anybody right now because of he did while playing the game. After all that cover two package we see every weekend is a result of a former Olympian blowing past some great players who later made it into the Hall. He deserves to be in Canton, Ohio along with those great players of his era.
What needs to happen is for the selection committee to stop holding a grudge for a player who revolutionized the game and show some compassion at least five years after his death in 2002. It’s the best way to honor him and the memories that he contributed to the National Football league.