At the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Bob Hayes won the gold medal in the 100 meters, tying the then-world record of 10.05 seconds, and he anchored the United States 400-meter relay team to victory in a world-record 39.06. Hayes’ relay split was a sensational 8.6 and it was that year that he earned the title “World’s Fastest Human.”
In 1964, the Cowboys drafted him in the seventh round, taking a chance on a sprinter with blazing speed but hardly any football skills. It was a decision the Cowboys would never regret. In his rookie season with the Cowboys, Hayes had 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns while leading the NFL with an average of 21.8 yards a catch. His world class speed forced defenses to change the way the game was played from that point forward.
When Dallas won the 1972 Super Bowl, Hayes became the only athlete to win an Olympic gold medal and a Super Bowl ring, and more than 30 years later, he’s still the only player with both.
Hayes was the first player in the history of the Dallas franchise to surpass 1000 yards receiving in a single season. To this day, Hayes holds 10 regular-season receiving records, four punt return records and 22 overall franchise marks, making him one of the greatest receivers to ever play for the Dallas Cowboys.
He finished an 11-year NFL career with 71 touchdown catches, a 20-yard average per catch and three trips to the Pro Bowl. His statistics were comparable or better than many of the great receivers of his day, and I am certain that he will one day be selected to the Football Hall Of Fame.
Tex Schramm, the former Cowboys president and general manager, is among those who has rallied for Hayes’ consideration for the Hall of Fame.
“Bullet” Bob was known for popularizing the famous line “Once a Dallas Cowboy, always a Dallas Cowboy.”
On September 18, 2002, Bob Hayes died of kidney failure after several battles with liver ailments and prostate cancer. He never got to see himself enshrined in the Hall of Fame, but Jerry Jones made sure that he was honored by inducting him into the Ring of Honor in September of 2001. He was the 11th such Cowboy to receive the honor.