Building a Hall of Fame Case For Charles Haley

Charles Haley. Man, what can I say about this guy.

When you think of success, in terms of football, one of the first images that should pop into anyone’s mind is Charles Haley. No player had more success than he did.

To be on five Super Bowl teams and have five Super Bowl rings is an accomplishment that no one has been able to match, and I doubt if anyone else ever will.

The addition of free agency and salary caps have prevented dynasties from surviving in the NFL. “The teams that do stay intact, like the Patriots, are unusual,” to paraphrase my idol, Paul Zimmerman.

Therefore, it is almost impossible for a man to be on five different teams and win the Super Bowl. He’d have to be a mid-level player for one, because teams try to lock up their stars for several years.

He’d also have to be extremely lucky as well.

But, Charles Haley was more than that. Charles Haley was a difference maker. Charles Haley was a man that scared opponents. He made every defensive line he played on a better line. He made every linebacking corp he played with a better crew, and he was probably the most angry and violent man to ever play professional football.

This defensive end/outside linebacker belongs in the Hall of Fame.

To truly understand why this man is a must for a Hall of Fame, you have to look at the player. You can’t just look at numbers. You have to get inside Charles Haley’s head and understand what kind of player was he.

Was he driven? Was he a leader? Was he a locker-room cancer? Was he someone who made clutch plays? Was he a constant threat to other teams? Did his teammates respect him?

All of those things come into perspective now. We are talking about the Hall of Fame here. Charles Haley is on a list with 14 guys, and only a maximum of five of those men are going into Canton this year, and with two slots being locks for Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice, that means Charles Haley will have to beat out a minimum of ten players for a bust in Canton.

For voters to choose Charles Haley, they will need to judge every aspect of Charles Haley besides the statistics he has on football websites.

Charles Haley was born in Gladys, Virginia on January 6, 1964. He went to James Madison University and is the best player to ever come from there.

Since James Madison is not relatively known for its NFL talent or has what one would call a high competition level, Haley’s success there was overlooked.

However, arguably the greatest talent judge of all time, Bill Walsh, saw something in Charles Haley.

In 1986,  Bill Walsh realized that the 1986 draft really was weak in terms of talent. “One of our chief scouts after the draft said to other people, “That’s the worst draft I’ve ever seen.””

Walsh realized that he could make trades and accumulate multiple draft picks in order to really build depth to the 49ers. He turned eight draft picks into 14 through a variety of trades.

Out of those 14 picks, he drafted eight starters for at least one Super Bowl, most started two, in the 88-89 Super Bowls.

Walsh and his assistants saw Charles Haley in the fourth round, and Walsh knew that Haley was something to get.

Haley had very long arms that could extend and get to the passer. He was 6-5, around 250 lbs and very fast. An ideal defensive end.

Combine physical talent with Haley’s almost Viking-like warrior persona and an intense dedication that was rivaled by few, and you get a great football player.

Haley was frequently used as a pass-rusher his rookie year, and he compiled 12 sacks, despite the fact that he was playing linebacker instead of his college position of defensive end.

His second year, he only played in 12 games, and the Niners were upset by the Vikings in the playoffs.

However, in Haley’s first year as a starter at left outside linebacker, he was elected to the Pro Bowl with11.5 sacks, and the Niners won their third Super Bowl title.

Remember that the left outside linebacker is really, to the quarterbacks point of view, on the right. So, Haley managed to record 11.5 sacks with the quarterback able to see him coming most of the time since most quarterbacks are right-handed.

I’d like to know how many sacks he would have gotten if he had rushed on the quarterback’s blind side.

Not only was Haley crowned a champion, he also was recognized as a great player by one of the game

“Charles is one of the greatest players of our era,” said 49ers Vice President/General manager/Head Coach Bill Walsh. “At one point he was considered the best pass rusher in all of football. He’s been a credit to the game and very well could be a Hall of Fame candidate.”

Bill Walsh understood Charles Haley and how to deal with a man like Haley. Haley was… I can’t spin it or try to fudge the facts, he was crazy. The guy was nuttier than a cuckoo clock.

He was a manic-depressive. He could be happy and sweet as well as helpful with other players, and down and mean as a mother-in-law the next.

One of the most common similes used today to describe someone when they’re mad is to compare them to a volcano. I think that simile is used as a hyperbole too often.

Yet, that simile is what one can use to perfectly describe Charles Haley. He had so much anger in him that it did come out like ash and lava out of a volcano when he lost his temper.

He even wrote an autobiography entitled, All The Rage, which was a first person perspective of the thoughts and words of Charles Haley himself.

It really is a book that I would recommend because it can help one understand how an NFL player would think, and how to handle people with severe psychological problems.

He also was a guy who would ride you. You could not have thin skin or sensitive feelings around Haley. He was always testing you. He made fun of Joe Montana’s nose, he went after Troy Aikman’s crooked smile, he messed with Deion Sanders’ uniforms, and he even went after Jimmy Johnson’s hair.

Haley accepted teasing as well. People would talk about his head, how it was pointy and shaped like a bullet.

Some could take it, some couldn’t. Matt Millen, a highly talented linebacker for the Raiders joined the 49ers in 1989, and he said, “Now, I get to the 49ers.Within a week, I want to kill him.”

No one was safe from Charles Haley. The players needed to have thick skin or he’d eat them alive.

One of Haley’s closest friends and largest supporters is Hall of Fame cornerback/safety Ronnie Lott. Ronnie Lott was the guy that could keep Haley from going over the edge whenever Haley started pushing it too far and becoming a locker room chaos.

After the 1988 season, Bill Walsh retired from the 49ers. Defensive coordinator George Seifert was chosen to replace Walsh, and Haley was not happy with the transition.

Seifert did not know how to talk to Charles Haley. Seifert was not a good choice for a mediator, and as a coach, you have to be able to talk to your players, especially with guys like Charles Haley.

An excerpt of Haley’s book tells of what George Seifert was like as a communicator.

“When I was in San Francisco, Seifert’s way of dealing with black players was to bring in Harry Edwards. Dr. Edwards is a professor of sociology at Cal-Berkeley. He used to be a radical, but now I think he’s all about the money. Give him a check and he’ll help your team solve its racial problems. It was kind of pathetic, really. He’d come around, acting like he belonged, telling stories about how he used to be with the Black Panthers and shit. Most guys would just try to ignore him. We all knew why he was there: to be the mediator between the coaching staff and the black players. It was like Seifert said, “I’ll handle the white guys, you talk to the black guys.” What kind of bull**** is that?”

Bill Walsh was not that kind of coach. He talked to all of his players, and Haley respected him for it, but Seifert did not make that effort.

Since the 49ers were such a dominant team to begin with, the 89 season was really a breeze for them to repeat. They were 14-2 and blew out the Broncos in  Super Bowl XXIV 55-10.

One signature play in that game was when John Elway throws an interception to Michael Walter, and that would not have happened had Charles Haley not been in his eyesight. Elway could not see Walter because Haley’s pass rush prevented him from seeing that Walter was in a position to intercept the ball.

Charles Haley was the owner of two Super Bowl rings with that victory. Things did not go well after that though.

After losing the 1990 NFC Championship game to the New York Giants, the 49ers did not resign Ronnie Lott, and Lott went to the Los Angeles Raiders instead.

Matt Millen said, “It was like the ship was rudderless, and that drove Charles crazy. And so, when Ronnie left, they lost Charles Haley at the same time.”

Charles Haley said in an NFL Films interview, “Just seeing the anger and hurt in his (Ronnie Lott’s) eyes man, and that hurt went over into me and uh, because I’m a loyal friend, I could not deal with it, I could not deal with it. It just festered into everything. I just started hating being here, hated wearing the uniform.”

Forget money, strength, physical attractiveness,  and all that other stuff; my main criteria for the Pro Football Hall of Fame along with great play is great character and there is no greater measure of character than loyalty to one’s friends.

The bond that Haley shared with Lott is one that I can describe best by another use of Haley’s book.

It was 1991. The Raiders had Ronnie Lott on their team. The 49ers were in Los Angeles, and the Raiders are a decent team that finished 9-7, but the Niners should have beaten them.

The Niners didn’t even score a touchdown. They lost 12-6 in what I would definitely call an embarrassing fashion with Steve Young throwing two interceptions.

Losses like this happen though, right? This was more than just a “loss,” this was the final blow to the already unstable and frustrated Charles Haley.

“My frustration reached a peak in the fifth week of the ‘91 season, when we lost to the Los Angeles Raiders, Ronnie Lott’’s new team. After the game I had a slight nervous breakdown–or whatever you want to call it. Basically I lost control and gave the 49ers reason to believe that I really was crazy. It just seemed like I was the only guy out there playing hard, and I went up to George and told him, “You know, you’ve got to start coming down on these guys.” Everybody had big contracts, everybody was fat, with full pockets. They weren’t playing hard anymore. They weren’t hungry. But when you try to point out something like that, when you try to express your opinion, coaches always think, You’re a dumb-*** football player and you can’t tell me anything.

I tried, though. Man, did I try. When the game ended those motherf****** came in, and I really gave it to them. I started cussing out the whole team. George got sick of listening to me, I guess, so he grabbed my arm, and when he did that I just lost it. I took a swing right at his smug little head. Fortunately, I missed. But I did hit the wall, and it hurt so much–left a big knuckle print–that I got even more pissed off. I started bouncing around, cursing, yelling, throwing s***. Then I put my hand through a window and cut it to pieces. They had to stitch me up in the locker room.

I don’t know what I was thinking. My temper had gotten me in trouble before, but this was like nothing I’d ever experienced. I was in a complete f******* rage. Some of the other players tried to hold me down after a while, but I wouldn’t let them. Finally, they tracked down Ronnie in the other locker room, and he came running in. I remember he was half-naked–shorts, no shirt, no shoes. He sat down next to me, held my hand, and kept telling me everything would be all right. I just sat there shaking, crying. It was so emotional. I can’t really explain what happened, except to say that I felt like they were trying to destroy me…and they almost succeeded.”

That is as close to brotherhood as you will find. To find a man like Charles Haley, who is one of the toughest men to ever step on a football field and is willing to let another man hold his hand as he is crying is the ultimate symbol of trust.

That was the beginning of the end for Charles Haley. After the 91 season, the 49ers made a deal with the Dallas Cowboys, exchanging Charles Haley for a pair of second and third-round draft picks.

You can quote me on this. It was the trade that finished the championship roster for the Dallas Cowboys.

In 1991, the Cowboys had allowed 310 points to finish 17th in the league in defense. After Haley showed up in 1992, the Cowboys were 5th in defense and allowed only 243 points for the season.

The only change to the defensive starting roster was Charles Haley. He brought a championship attitude. A guy who had two rings in the Niners dynasty and was still as hungry as fox in a chicken house. His strength and leadership made the defense dominant enough for the Cowboys to win Super Bowl XXVII.

One play that really changed the momentum of the Cowboys in that game was when Jimmie Jones caught a fumble in mid-air on the two yard line and he dived into the endzone as fast as he could.

The only reason that play happened was because Charles Haley got his hand on Jim Kelly and forced the fumble.

Dallas got the lead with that play and never gave it back. It was one of the biggest blowouts in Super Bowl history with a score of 52-17.

A year later, they won it all again. The Cowboys beat the Bills again with a score of 30-13.

Charles Haley became one of the few players in NFL history to have four Super Bowl rings. It is hard to get one ring, but four?

Who would have thought that he’d be getting one for the thumb in two years when the Cowboys defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers, 30-20 in Super Bowl XXX.

That would be the end of championships, but not challenges for Charles Haley. He would later face a challenge that you cannot defeat by working out or sacking the quarterback or winning a Super Bowl. He would have to face the challenge of a father.

His daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. Nothing hurts more to a man than when he sees his little girl in pain, and he cannot do anything to stop it. That and an injured back led Charles Haley to retire from football in 1996.

He was there for her and her fight to overcome it made him realize that he could come back to football. At the age of 35, he came back to football in 1999. He would rejoin his former team, the 49ers, who now had Bill Walsh back in charge as the Vice President and General Manager. Haley was welcomed with open arms.

It is strange though when you think of it. He’s got injuries, he has five Super Bowl rings, he definitely had done enough to be considered for the Hall of Fame. Why come back?

It is the same reason as a lot of people. For the love of the game, he came back and played.

Another oddity about Haley is that he doesn’t wear his rings. He said, “I believe that if I put it away, then I’d always keep driving and trying to get another one.” He doesn’t even remember where he put them. That’s the kind of man he is.

And you know what? He’s right. It is human nature for us to have goals and a lot of the times as we get closer to our goals or once we complete them, we lose our will to keep climbing the mountain. Charles Haley never would let that happen to him. That’s why he was a part of five championship teams.

He never wanted to stop winning, and he never did stop. After the 1999 season, he retired. He realized that he would probably end up in a full body cast if he kept playing.

Despite all the things that he may have done off the field (I’m not going to get into details because this is a PG-13 case at most), he’s a Hall of Famer. Even Jeff Pearlman, the author of the tell-all book “Boys Will Be Boys” that states all the activities, legal and illegal, of the 1990s Cowboys, believes the man belongs in the Hall of Fame which he stated on the Jim Rome Show.

If this guy, who knows everything good and bad, Charles Haley has done says he belongs, how can anyone argue he doesn’t belong?

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Top 10 Players In Fantasy Football

I dont know about everyone else but I do play fantasy football during the season, and with it as popular as it is I figured I’d break down’s top 10 players and my top 10players.

          NFL Ranking 

  1. Adrian Peterson-RB- Minnesota Vikings
  2. Matt Forte-RB- Chicago Bears
  3. Michael Turner-RB- Atlanta Falcons
  4. Maurice Jones-Drew-RB- Jacksonville Jaguars
  5. DeAngelo Williams- RB- Carolina Panthers
  6. Chris Johnson- RB- Tennessee Titans
  7. Drew Brees- QB- New Orleans Saints
  8. Steven Jackson- RB- St.Louis Rams
  9. Brian Westbrook- RB- Philadelphia Eagles
  10. Frank Gore- RB- San Francisco 49ers

           My Ranking

  1. Larry Fitzgerald- WR- Arizona Cardinals
  2. Adrian Peterson- RB- Minnesota Vikings
  3. Chris Johnson- RB- Tennessee Titans
  4. Drew Brees- QB- New Orleans Saints
  5. Marion Barber- RB- Dallas Cowboys
  6. Calvin Johnson- WR- Detroit Lions
  7. DeAngelo Williams- RB- Carolina Panthers
  8. Peyton Manning- QB- Indianapolis Colts
  9. Steve Slaton- RB- Houston Texans
  10. Andre Johnson- WR- Houston Texans

NFL Draft Fun…….

Well….all this talk about the draft made me want to play a little game. What if you went back


to the 2005 NFL Draft and looked at the top 15 picks (as just a small sample) and rated where they SHOULD have gone based on the production, or lack thereof, of the player. This seems like a fair amount of time to judge a player, four years to adjust, learn the system, condition and train under the watchful eye of some of the best strength and conditioning coaches in the world and be taught by some of the best head coaches and coordinators in the world. So I will list the player in order they were drafted and list a comment or two and then state my “unofficial” adjusted value (if we were drafting today, knowing what they would do – how unfair, I know, but still fun) And, here we go……….

1. San Francisco 49ers – Alex Smith, QB (Utah)
 – 4 seasons, 4 coordinators; re-structured contract to avoid being released by team.
ADJUSTED VALUE: 5th Round Pick

2. Miami Dolphins – Ronnie Brown, RB (Auburn)
 – 67.3 yards per game, overcame major knee injury to be solid contributor.
ADJUSTED VALUE: Late 1st Round Pick

3. Cleveland Browns – Braylon Edwards, WR (Michigan)
 – Pro Bowl in 2007, took step back last season, still a dangerous playmaker.

4. Chicago Bears – Cedric Benson, RB (Texas)
 – 2,340 career rushing yards, released by team after multiple arrests.
ADJUSTED VALUE: Undrafted rookie free agent

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Carnell “Cadillac” Williams, RB (Auburn)
 – NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, knee injuries slowed him; a feature back when healthy.

6. Tennessee Titans – Adam “Pac Man” Jones, DB (West Virginia)
 – Well known story here. NO COMMENT.
ADJUSTED VALUE: 6th Round pick

7. Minnesota Vikings – Troy Williamson, WR (South Carolina)
 –  4 seasons, 4 career touchdown receptions, penchant for dropped passes.
ADJUSTED VALUE: 5th Round pick

8. Arizona Cardinals – Antrell Rolle, CB (Miami)
 – Starter for NFC Champs, top 10 in interceptions in 2007.

9. Washington Redskins – Carlos Rogers, CB (Auburn)
 – Part-time starter for ‘Skins, 5 career interceptions.
ADJUSTED VALUE: 2nd Round pick

10. Detroit Lions – Mike Williams, WR (USC)
 – 2 career touchdowns, released by Titans; out of football.
ADJUSTED VALUE: Undrafted rookie free agent

11. Dallas Cowboys – Demarcus Ware, OLB (Troy)
 – All-Pro, 2nd in Defensive player of the Year voting in 2008, dominant force in the game.

12. San Diego Chargers – Shawne Merriman, OLB (Maryland)
 – Pro Bowl and All Pro player, injured last year but one of the top sack artists in the game.

13. New Orleans Saints – Jamaal Brown, OL (Oklahoma)
 – 2 time Pro Bowl lineman, solid starter for Saints.

14. Carolina Panthers – Thomas Davis, LB (Georgia)
 – Starter for Panthers’ D, 9.5 career sacks.
ADJUSTED VALUE: 2nd Round pick

15. Kansas City Chiefs – Derrick Johnson, LB (Texas)
 – Starter for Chiefs’ D, solid tackler and contributor.
ADJUSTED VALUE: 2nd Round pick

So, that’s just the TOP 15. And just my opinion, but only a total of 5 Pro-Bowl players in that group, a 33% percent rate, which is very bad compared to the amount of guaranteed money paid to all of those players. 

Here is the Pro-Bowl breakdown by rounds:

  • 1st Round: 7
  • 2nd Round: 4
  • 3rd Round: 2
  • 4th Round: 2 (including Marion Barber III)
  • 5th – 7th Round: 3 (including Jay Ratliff)

Some of the other notable players drafted that year include Lofa Tatupu, LB, Seattle Seahawks (2nd Round), Frank Gore, RB, SF 49ers (3rd Round), Justin Tuck, DE, NY Giants (3rd Round) and Matt Cassell, QB, Kansas City Chiefs (7th Round).

Just a fun little thing to do, it is so easy to look back in hindsight, whether you are scrutinizing Jerry Jones as a General Manager, or any other NFL General Manager. It is the product of scouting departments, hype, desire, money and a multitude of other things that determine which players get drafted where, and why they succeed or fail.

All in all, a CRAP SHOOT!! I am just glad our picks for the 2005 draft: D-Ware, MB3 and Jay Ratliff turned out so well!


Lions Retire Missing Boater Smith’s No. 93 For 2009 Season

When I first heard the story of the missing boaters it was sad to read, but when it was obvious that they would not be found my heart wept for their families and I found this latest article on and I felt it was so touching that I had to share it. May god bless the families of the boaters and may he bless the recovered boater who’s life will not be the same after being stranded for 2 days but to have lost 3 good friends during this tragic event.

The Detroit Lions will retire the number 93 for the 2009 football season in memory of player Corey Smith, one of three men lost when their fishing boat capsized off the Florida Gulf Coast three weeks ago.

Lions player development director Galen Duncan told several hundred mourners in Smith’s hometown church Saturday that Smith’s number would be retired for a year in honor of a player of extraordinary heart and competitive drive.

“I want to tell you something about Corey Smith playing with pain,” Duncan said of Smith, who played with such abandon that high school teammates called him the Tasmanian Devil.

“I’d tell the coaches, ‘You’ve got to watch Corey because he’s not going to tell you he’s hurt,'” said Duncan, whom Smith befriended in his three seasons in Detroit. “If you could see the way this man worked.”

The Coast Guard rescued one man, Nick Schuyler, who was clinging to the 21-foot boat’s overturned hull, on March 2, two days after it overturned in stormy seas. The bodies of Smith, Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, and former University of South Florida player William Bleakley have not been found.

Many of Smith’s teammates from the Lions and from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers where he played his first four NFL seasons attended the memorial service. So did former teammates and coaches from North Carolina State and from Richmond’s John Marshall High School.

His high school coach, Kevin Burden, tearfully conceded that he was never impartial about the quiet giant who was the team’s undisputed leader.

“You’re not supposed to have a favorite player when you are a coach, but he was the one who got under your skin. He was a great football player but he was an even better man,” Burden said in a faltering voice.

“Tonight, when I say my prayers, I will ask God to assign me a guardian angel and he’ll be wearing number 93,” Burden concluded, leaving many in the crowd sobbing or wiping their eyes.

Smith signed with Tampa Bay as an undrafted rookie in 2002 and backed up Pro Bowl defensive linemen Warren Sapp and Simeon Rice on a Buccaneers team that won a Super Bowl.

An earlier injury sidelined Smith for the Super Bowl, but he was there with his team. His diamond-crusted Super Bowl ring was the only bling Smith wore, friends said. And for the rest of his career, he drove himself year-round to show the world he deserved it, said linebacker Ryan Nece, a teammate of Smith’s in Tampa and Detroit.

“He was never complacent. He was always striving to prove himself,” Nece said. And at 250 pounds, Smith was “an undersized defensive lineman, and some people may argue that there’s no way that they can play in the NFL. But he constantly worked on his craft, constantly tried to improve.”

To Lions rookie defensive end Landon Cohen, Smith was a mentor during last year’s agonizing 0-16 season — the worst in NFL history.

“We spent a lot of time together, and that’s the way Corey was: he didn’t say much, but he led by example,” Cohen said. “He was a blue-collar working guy.”

The Dallas Cowboys, “The Dawg Pound” and a Little Bit of Brown’s History

Good Morning Everyone:

Well the Cowboys open up this Sunday with the Cleveland Browns and I for one can not hold back my excitement that the season is finally going to officially kick off. I feel like if the “Boys” play the way they are capable of playing they should easily handle the Browns. I also feel like this game will allow the Cowboys to eventually rest some people and maybe get a few more those nagging injuries healed up before they face some tougher opponents down the road.

Long gone are the days of the immortal Jim Brown, Leroy Kelly, and Ozzie Newsom. In 1948 when the Brown’s became a franchise, they were a powerhouse in what was called the old American Football Conference. The new rival league consisted of  7 teams. The Baltimore Colts, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Hornets, Los Angeles Dons, New York Yankees, San Francisco 49ers, and the Cleveland Browns. Hall of Famer Paul Brown was the coach which incidentally was how the Brown’s got their name. The were led by Quarterback Otto Graham, running back Marion Motley and Lou” the toe” Groza. The Browns won 4 consecutive AFC titles before the league was disbanded in 1950 and the NFL adopted 3 of the teams including the Cleveland Browns. In 1950 their first year they beat the Los Angeles Rams to capture their 5th title, but now as a NFL team.

In 1957 the Brown’s selected in the first round a player from Syracuse named Jim Brown who would eventually become for many years the all time leading rusher in the NFL. Only later to be surpassed by Walter Payton. Of course as Cowboy fans we all know who would eventually be the all time leading rusher to this day, the great Emmitt Smith. From 1950 to present day, the Browns have struggled through many seasons of new coaches, a new owner Art Modell, who would later try to move the team to Baltimore and many great well known players, but never would regain that championship form they once knew. In 1999, Modell took his team to Baltimore and became the Ravens while Cleveland got to stay in Cleveland and remain the Browns.

Through all of this, there was one entity that remained firm and that is the “Dawg Pound”. Now for those of you that are not familiar with this group of Cleveland fans, on Sunday you will get to witness a group of individuals that are among a very a unique group. They sit in the east end zone and even in the new stadium, sit in old style bleacher seats. Each “Dawg Pound” member are season ticket holders but tradition has it they pay an additional $40 per seat just to grace the “Dawg Pound” section. They come dressed complete with dog noses, heads, ears and some of the strangest game apparel you will ever see.

“Dawg Pound” fans quickly developed a reputation for misbehavior as well as vociferousness. Team officials banned the carrying of dog food into the stadium, as bleacher fans would shower the visiting team with Milk-Bones, along with other objects. “Dawg Pound” fans also consumed hefty amounts of alcohol, even one time sneaking a keg into the stadium inside of a doghouse. Eventually, the team lined the “Dawg Pound” with security personnel and had spies monitor the section from above to look for violations of ground rules.

On at least one occasion, “Dawg Pound” rowdiness had a concrete impact on the outcome of a game. In the fourth quarter of a 1989 game against the hated Denver Broncos, the rain of batteries and other debris coming down from the bleachers was endangering the safety of the players. To move the action away from the east end, referee Tom Dooley had the teams switch sides. That put the wind at the Browns’ back. The Browns won on a Matt Bahr field goal that barely cleared the crossbar.

At the final game at the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium in 1995, members of the “Dawg Pound” ripped the bleachers from the stands, throwing them onto the field.

“Here We Go, Brownies, Here We Go!”, followed by “Woof! Woof!” is the unofficial chant of the Browns.

So Cowboys fans, when we travel to Cleveland on Sunday it may not be much of game, but you can rest assured the “Dawg Pound” will be out in full force. Now the Brown’s have talent in QB Brady Quinn, Kellen Winslow III, Braylon Edwards, and 3rd overall pick in Joe Thomas, but I think in the end the Cowboys will beat the Browns easily to get their season started off right.

Who knows it might be a better battle between the Cowboy fans and the “Dawg Pound”!


Cowboys Record Against Other NFL Teams

Just in case you have ever wondered how the Cowboys have matched up against other NFL teams through the years, I have put together something you might be interested in.

Below you can see the Cowboys win/loss record against each team in the NFL since 1960. I snagged the info from the 2006 media guide and updated the records by adding the wins/losses from the 2007 season. The totals below are from the regular season and the playoffs. It does not include pre-season play.

Arizona Cardinals55-28-1
Atlanta Falcons    
Baltimore Ravens   
Buffalo Bills      
Carolina Panthers
Chicago Bears
Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns
Denver Broncos
Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers
Houston Texans
Indianapolis Colts
Jacksonville Jaguars
Kansas City Chiefs
Miami Dolphins
Minnesota Vikings
New England Patriots
New Orleans Saints
New York Giants
New York Jets
Oakland Raiders
Philadelphia Eagles
Pittsburgh Steelers
St. Louis Rams
San Diego Chargers
San Francisco 49ers
Seattle Seahawks
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tennessee Titans
Washington Redskins

Keep in mind that these records reflect games with Dallas when some of these teams were under other names and/or played in other cities than they do now. 

For example, the record against the Tennessee Titans also reflects games played against the Cowboys when the Titans were known as the Houston Oilers.

It is interesting to note that out of the 31 other teams in the NFL, the Cowboys have a winning record against 22 of those teams, they have a losing record against 5 teams (Ravens, Browns, Dolphins, Raiders and 49ers), and their record is at .500 with 4 teams (Broncos, Texans, Jaguars, and Rams). 

Looking Ahead: Cowboys Opponents for 2008

Several weeks ago, the NFL released the opponents the Cowboys will be playing in 2008. Although we have been told which teams we will play at home and which are road games, the NFL has not yet released the date that each game will take place. I am sure that when the dates of the games are released, Kelly, here at StarStruck, will be busy designing schedules for us all to post on our sites.

Naturally, we will face each opponent in the NFC East twice during the regular season. This means that we will have to face the Giants, Redskins, and Eagles once on the road and once at home for a total of 6 games of the 16 game season.  Although we won our division handily this year, we cannot take any of these games for granted. I have said it before and I will continue to say it: Year in and year out, the NFC East is one of the toughest if not the toughest division in the NFL. Although I believe we are better overall than each of these teams, any one of them is capable of beating the Cowboys on any given day. I think we are the stronger team out of these opponents and will win the division again next year, but I will not be surprised at one or even two losses within the division. I can already feel some of you steaming at that last remark. Please understand, I am not being pessimistic, just realistic. 

One side note: Considering that the Giants knocked us out of the playoffs this year, I would be very willing to bet that one Monday night game will involve us playing the Giants either at home or on the road. There’s too much drama there. The NFL almost has to put one of those games in prime time.

The remaining ten games in the regular season are made up of non-division opponents. 

They are:

Road Games
Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns, and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Home Games
San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, and the Cincinnati Bengals.

Of these teams, only four had losing records last year: the 49ers, Ravens, Bengals, and Rams.  The rest were .500 or better.  Six of our opponents made the playoffs. These were: the Giants, Redskins, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Packers, and Steelers. Since we play the Redskins and the Giants twice, that means that 8 of our 16 opponents for 2008 were playoff teams in 2007. 

I have read some comments from other fans that we have an easy schedule and we should go undefeated in 2008. Again, I don’t want to sound pessimistic, but this is the NFL and since we were the number one seed in the NFC this last year, the powers that be in the league have no intention of making it easy on us. Although most of these teams didn’t come close to matching our 13-3 record last year, this will still be a tough schedule. Remember, we almost lost to Buffalo early this last season (and to be honest, we probably should have the way we played) but we pulled it out in the end. Just like I said about the NFC East, any team in the NFL has talent and can put together at least one great day of football (I think the Patriots would agree with that anyway).

As for an undefeated season, I would enjoy that just a much as any Cowboy fan. However, history makes me face the realistic probability that this won’t happen. Seldom does a team have that opportunity.  It takes talent on your team, but due to the level of opposition in the NFL, a little luck is also usually needed. Personally, I would rather see us take a loss or two in the regular season and then go into the playoffs fighting mad. Lose early, get it out of our system and enter the playoffs knowing that we are a good team but not overconfident about it (Once again, I think the Patriots might agree with me here).

So, here’s what I think and some of you may write nasty things to me about it – but it’s ok, I can take it.  We will win the NFC East. We will be the frontrunner for the Superbowl title and I think we WILL take it. Undefeated? No. I honestly believe our record will be no better than 14-2 and could even be 12-4.  Again, I am not being negative, just realistic based on that schedule. We will lose at least one or two games in the NFC East and maybe one or two among our remaining opponents.  I hope I am wrong.  19-0 would be wonderful. If I’m wrong I will gladly let my wife spank me and call me names (Hmmmm…..Now that I think about it……never mind. Now where was I???  Oh yeah….).  The bottom line is that a tough schedule with some losses will prepare us to rise to the occasion when the playoffs arrive.  Just like diamonds are made under extreme pressure, it may very well be the pressure of losses that cause our Stars to shine. Shine on Cowboys. Run for the Ring baby!!!

2008 Opponents Announced

Here is a complete list of the Cowboys’ 2008 opponents:

Home: New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals

Away: New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers

Information from


Legends of the Star – Mel Renfro


This week’s Legend of the Star is the longtime, outstanding Cowboys safety, Mel Renfro. Mel Renfro was an All-American running back at the University of Oregon, where he not only set many team and college records, but was eventually enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.

In 1964, Renfro was drafted by the Cowboys in the second round of the NFL Draft. However, the Cowboys immediately started him at safety that season rather than at running back and used him extensively on special teams. Although the move baffled many, he ended up leading the Cowboys with seven interceptions, while leading the NFL in kickoff and punt returns in his rookie season.

Although he spent his first few years as a safety, it wasn’t until he was switched to cornerback that his career would skyrocket. Renfro used his speed to intimidate opposing wide receivers and was absolutely dominating in the secondary. He was selected to the Pro Bowl for 10 straight seasons. In his 14-season career, Renfro intercepted 52 passes that he returned for 626 yards. He returned 109 punts for 842 yards and 85 kickoffs for 2,246 yards and a sparkling 26.4-yard average, and led the NFL with 10 interceptions in 1969. Renfro always knew how to turn it up in big games too, and one of his most memorable plays was a key interception that led to the Cowboys’ game-winning touchdown over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Title game in 1970. He helped the Cowboys win nine division titles, four NFC Championships, and Super Bowls, VI and XII.

Mel Renfro was added to the Texas Stadium Ring of Honor in 1981, and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996.

Legends of the Star is an exclusive weekly feature found only on StarStruck. Each week we will profile one of the many interesting personalities that have played for the Dallas Cowboys.