Hall of Famer Charles Haley was one of the best pass rushers in Cowboys’ history and is the only player to have been on five Super Bowl Champion teams.
In their 57 years in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys have been blessed with some tremendous pass rushing defensive ends. Marquette produce George Andrie’s pressure on quarterbacks from the defensive end spot helped the Doomsday Defense come to life in mid 60s to early 70s. During the Cowboys’ America’s Team years, there were few better pass rushers in the NFL than Harvey Martin. Ed “Too Tall” Jones was a talented all-around presence at defensive left end, and often terrorized opposing quarterbacks during his 15 years as a Cowboy. 2005 first round choice Demarcus Ware will almost certainly end up in the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor and the NFL Hall of Fame.
Any discussion concerning pass rushing talent for the Cowboys must, however, include the only player in NFL history to have played on five Super Bowl Championship teams. Charles Haley, who celebrates his 53rd birthday on January 6th, only played for the Cowboys from 1992 through 1997 but he achieved much during that relatively brief time period.
Acquired from arch-rival San Francisco prior to the 1992 season, Haley made his presence felt in Dallas in week one of that season as Dallas defeated reigning Super Bowl Champion Washington 23-10. Haley had a sack and seemed to be in the Redskins’ backfield all evening as the Cowboys showed a sellout crowd at Texas Stadium and scores more watching on Monday Night Football that Dallas was a serious contender for the title.
The acquisition of Haley gave Dallas something it had lacked since Jones and Martin left the team; a dominant pass rusher on the outside. With Haley allowing the defense to reach new heights and with the Cowboys’ star-studded offense hitting full stride, Dallas surged to 13-3 regular season record and stormed through the post-season with wins over Philadelphia, Haley’s former team San Francisco and the Buffalo Bills to win Super Bowl 27.
Haley’s sack numbers were down in 1993, but he still helped the Cowboys dominate the NFL again as Dallas won Super Bowl 28. He registered double digit sack totals in both 1994 and 1995, even with his 1995 season disrupted by a spinal injury. One of Haley’s best games came in Super Bowl 30, where he had a sack, five tackles and three quarterback pressures in Dallas 27-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
During his career, Haley was known for his relentlessness as well as his knowledge of the game. Countless stories tell of how Haley could diagnose opponents’ plays before they happened. The combination of superior athletic talent, a tremendous will to win and exceptional intelligence made Haley one of the NFL’s best players.