- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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You sit back and try to figure this out.
Charles Haley is a man who won five Super Bowls with two different teams. He won two with the San Francisco 49ers and three with the Dallas Cowboys. Haley wasn't some scout-team player backing up an elite player.
Haley wasn't some starter that was taken off the field on certain downs.
Haley was an every-down pass-rush specialist who dominated games. Yet, Haley was denied entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.
It's really sad. This is Haley's fifth time being a finalist, and it's difficult to understand why he can't get in.
Let's review the stats of the matter: Haley's teams won 153 of 219 games. In 12 seasons he was part of 10 division titles, seven NFC title games, and of course, five Super Bowls.
He was a five-time Pro Bowler and named to the All-Pro team twice. In his career, Haley had 100.5 sacks.
Those are the numbers from an impressive resume.
Now, let's review the intangibles.
Haley changed the balance of power in the NFC when the 49ers tired of his antics and traded him to the Dallas Cowboys.
Getting Haley meant Dallas defensive end Jim Jeffcoat was either out of a job or had to come off the bench.
If you don't believe Haley made a major difference, this is what Jeffcoat said in the book "Boys Will Be Boys" about the Cowboys' dynasty in the 1990s, after hearing the Cowboys acquired Haley: "The more I thought about it, the more excited I became. Charles was a great player who needed to start, and I was comfortable being a sixth man. If anything, it would extend my career."
Jerry Jones' teams needed a defensive presence to go along with the Triplets. Haley was it. He was the driving force behind what the Cowboys needed. Haley won Super Bowls with a driving personality that can turn you off.
His antics are legendary and just embarrassing.
However, there is no disputing what he meant to a football team.
But I hope Haley's issues in the the locker room, and there were many, didn't affect voters on Saturday.
It's just hard to believe a man with his resume would get bypassed for the Hall of Fame.
There are eight Hall of Famers with more sacks than Haley. Does that mean they're better than him?
You can't tell me Rickey Jackson (128) and Derrick Thomas (126.5) were more dominant than Haley. Chris Doleman is fourth all-time in sacks with 150.5.
Is Haley better than him?
Simeon Rice (122) and Clyde Simmons (121.5) are not in the Hall and most likely will never get there. Rice is a three-time Pro Bowler and went five consecutive seasons with double-digit sacks. You can't tell me Haley isn't better than him.
Maybe one day, Haley will walk across the stage in Canton, Ohio.