We are now five days from the Super Bowl, and all I can think about is one for the thumb. The expression used to define winning five championship rings. I recall Magic Johnson talking about it when he won his fifth title for the Los Angeles Lakers.
But there is only one man in NFL history who can claim five Super Bowl titles — Charles Haley.
Haley was a key member of two 49ers titles (XXIII-XXIV) and was the final piece of the puzzle for the Cowboys’ dynasty in the early 1990s.
Haley had confrontations with coach George Seifert and quarterback Steve Young, and the team had to deal him at the objection of then-owner Eddie DeBartolo. The 49ers were rumored to have deals from one other team (possibly the Vikings) but felt they would be safer sending him to Dallas.
DeBartolo has said it cost the 49ers a Super Bowl. It likely cost them three. Haley brought more than merely sacks to the Cowboys, he brought an intimidating presence and leadership to one of the youngest and most talented defenses in the league at the time.
In fact, if you catch the NFL Films feature of the Cowboys’ win in Super Bowl XXVII, there is a great moment captured of Haley preaching to the young Cowboys after they fell behind early.
Although his back was failing him at the end of his career, Haley led the Cowboys to wins in Super Bowl XXVII-XXVIII and Super Bowl XXX. And it’s a crime against football that he isn’t in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Of all the finalists eligible for induction in 2012, Haley is the one who truly deserves it. The media that vote on such things apparently have long memories, and Haley’s surly behavior in the locker room is keeping him from his deserved honor.
Hopefully this will be rectified during Saturday’s Pro Football Hall of Fame vote.
Note: Five is also the Super Bowl record for most interceptions thrown in a game, held by Rich Gannon in Super Bowl XXXVII — a.k.a. the greatest Super Bowl ever. At least to those who don’t like the Raiders.
You can catch Rank from the Super Bowl on NFL.com Live Wednesday through Friday from 1-4 p.m. ET. Follow him on Twitter @adamrank.