Every year when it comes time for the Hall Of Fame voting, not only does Charles Haley’s name come up, there is a lot of controversy as to why he didn’t get voted in. As a life-long fan of the Dallas Cowboys, I was blessed enough to be part of the greatest dynasty in the history of football. 20 consecutive winning seasons, to include 18 trips to the playoffs.Â One of the main cogs in that offense was the original “Playmaker”, the original 88, Drew Pearson. The first question that comes to my mind is:
Why isn’t Drew Pearson in the Hall Of Fame?
Has Cowboys nation forgotten about him? Hell No! Has the election committee forgotten about him? Indeed they have. Blasphemy.
I am not saying Charles Haley isn’t worthy of the Hall of fame, but I don’t think he made anywhere near the impact for the Cowboys, or the NFL that Drew Pearson has. He was one of the original triplets: Roger Staubach, Drew Pearson and Tony Dorsett were an unstoppable force. Unlike Troy, Emmitt and Michael, whose dynasty was short lived, they never experienced a losing season together, and there was only one season throughout Drew Pearson’s career that they didn’t make it to the playoffs.
Drew Pearson helped revolutionize the way football is played today. Back in the 60’s and 70’s, football was an entirely different game. It was a ground pounding, pass only when you need to, smash-mouth league. Drew Pearson’s ability to stretch the field and be that deep-threat: helped transform the the game in to what is the norm in the NFL today. In fact, to date, the all or nothing long bomb, “The Hail Mary”, was named after him and Roger Staubach. To this day, he is referred to as “Mr. Clutch”.
I like stats as much as the next guy, but you can’t compare the numbers of the guys who played in that era to the more recent NFL players. They not only got a lot less targets back then, they didn’t have all of the protection rules enabling these players to put up the gaudy numbers they do in the modern NFL. Receivers had to be able to play in the clutch and make the few targets they got count. Roger Staubach knew that anytime he needed to make a big play to keep a drive alive, or get the winning touchdown, “Mr. Clutch” would always come through for him.
Football used to be a mans sport. Defensive backs could literally maul the receivers down the field. They had to out-play them for real to make a completion. The rules in the modern NFL make the pitch and catch part of the game too easy. As Dan Marino recently stated.
” If I was playing football now a days, I would be putting up 6,000 yards a season.”
Going after the quarterbacks head was the norm (Roger Staubach suffered at least 10 concussions while with the Cowboys). Defenseless receivers didn’t exist and it took a lot of guts to go across the middle. There were no protection rules designating where he was allowed to be hit either. Despite his small stature, 6′-0″ 184 pounds, Drew Pearson was as physical as they come and gave defensive coordinators indigestion trying to figure out how to contain him.
Throughout the early 70’s they only played 14 game seasons: 3,000 yard seasons by quarterbacks were pretty much unheard of. Almost every year, only one of the top 5 receivers in the NFL would even crack 1,000 yards. Despite these staggering numbers, Drew Pearson was not only among the top 5 on a regular basis, he accumulated 489 receptions for 7,822 yards and 48 touchdowns. If Drew Pearson was playing today, that would translate in to multiple seasons over 1,000 yards and close to 100 touchdowns. To my knowledge, no one ever saw a 4,000 yard season until Dan Fouts accomplished the feat in 1979. All throughout the 70’s, Roger Staubach was among the top 5 quarterbacks in the NFL. He retired with the highest career passer rating in NFL history at that time. A lot of that is accredited to the elite play of Drew Pearson.
Drew Pearson is known for his numerous clutch catches in game-winning situations: especially the “Hail Mary” reception from Roger Staubach that sealed the game in the 1975 playoffs. It is known as one of the most famous plays in NFL history.
He also caught the game-sealing touchdown in a 1973 playoff match-up against the Los Angeles Rams. He caught the game-winning touchdown pass from reserve quarterback Clint Longley in the 1974 Thanksgiving game against the Washington Redskins that was front page national news.
All three of those plays were named among the Top 75 plays in NFL history by NFL Films in 1994. All were included on a video/DVD by that name. Above and beyond that, in the 1980 playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons, Drew Pearson’s clutch receptions helped win that game in a gut-wrenching comeback by the Dallas Cowboys.
In the 1981 NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers, Drew Pearson almost rendered “The Catch” irrelevant. In the final seconds of the game, he caught a long pass from Danny White that would’ve gone for a touchdown and won the game for the Cowboys had the 49ers cornerback, Eric Wright, not made a one-handed tackle, stopping him just outside of field-goal range (White fumbled on the next play, thus preserving victory for the 49ers and putting them in Super Bowl XVI).
In 2009, on the NFL Network show “NFL’s Top 10”, in the episode titled “Greatest Dallas Cowboys”, he was number 10 on the list.
Drew Pearson had a colorful career. He was named one of the Top 20 Pro Football All-Time wide receivers, he was also recognized for his achievements by being named to the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team. He appeared in 5 NFC championship games, helped the Cowboys to three Super Bowl appearances and a victory in Super Bowl XII in 1978. He also scored a touchdown in Super Bowl X.
- 3â€” Pro Bowl selection (1974, 1976, 1977)
- 3â€” First-team All-Pro selection (1974, 1976, 1977)
- 1â€” Second-team All-Pro Selection (1975)
- 4â€” First team All-NFC selection (1974, 1975, 1976, 1977)
- 1â€” Second-team All-NFC selection (1978)
- 1â€” Super Bowl champion (XII)
- NFL 1970s All-Decade Team
When I take all of this in to consideration, I believe it is an insult to the intelligence of any fan of the NFL for the elections committee to have failed to induct Drew Pearson in to the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. It is blasphemy for Michael Irvin to have been inducted before the “original playmaker”, “Mr. Clutch” Drew Pearson. Especially when I consider all of the off field baggage Michael Irvin carried with him to the Hall Of Fame. Whatever it takes, they need to get their head out of their asses and give this great athlete the recognition he deserves by placing his bust in Canton Ohio for past, present and future generations to see.
I would hope that everyone who sees this piece, contacts the Hall Of Fame elections committee and gives them a polite reminder to induct the “One and Only, original Play Maker, Mr. Clutch, Drew Pearson.”
(Pearsons career stats and accolades are courtesy of NFL.com and Wikipedia.)